Impala Shell Configuration File

You can store a set of default settings for impala-shell in the impala-shell configuration file.

The global impala-shell configuration file is located in /etc/impalarc.

The user-level impala-shell configuration file is located in ~/.impalarc.

Note that the global-level file name is different from the user-level file name. The global-level file name does not include a dot (.) in the file name.

The default path of the global configuration file can be changed by setting the $IMPALA_SHELL_GLOBAL_CONFIG_FILE environment variable.

To specify a different file name or path for the user-level configuration file, start impala-shell with the --config_file impala-shell option set to the path of the configuration file.

Typically, an administrator creates the global configuration file for the impala-shell, and if the user-level configuration file exists, the options set in the user configuration file take precedence over those in the global configuration file.

In turn, any options you specify on the impala-shell command line override any corresponding options within the configuration file.

The impala-shell configuration file (global or user) must contain a header label [impala], followed by the options specific to impala-shell.

The impala-shell configuration file consists of key-value pairs, one option per line. Everything after the # character on a line is treated as a comment and ignored.

The names of the options in the configuration file are similar (although not necessarily identical) to the long-form command-line arguments to the impala-shell command. For the supported options in the configuration file, see Impala Shell Configuration Options.

You can specify key-value pair options using keyval, similar to the --var command-line option. For example, keyval=variable1=value1.

The query options specified in the [impala] section override the options specified in the [impala.query_options] section.

The following example shows a configuration file that you might use during benchmarking tests. It sets verbose mode, so that the output from each SQL query is followed by timing information. impala-shell starts inside the database containing the tables with the benchmark data, avoiding the need to issue a USE statement or use fully qualified table names.

In this example, the query output is formatted as delimited text rather than enclosed in ASCII art boxes, and is stored in a file rather than printed to the screen. Those options are appropriate for benchmark situations, so that the overhead of impala-shell formatting and printing the result set does not factor into the timing measurements. It also enables the show_profiles option. That option prints detailed performance information after each query, which might be valuable in understanding the performance of benchmark queries.


The following example shows a configuration file that connects to a specific remote Impala node, runs a single query within a particular database, then exits. Any query options predefined under the [impala.query_options] section in the configuration file take effect during the session.

You would typically use this kind of single-purpose configuration setting with the impala-shell command-line option --config_file=path_to_config_file, to easily select between many predefined queries that could be run against different databases, hosts, or even different clusters. To run a sequence of statements instead of a single query, specify the configuration option query_file=path_to_query_file instead.

# Issue a predefined query and immediately exit.
query=select count(*) from web_traffic where event_date = trunc(now(),'dd')