Impala Shell Configuration File

You can define a set of default options for your impala-shell environment.

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

The configuration file must contain a header label [impala], followed by the options specific to impala-shell. (This standard convention for configuration files lets you use a single file to hold configuration options for multiple applications.)

To specify a different file name or path for the configuration file, specify the argument --config_file=path_to_config_file on the impala-shell command line.

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.

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

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

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')