Activating Presto strict mode - Amazon EMR

Activating Presto strict mode

In certain situations, long-running queries can lead to high costs and cause Amazon EMR to use more cluster resources. This takes resources away from other workloads on the cluster. With Amazon EMR versions 6.8 and later, you can use a strict mode feature that rejects or warns you about the following types of long-running queries:

  • Queries without predicates on the partitioned columns that result in table scans of large amounts of data

  • Queries with cross joins between two large tables

  • Queries that sort large number of rows without limit

After Presto completely optimizes the query plan, strict mode runs. To use and customize strict mode to your query needs, you can configure Presto in the following ways.

Presto configurations for strict mode
Setting Description Default
strict-mode-enabled Turns strict mode on and off. A value of true indicates that strict mode is on. false
strict-mode-fail-query Rejects queries if strict mode detects probable long-running queries. If false, Amazon EMR only raises a warning. false
strict-mode-restrictions Specifies the restrictions to apply when strict mode is turned on. Strict mode supports the following restrictions: MANDATORY_PARTITION_PREDICATE, DISALLOW_CROSS_JOIN, and LIMITED_SORT.


To experiment with strict mode, you can override these configurations, or set them as session properties when you use the Presto client.

To set the configuration at cluster creation with the AWS Management Console
  1. Choose Create cluster and select Amazon EMR version 6.8.0, and Presto or Trino. For more information, see Installing PrestoDB and Trino.

  2. Specify the configuration properties for strict mode directly, or upload a JSON file to Amazon S3. Optionally, select the for your metastore. Specify your VPC, subnets, bootstrap actions, key pair, and security group. Choose Create cluster to create your cluster.

  3. Log in to the primary node of the cluster and run presto-cli or trino-cli.

  4. Submit your queries. Strict mode validates each query and determines if it is long-running. Depending on your strict-mode-fail-query setting, Amazon EMR rejects the query or raises a warning.

  5. When you're finished with your queries, terminate the cluster and delete your resources.

To set the configuration on a running cluster with the AWS CLI
  1. Log in to the primary node of your cluster with the AWS CLI and run presto-cli or trino-cli.

  2. Run the following commands with your desired values.

    set session strict_mode_enabled = true; set session strict_mode_fail_query = false; set session strict_mode_restrictions = 'DISALLOW_CROSS_JOIN,LIMITED_SORT';


When you use strict mode, consider the following:

  • In some cases, strict mode can reject short-running queries that don’t consume a lot of resources. For example, queries on small tables don’t apply dynamic filtering or replace inner joins with cross joins. This can lead the query to use the mandatory partition predicate or disallow cross join. When this happens, strict mode rejects the query.

  • The strict mode check is only applied on SELECT, INSERT, CREATE TABLE AS SELECT, and EXPLAIN ANALYZE query types.

  • You can only use the restriction on the mandatory partition predicate with the Hive connector.