Starting Drill in Distributed Mode

Dec 30, 2015

To use Drill in distributed mode, you first need to start a Drill daemon (Drillbit) on each node in the cluster. Start the Drillbit before attempting to connect a client. To start the Drillbit, use the command.


If you use Drill in embedded mode, do not use the command.

Using the Command

In addition to starting a Drillbit, you use the command to perform the other tasks:

  • Check the status of the Drillbit
  • Stop or restart a Drillbit
  • Configure a Drillbit to restart by default

You can use a configuration file to start Drillbits. Using such a file is handy for controlling Drillbits on multiple nodes. Command Syntax [--config <conf-dir>] (start|stop|status|restart|autorestart)

For example, to restart a Drillbit on a tarball installation, navigate to the Drill installation directory, and issue the following command from the installation directory:

bin/ restart

Starting the Drill Shell

Using the Drill shell, you can interactively query data in connected data sources using SQL commands. To start the Drill shell, run one of the following scripts, which are located in the bin directory of the Drill installation:

  • drill-conf
    Opens the Drill shell using the connection string to ZooKeeper nodes specified in drill-override.conf in <installation directory>/conf.
  • drill-localhost
    Opens the Drill shell using a connection to the ZooKeeper running on the local host.

The Drill prompt appears when you start the Drill shell.

Issue the following query to check the Drillbits running in the cluster: 0: jdbc:drill:zk=<zk1host>:<port> SELECT * FROM sys.drillbits;
Drill lists information about the Drillbits that are running, such as the host name and data port number.

Using an Ad-Hoc Connection to Drill

To use a custom connection to Drill, but not alter the connection string in drill-conf that you normally use, start the Drill shell on an ad-hoc basis using sqlline. For example, to start the Drill shell using a particular storage plugin as a schema, use the following command syntax:

sqlline –u jdbc:drill:[schema=<storage plugin>;]zk=<zk name>[:<port>][,<zk name2>[:<port>]... ]

sqlline Arguments and Connection Parameters

  • -u is the option that precedes a connection string. Required.
  • jdbc is the connection type. Required.
  • schema is the name of a storage plugin configuration to use as the default for queries. Optional.
  • zk name specifies one or more ZooKeeper host names or IP addresses.
  • port is the ZooKeeper port number. Optional. Port 2181 is the default for the open source version of Apache Drill.

For example, start the Drill shell with the default schema being the dfs storage plugin:

bin/sqlline –u jdbc:drill:schema=dfs;zk=centos26

Specifying the storage plugin configuration name when you start up eliminates the need to enter USE <schema name> or specify the it in the FROM clause.

The following command starts the Drill shell in a cluster configured to run ZooKeeper on three nodes:

bin/sqlline –u jdbc:drill:zk=cento23,centos24,centos26:5181

Making a Direct Drillbit Connection

If you want to connect directly to a Drillbit instead of using ZooKeeper to choose the Drillbit, replace zk=<zk name> with drillbit=<node> as shown in the following URL.

jdbc:drill:[schema=<storage plugin>;]drillbit=<node name>[:<port>][,<node name2>[:<port>]...
]<directory>/<cluster ID>


drillbit=<node name> specifies one or more host names or IP addresses of cluster nodes running Drill.

Exiting the Drill Shell

To exit the Drill shell, issue the following command:


Stopping Drill

Navigate to the Drill installation directory, and issue the following command to stop a Drillbit:

bin/ stop