Start-Up Options

Apr 14, 2016

Drill’s start-up options reside in a HOCON configuration file format, which is a hybrid between a properties file and a JSON file. Drill start-up options consist of a group of files with a nested relationship. At the bottom of the file hierarchy are the default files that Drill provides, starting with drill-default.conf. The drill-default.conf file is overridden by one or more drill-module.conf files that Drill’s internal modules provide. The drill-module.conf files are overridden by the drill-override.conf file that you define.

You can provide overrides on each Drillbit using system properties of the form -Dname=value passed on the command line:

   ./ start -Dname=value

You can see the following group of files throughout the source repository in Drill:


These files are listed inside the associated JAR files in the Drill distribution tarball.

Each Drill module has a set of options that Drill incorporates. Drill’s modular design enables you to create new storage plugins, set new operators, or create UDFs. You can also include additional configuration options that you can override as necessary.

When you add a JAR file to Drill, you must include a drill-module.conf file in the root directory of the JAR file that you add. The drill-module.conf file tells Drill to scan that JAR file or associated object and include it.

Viewing Startup Options

You can run the following query to see a list of Drill’s startup options:

SELECT * FROM sys.boot;

Configuring Start-Up Options

You can configure start-up options for each Drillbit in <drill_home>/conf/drill-override.conf .

The summary of start-up options, also known as boot options, lists default values. The following descriptions provide more detail on key options that are frequently reconfigured:

  • drill.exec.http.ssl_enabled
    Available in Drill 1.2. Enables or disables HTTPS support. Settings are TRUE and FALSE, respectively. The default is FALSE.
    Defines the persistent storage (PStore) provider. The PStore holds configuration and profile data.
  • drill.exec.buffer.size
    Defines the amount of memory available, in terms of record batches, to hold data on the downstream side of an operation. Drill pushes data downstream as quickly as possible to make data immediately available. This requires Drill to use memory to hold the data pending operations. When data on a downstream operation is required, that data is immediately available so Drill does not have to go over the network to process it. Providing more memory to this option increases the speed at which Drill completes a query.
  • drill.exec.sort.external.spill.directories
    Tells Drill which directory to use when spooling. Drill uses a spool and sort operation for beyond memory operations. The sorting operation is designed to spool to a Hadoop file system. The default Hadoop file system is a local file system in the /tmp directory. Spooling performance (both writing and reading back from it) is constrained by the file system.
  • drill.exec.zk.connect
    Provides Drill with the ZooKeeper quorum to use to connect to data sources. Change this setting to point to the ZooKeeper quorum that you want Drill to use. You must configure this option on each Drillbit node.