Reliable Query Execution


When a node in a cluster fails as result of network, hardware, or software issues, all queries with tasks running on the failing node will be lost. This can significantly impact cluster productivity and waste precious resources, especially for long running queries.

One way to overcome this is to automatically rerun those impacted queries. This reduces the need for human intervention and increases fault tolerance, but as a result, the total execution time can be much longer.

To achieve better performance while maintaining execution reliability, the distributed snapshot mechanism in openLooKeng takes periodic snapshots of the complete state of the query execution. When an error occurs, the query can resume execution from the last successful snapshot. The implementation is based on the standard Chandy-Lamport algorithm.

As of release 1.2.0, openLooKeng supports recovery of tasks and worker node failures.

Enable Distributed Snapshot

Distributed snapshot is most useful for long running queries. It is disabled by default, and must be enabled and disabled via a session property snapshot_enabled. It is recommended that the feature is only enabled for complex queries that require high reliability.


To be able to resume execution from a previously saved snapshot, there must be a sufficient number of workers available so that all previous tasks can be restored. To enable distributed snapshot for a query, the following is required:

  • at least 2 workers
  • at least 50% more available cluster-wide memory resources with tolerance for worker node failure. If constrained by memory, not all queries may be able to recover (see I44RMW)
  • at least 80% (rounded down) of previously available workers still active for the resume to be successful. If not enough workers are available, the query will not be able to resume from any previous snapshot, so the query reruns from the beginning.


  • Supported Statements: only INSERT and CREATE TABLE AS SELECT types of statements are supported
    • This does not include statements like INSERT INTO CUBE
  • Source tables: can only read from tables in Hive catalog
  • Target table: can only write to tables in Hive catalogs, with ORC format
  • Interaction with other features: distributed snapshot does not yet work with the following features:
    • Reuse exchange, i.e. optimizer.reuse-table-scan
    • Reuse common table expression (CTE), i.e. optimizer.cte-reuse-enabled

When a query that does not meet the above requirements is submitted with distributed snapshot enabled, the query will be executed as if the distributed snapshot feature is not turned on.


Error recovery is triggered when communication between the coordinator and a remote task fails for an extended period of time, as controlled by the query.remote-task.max-error-duration configuration.

Storage Considerations

When query execution is resumed from a saved snapshot, tasks are likely scheduled on different workers than when the snapshot was taken. This means saved snapshot data must be accessible by all workers.

Snapshot data is stored in a file system as specified using the hetu.experimental.snapshot.profile property.

Snapshot files are stored under /tmp/hetu/snapshot/ folder of the file system. All workers must be authorized to read and write to this folder.

Snapshots reflect states in query execution, potentially becoming very large in size and varying significantly from query to query. For example, queries that need to buffer large amounts of data (typically involving ordering, window, join, aggregation, etc. operations), may result in snapshots that include data from an entire table. Ensure that the cluster has enough memory to process the snapshots and the shared file system has sufficient disk space available to store these snapshots before proceeding.

Each query execution may produce multiple snapshots. Contents of these snapshots may overlap. Currently they are stored as separate files. In the future, “incremental snapshots” feature may be introduced to save storage space.

Performance Overhead

The ability to recover from an error and resume from a snapshot does not come for free. Capturing a snapshot, depending on complexity, takes time. Thus it is a trade-off between performance and reliability.

It is suggested to only turn on distributed snapshot when necessary, i.e. for queries that run for a long time. For these types of workloads, the overhead of taking snapshots becomes negligible.


Configurations related to distributed snapshot feature can be found in Properties Reference.