10.7. Distributed sort

Distributed sort allows to sort data which exceeds query.max-memory-per-node. Distributed sort is enabled via distributed_sort session property or distributed-sort configuration property set in etc/config.properties of the coordinator. Distributed sort is enabled by default.

When distributed sort is enabled, sort operator executes in parallel on multiple nodes in the cluster. Partially sorted data from each Presto worker node is then streamed to a single worker node for a final merge. This technique allows to utilize memory of multiple Presto worker nodes for sorting. The primary purpose of distributed sort is to allow for sorting of data sets which don’t normally fit into single node memory. Performance improvement can be expected, but it won’t scale linearly with the number of nodes since the data needs to be merged by a single node.