A Hive Deserializer for CloudFront access logs (supports download distribution files only)
Java Scala
Latest commit 9d62e42 Aug 7, 2012 Yali Sassoon updated typo in documentation


Hive Deserializer for CloudFront access logs


cloudfront-log-deserializer is a Deserializer to import Amazon Web Services' CloudFront access logs into [Apache Hive] hive ready for analysis.

This Deserializer is used as a basis for the more specialized Deserializers used in SnowPlow snowplow, a web-scale analytics platform built on Hadoop and Hive.

cloudfront-log-deserializer is written in Java and is [available] downloads from GitHub as a downloadable jarfile. Currently it only supports CloudFront's [download distribution file format] awslogdocs (not the streaming file format).

The CloudFront access log format

Amazon Web Services' CloudFront CDN service supports logging for all access to files within a given distribution. The access log format is different for a CloudFront download distribution versus a streaming distribution, however both use the [W3C extended format] w3cformat and contain tab-separated values.

The access log files for a download distribution contain the following fields running left-to-right:

Field Description
date The date (UTC) on which the event occurred, e.g. 2009-03-10
time Time when the server finished processing the request (UTC), e.g. 01:42:39
x-edge-location The edge location that served the request, e.g. DFW3
sc-bytes Server to client bytes, e.g. 1045619
c-ip Client IP, e.g.
cs-method HTTP access method, e.g. GET
cs(Host) DNS name (the CloudFront distribution name specified in the request). If you made the request to a CNAME, the DNS name field will contain the underlying distribution DNS name, not the CNAME
cs-uri-stem URI stem, e.g. /images/daily-ad.jpg
sc-status HTTP status code, e.g. 200
cs(Referer) The referrer, or a single dash (-) if there is no referrer
cs(User Agent) The user agent
cs-uri-query The querystring portion of the requested URI, or a single dash (-) if none. Max length is 8kB and encoding standard is RFC 1738

For more details on this file format (or indeed the streaming distribution file format), please see the Amazon documentation on [Access Logs] awslogdocs.

The Hive table format

cloudfront-log-deserializer maps the access log format for a download distribution very directly onto an equivalent Hive table structure.

Here is the Hive table definition in full:

  dt STRING,
  tm STRING,
  edgelocation STRING,
  bytessent INT,
  ipaddress STRING,
  operation STRING,
  domain STRING,
  object STRING,
  httpstatus STRING,
  referrer STRING, 
  useragent STRING,
  querystring STRING


First, download the latest jarfile for cloudfront-log-deserializer from GitHub from the Downloads downloads menu.

Then upload the jarfile into an S3 bucket accessible from your Hive console.

Now using this Deserializer with Hive should be quite easy:

ADD JAR s3://{{JARS-BUCKET-NAME}}/cloudfront-log-deserializer-0.2.jar;

  SERDE 'com.snowplowanalytics.hive.serde.CfLogDeserializer'

A couple of points on this:

  • Don't forget the trailing slash on your LOCATION, or you will get a cryptic "Can not create a Path from an empty string" exception
  • In the CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE statement above, you do not have to manually specify all of the columns to create for this table. This is because Hive will query the SerDe to determine the actual list of columns for this table.

Once you have created this table, you should be able to perform the following simple tests / queries:

Checking the number of accesses per day:

FROM `accesses`

Looking at the number of logs per referrer by day:

FROM `accesses`
GROUP BY `dt`, `referrer`

See also

If you find this Deserializer helpful, you might also want to take a look at:

Copyright and license

cloudfront-log-deserializer is copyright 2012 SnowPlow Analytics Ltd.

Licensed under the [Apache License, Version 2.0] license (the "License"); you may not use this software except in compliance with the License.

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.