Getting Started With EMR Hive on Alluxio in 10 Minutes


Find out what the buzz is behind working with Hive and Alluxio.

This tutorial describes steps to set up an EMR cluster with Alluxio as a distributed caching layer for Hive, and run sample queries to access data in S3 through Alluxio.

You may also enjoy:  Distributed Data Querying With Alluxio


  • Install AWS command line tool on your local laptop. If you are running Linux or macOS, it is as simple as running pip install awscli.
  • Create an from the EC2 console if you don’t have an existing one.

Step 1: Create an EMR Cluster

First, let’s create an EMR cluster with Hive as its built-in application and Alluxio as an additional application through bootstrap scripts. The following command will submit a query to create such a cluster with one master and two workers instances running on EC2. Remember to replace “alluxio-aws-east” in the following command with your AWS keypair name, and “m4.xlarge” with the EC2 instance type you like to use. Check out this page for more details of this bootstrap script.

$ aws emr create-cluster \
--release-label emr-5.25.0 \
--instance-count 3 \
--instance-type m4.xlarge \
--applications Name=Hive \
--name 'EMR-Alluxio' \
--bootstrap-actions \
Args=[s3://apc999/emr-tutorial/example-ml-100] \
--configurations \
--ec2-attributes KeyName=alluxio-aws-east

You can check out the progress at AWS EMR console. This process can take 5 to 10 minutes until the status shows “Waiting Cluster ready” as shown in the screenshot below.

Waiting Cluster ready

So far, we have a three-node cluster running.

Step 2: Create a Hive Table on Alluxio

Log in to the master node (its hostname will be different from your runs, check the “Cluster details” on the console page).

$ ssh -i /path/to/alluxio-aws-east.pem [email protected]

Check to see whether the S3 bucket “apc999” with my example input data has been properly mounted. Note that this bucket is pre-configured to be a public bucket and accessible for all AWS users.

[[email protected] ~]$ alluxio fs mount
s3://apc999/emr-tutorial/example-ml-100 on / (s3, capacity=-1B, used=-1B, not read-only, not shared, properties={})
[[email protected] ~]$ alluxio fs ls -R / 1 PERSISTED 10-07-2019 20:32:09:071 DIR /ml-100k 22628 PERSISTED 10-01-2019 07:15:07:000 100% /ml-100k/u.user

Start Hive and run a simple HQL query to create an external table “users” based on the file in Alluxio directory /ml-100k:

[[email protected] ~]$ hive
userid INT,
age INT,
gender CHAR(1),
occupation STRING,
zipcode STRING)
LOCATION 'alluxio:///ml-100k';

Step 3: Query the Hive Table

After creating this external table, run Hive with the following query to scan the table users and select the first 10 records from this table:

> SELECT * FROM users limit 10;

You will see results like:

1 24 M technician 85711
2 53 F other 94043
3 23 M writer 32067
4 24 M technician 43537
5 33 F other 15213
6 42 M executive 98101
7 57 M administrator 91344
8 36 M administrator 05201
9 29 M student 01002
10 53 M lawyer 90703

Step 4: Write a New Table

Let us mount a new bucket where you have the write permission on the same Alluxio file system namespace. Make sure you can write to this bucket address. In my example, I mounted a new Alluxio directory /output with a writable bucket path (to me only) under s3://apc999/output.

[[email protected] ~]$ alluxio fs mount /output s3://apc999/output
Mounted s3://apc999/output at /output

Inside Hive, write a new table to the output directory:

userid INT,
age INT,
gender CHAR(1),
occupation STRING,
zipcode STRING)
LOCATION 'alluxio:///output/';
> INSERT OVERWRITE TABLE new_users SELECT * from users;

The above queries will create a new table called new_users based on the same content in table users. One can check the data inside alluxio:///output:

[[email protected] ~]$ alluxio fs ls -R /output 22628 PERSISTED 10-07-2019 21:36:22:506 100% /output/000000_0


In this tutorial, we demonstrate how to run EMR Hive with Alluxio in a few simple steps based on Alluxio boot-strap scripts. Feel free to ask questions at our Alluxio community slack channel.

Further Reading

How to Properly Collect AWS EMR Metrics

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