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Hive Tables

Hive has now existed for the more than a decade. Hive is composed of two main components: the Hive Engine and the Hive Metastore service (HMS). The Hive metastore has become the defacto metadata storage standard. This includes managed service offerings from all three major cloud vendors and support in most tools including: Spark, Dremio, Presto, Athena, Apache Flink, etc.

In many ways Hive tables are much less sophisticated than the offerings provided by Delta Lake and Iceberg. One key difference is in the level of resolution of metadata HMS maintains. While a key component of both Delta Lake and Iceberg is a complete listing of all files in the dataset, Hive only maintains lists of partitions and relies on underlying filesystem listing for things like file set consistency. Despite this, the prevalence of HMS as a metadata format and storage system means that providing a Nessie capability is still valuable.

Nessie HMS Bridge

Nessie provides the HMS bridge that exposes the Nessie catalog as a Hive Metastore service through the use of Hive extension APIs. Nessie’s HMS bridge is run separately from the core Nessie service and leverages Nessie’s APIs to operate against metadata.

Hive Types Supported

The Nessie HMS Bridge provides support for Hive views and external tables that are mutated by partition1


Similar to AWS Glue, Nessie’s HMS capabilities are focused on the highest value use cases. As such, certain features are not supported. See the HMS bridge documentation for what is and is not supported.

  1. In Hive, tables can be marked as immutable to disallow the addition of new data files to existing partitions. The tables can still be mutated through the use of OVERWRITE or ADD and DROP partition. This flag must be enabled for Nessie to accept the table for storage. This is to ensure that Nessie always exposes a consistent view of data.