What Sql Queries Don’t Work In Hive

SQL Programming

When it comes to executing SQL queries in Hive, there are certain nuances and limitations that you need to be aware of. As someone who has worked extensively with Hive, I’ve encountered my fair share of queries that don’t work as expected. In this article, I’ll delve into the SQL queries that may cause issues when executed in Hive, providing you with insights and practical tips to overcome these challenges.

Unsupported SQL Functions

Hive supports a wide range of SQL functions that can be used to manipulate and analyze data. However, there are some functions that are not supported in Hive, either due to their complexity or because they are not necessary in Hive’s data processing paradigm. Some examples of unsupported functions include:

  • REGEXP_REPLACE: This function is not supported in Hive. Instead, you can use the built-in regexp_replace() function.
  • ROUND: Hive does not support the round() function. Instead, you can use the cast() function in combination with the floor() or ceil() functions to achieve rounding.
  • CONCAT_WS: Hive does not support the concat_ws() function, which concatenates multiple strings with a separator. However, you can achieve the same result using the concat() function in combination with the concat_ws() UDF (User-Defined Function).

Limitations on Subqueries

While Hive supports subqueries, there are certain limitations to be aware of. Hive does not support subqueries in the FROM clause, which means you cannot use a subquery as a table in the FROM clause of another query. However, you can use subqueries in the WHERE clause or the SELECT clause of a query.

Unsupported Join Types

Hive supports various join types, such as inner join, left outer join, and full outer join. However, there are some join types that are not supported in Hive, including right outer join and cross join. If you need to perform a right outer join or a cross join in Hive, you can achieve it by rewriting the query or by using other join types along with additional logic.

Unsupported Data Types

Hive has its own set of data types, and there are certain data types from other SQL databases that are not supported in Hive. For example, Hive does not support the DATETIME data type. Instead, you can use the TIMESTAMP data type in Hive to represent date and time values.

Data Skewness

Hive is designed to process large datasets in a distributed manner. However, in some cases, certain queries can result in data skewness, where data is not evenly distributed across the computation nodes. This can lead to performance issues and increased execution time. To mitigate data skewness, you can use techniques such as bucketing and sorting your data before executing the query.


Working with SQL queries in Hive can be both challenging and rewarding. While there are some queries that may not work as expected, understanding the limitations and finding alternative approaches can help you overcome these challenges. By keeping the unsupported functions, limitations on subqueries, unsupported join types, unsupported data types, and data skewness in mind, you can write efficient and effective SQL queries in Hive.