Demystifying Apache Hive Architecture: A Deep Dive into its Components and Design


link to this section

Apache Hive is a data warehousing solution built on top of the Hadoop ecosystem, allowing users to perform complex data analysis tasks using SQL-like queries. A deep understanding of Hive's architecture is essential to make the most of its features and capabilities. In this detailed blog, we will explore the different components and design principles that make up Apache Hive's architecture, providing you with the knowledge you need to optimize your data processing workflows.

Hive Component and Internal Working Overview:

link to this section

At a high level, Hive's architecture can be broken down into the following components:

  1. Hive Clients

  2. Hive Services

  3. Hive Metastore

  4. Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS)

  5. Hadoop MapReduce or Tez

  6. How Hive Works Internally

Hive Clients:

link to this section

Hive provides various client interfaces to interact with its services, enabling users to execute queries and manage data. These client interfaces include:

  • Command Line Interface (CLI): A command-line tool that allows users to interact with Hive through SQL-like queries.
  • Web User Interface (Hive Web UI) : A web-based graphical interface for Hive that provides an interactive query editor, query execution history, and visualization capabilities.
  • JDBC/ODBC: These APIs enable applications and BI tools to connect to Hive and execute queries programmatically.

Hive Services:

link to this section

Hive services are responsible for processing queries and managing metadata. Key Hive services include:

  • HiveServer2: A server that accepts query requests from clients and processes them. It supports multi-user concurrency and authentication, making it suitable for production environments.
  • Compiler: The compiler translates HiveQL queries into a series of MapReduce or Tez jobs that can be executed on the Hadoop cluster.
  • Optimizer: The optimizer applies various optimization techniques (such as predicate pushdown, join reordering, and cost-based optimizations) to improve query performance.
  • Executor: The executor is responsible for submitting and monitoring the MapReduce or Tez jobs generated by the compiler.

Hive Metastore:

link to this section

The Hive Metastore is a centralized repository that stores metadata about the tables, columns, partitions, and other objects in Hive. It is typically backed by a relational database, such as MySQL or PostgreSQL, and can be accessed by multiple Hive instances for better concurrency and scalability. The metastore ensures consistency across different Hive sessions and helps in managing the schema evolution of tables.

Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS):

link to this section

Hive relies on HDFS, the underlying storage system in Hadoop, to store its data. HDFS is a distributed file system designed to store large datasets across multiple nodes, providing fault tolerance, scalability, and high throughput. Hive organizes its data into databases, tables, and partitions, which are physically stored as directories and files on HDFS.

Hadoop MapReduce or Tez:

link to this section

Hive uses the Hadoop MapReduce or Apache Tez framework to process its queries. The choice between MapReduce and Tez depends on the requirements and performance characteristics of the workload. MapReduce is suitable for batch processing and has higher fault tolerance, while Tez provides better performance for interactive and complex queries due to its more efficient execution model.

How Hive Works Internally:

link to this section

To understand how Hive works internally, we need to examine the various stages that a query goes through from the moment it is submitted until the results are returned.

Hive Internal Working Diagram
  1. Query Submission: The user submits a HiveQL query through a client interface such as the Command Line Interface (CLI), the Web User Interface (Hive Web UI), or via JDBC/ODBC drivers from an application or BI tool.

  2. Parsing: Once the query is received by HiveServer2, it is first parsed to create an abstract syntax tree (AST). The parser checks for syntax errors and validates the query against the schema stored in the Hive Metastore.

  3. Semantic Analysis: The semantic analyzer processes the AST to generate a logical plan. It performs semantic checks such as verifying table and column names, ensuring appropriate data types are used in expressions, and validating the query's structure.

  4. Logical Plan Generation: The logical plan is a tree representation of the query operations, such as filtering, projections, and joins. It does not contain information about how the operations will be executed on the underlying data.

  5. Optimization: The optimizer applies a series of optimization techniques to the logical plan to improve query performance. These optimizations include predicate pushdown, join reordering, column pruning, and cost-based optimizations. The result is an optimized logical plan.

  6. Physical Plan Generation: The physical plan is created by translating the optimized logical plan into a series of MapReduce or Tez tasks that can be executed on the Hadoop cluster. This stage involves determining the input and output formats, the number of map and reduce tasks, and the partitioning and sorting strategies.

  7. Task Execution: The executor submits the MapReduce or Tez tasks to the Hadoop cluster for processing. The tasks read data from HDFS, perform the specified operations, and write the results back to HDFS.

  8. Fetching Results: Once the tasks are completed, the results are fetched from HDFS and returned to the client in the appropriate format.

The entire process, from query submission to fetching results, is designed to efficiently handle large datasets and take advantage of the distributed processing capabilities of the Hadoop ecosystem. By distributing the data and computation across multiple nodes, Hive can process large volumes of data in parallel, providing high throughput and scalability.

In summary, Apache Hive works internally by parsing and analyzing the submitted queries, generating logical and physical plans, applying optimization techniques, and executing the resulting MapReduce or Tez tasks on the Hadoop cluster to process the data and return the results. This intricate process enables Hive to efficiently process and analyze large datasets in a distributed environment.


link to this section

Understanding the different components and design principles that make up Apache Hive's architecture is crucial for optimizing your data processing workflows and making the most of Hive's capabilities. By leveraging this knowledge, you can fine-tune your Hive deployment, improve query performance, and design more efficient data processing pipelines. As you continue exploring Hive, be sure to dive deeper into advanced topics such as query optimization techniques, integration with other big data tools, and best practices for data management and security.