Using Apache Hadoop and Impala together with MySQL for data analysis

Apache Hadoop is commonly used for data analysis. It is fast for data loads and scalable. In a previous post I showed how to integrate MySQL with Hadoop. In this post I will show how to export a table from  MySQL to Hadoop, load the data to Cloudera Impala (columnar format) and run a reporting on top of that. For the examples below I will use the “ontime flight performance” data from my previous post (Increasing MySQL performance with parallel query execution). I’ve used the Cloudera Manager v.4 to install Apache Hadoop and Impala. For this test I’ve (intentionally) used an old hardware (servers from 2006) to show that Hadoop can utilize the old hardware and still scale. The test cluster consists of 6 datanodes. Below are the specs:

Purpose Server specs
Namenode, Hive metastore, etc + Datanodes 2x PowerEdge 2950, 2x L5335 CPU @ 2.00GHz, 8 cores, 16G RAM, RAID 10 with 8 SAS drives
Datanodes only 4x PowerEdge SC1425, 2x Xeon CPU @ 3.00GHz, 2 cores, 8G RAM, single 4TB drive

As you can see those a pretty old servers; the only thing I’ve changed is added a 4TB drive to be able to store more data. Hadoop provides redundancy on the server level (it writes 3 copies of the same block to all datanodes) so we do not need RAID on the datanodes (need redundancy for namenodes thou).

Data export

There are a couple of ways to export data from MySQL to Hadoop. For the purpose of this test I have simply exported the ontime table into a text file with:

(you can use “|” or any other symbol as a delimiter) Alternatively, you can download data directly from site using this simple script:

Load into Hadoop HDFS

First thing we will need to do is to load data into HDFS as a set of files. Hive or Impala it will work with a directory to which you have imported your data and concatenate all files inside this directory. In our case it is easy to simply copy all our files into the directory inside HDFS

 Create external table in Impala

Now, when we have all data files loaded we can create an external table:

Note the “EXTERNAL” keyword and LOCATION (LOCATION points to a directory inside HDFS, not a file). The impala will create a meta information only (will not modify the table). We can query this table right away, however, impala will need to scan all files (full scan) for queries.


(Note that “group by” will not sort the rows, unlike MySQL. To sort we will need to add “ORDER BY yeard”)

Explain plan:

As we can see it will scan 45G of data.

Impala with columnar format and compression

The great benefit of the impala is that it supports columnar format and compression. I’ve tried the new “parquet” format with “snappy” compression codec. As our table is very wide (and de-normalized) it will help alot to use columnar format. To take advantages of the “parquet” format we will need to load data into it, which is easy to do when we already have a table inside impala and files inside HDFS: