Impala auto-scaling on private clouds

Your Impala Virtual Warehouse in Cloudera Data Warehouse (CDW) Private Cloud has an auto-scaler process that works with coordinators and executors to make resources available for queued queries. This ensures that workload demand is met without wasting cloud resources.

Impala Virtual Warehouses use the following processes to support auto-scaling:

  • Coordinator processes: Handle all incoming queries, creating execution plans and handing off the query to executor processes for execution. By default, there are two coordinator processes to enable high availability and fault tolerance. The number of coordinator processes is controlled by the Enable Impala HA setting. This setting is enabled by default. When Enable Impala HA is enabled, there are two coordinator processes. If one coordinator process fails, a backup coordinator process takes over so there is no single point of failure. If Enable Impala HA is disabled, there is only one coordinator process available. Having the ability to toggle this setting on and off enables you to save on cloud resource consumption:
  • Executor processes: Processes that execute query fragments. Executor processes run on executor nodes, the unit of sizing for Virtual Warehouses. Each executor node runs one executor.
  • Executor groups: A group of executors that can execute queries. By default Impala Virtual Warehouses can run 3 large queries per executor group. Executors can handle more queries that are simpler and that do not utilize concurrency on the executor. When you enable legacy multithreading , the Virtual Warehouse can run 12 queries per executor group. For most read-only queries the default setting of 3 queries per executor group is sufficient. The size of executor groups is determined by the size you choose when you first create the Virtual Warehouse (XSMALL, SMALL, MEDIUM, or LARGE).

    It is recommended that you select the size of a Virtual Warehouse based on the number of nodes you need to run a typical query for your workloads based on your normal query size and complexity. For example, if you expect that 20 nodes are needed to run a typical query in your workloads, you would create a medium-sized Virtual Warehouse, which by default has 20 executor nodes. However, if you have a large number of queries that must be run in your workloads concurrently, you can set the minimum executor node count to 40 and maximum count to 80 by using the Nodes: Min: Max: setting. Then each executor group for this Virtual Warehouse would still contain the 20 executors required to run an average query, but you would have two executor groups to handle the volume of queries in your workloads. If the total number of executor nodes auto-scales up to 80, then there will be 4 executor groups containing 20 executor nodes each.

    The rationale behind selecting a size based on the normal size and complexity of your queries is that then the Virtual Warehouse can run all your normal queries in an acceptable time. Selecting size based on this criteria prevents you from "over-sizing" your Virtual Warehouse and as a result, unnecessarily incurring extra costs. On the other hand, keep in mind that under-sizing your Virtual Warehouse might result in queries spilling, which makes them run slower in spite of the fact that they may eventually complete correctly.

  • Auto-scaler: A process that monitors Impala to determine when more or fewer resources are needed. When the auto-scaler detects an imbalance in resources, it sends a request to the Kubernetes framework to increase or decrease the number of executor groups in the Virtual Warehouse.

Auto-scaling process

Impala uses memory-based auto-scaling to manage resources:


When the auto-scaler has scaled back to the last executor group, which contains the default number of executors for the Virtual Warehouse, and those executors are idle, the Virtual Warehouse is suspended. You can override this behavior: turn on Disable Auto Suspend on the Virtual Warehouse:


The time CDW waits, after there are no longer any queries running and before the Virtual Warehouse is auto-suspended, is determined by the value set for AutoSuspend Timeout. The default number of executors per executor group is based on the number of executor nodes contained by the original size of the Virtual Warehouse when it was created. For example, if the Virtual Warehouse was created as MEDIUM-sized, which has 20 executor nodes, then each executor group contains 20 executors.
If a query is executed on a suspended Virtual Warehouse, then the coordinator queues the query. When the auto-scaler detects a queued query, it immediately adds an executor group that can run the query on the Virtual Warehouse.