Known Issues and Limitations


Primary keys

  • The primary key may not be changed after the table is created. You must drop and recreate a table to select a new primary key.

  • The columns which make up the primary key must be listed first in the schema.

  • The primary key of a row may not be modified using the UPDATE functionality. To modify a row’s primary key, the row must be deleted and re-inserted with the modified key. Such a modification is non-atomic.

  • Columns with DOUBLE, FLOAT, or BOOL types are not allowed as part of a primary key definition. Additionally, all columns that are part of a primary key definition must be NOT NULL.

  • Auto-generated primary keys are not supported.

  • Cells making up a composite primary key are limited to a total of 16KB after the internal composite-key encoding done by Kudu.


  • CHAR, VARCHAR, DATE, and complex types like ARRAY are not supported.

  • Type and nullability of existing columns cannot be changed by altering the table.

  • The precision and scale of DECIMAL columns cannot be changed by altering the table.

  • Tables can have a maximum of 300 columns.


  • Tables must have an odd number of replicas, with a maximum of 7.

  • Replication factor (set at table creation time) cannot be changed.

Cells (individual values)

  • Cells cannot be larger than 64KB before encoding or compression.

Other usage limitations

  • Kudu is primarily designed for analytic use cases. You are likely to encounter issues if a single row contains multiple kilobytes of data.

  • Secondary indexes are not supported.

  • Multi-row transactions are not supported.

  • Relational features, like foreign keys, are not supported.

  • Identifiers such as column and table names are restricted to be valid UTF-8 strings. Additionally, a maximum length of 256 characters is enforced.

  • Dropping a column does not immediately reclaim space. Compaction must run first.

  • There is no way to run compaction manually, but dropping the table will reclaim the space immediately.

Partitioning Limitations

  • Tables must be manually pre-split into tablets using simple or compound primary keys. Automatic splitting is not yet possible. Range partitions may be added or dropped after a table has been created. See Schema Design for more information.

  • Data in existing tables cannot currently be automatically repartitioned. As a workaround, create a new table with the new partitioning and insert the contents of the old table.

  • Tablets that lose a majority of replicas (such as 1 left out of 3) require manual intervention to be repaired.

Cluster management

  • Multi-datacenter is not supported.

  • Rolling restart is not supported.

Server management

  • Production deployments should configure a least 4GB of memory for tablet servers, and ideally more than 16GB when approaching the data and tablet Scale limits.

  • Write ahead logs (WAL) can only be stored on one disk.

  • Tablet servers cannot be gracefully decommissioned.

  • Tablet servers can’t change address/port.

  • Kudu has a hard requirement on having up-to-date NTP. Kudu masters and tablet servers will crash when out of sync.

  • Kudu releases are only tested with NTP. Other time synchronization providers like Chrony may or may not work.


  • Recommended maximum number of tablet servers is 100.

  • Recommended maximum number of masters is 3.

  • Recommended maximum amount of stored data, post-replication and post-compression, per tablet server is 8TB.

  • The maximum number of tablets per tablet server is 2000, post-replication, but we recommend 1000 tablets or fewer per tablet server.

  • Maximum number of tablets per table for each tablet server is 60, post-replication (assuming the default replication factor of 3), at table-creation time.

  • When enabled, location awareness in its current implementation doesn’t scale with the number of clients connecting to a Kudu cluster simultaneously. If the rate of new clients connecting is kept high (e.g., 100 request/second) for a long period of time or there is a short period of time when a huge number of such requests arrive to Kudu masters simultaneously (e.g. 10000 requests arrive within one second), Kudu masters might experience RPC queue overflows and overall slowness. The slowness becomes more prominent with the increasing size of the master process in memory, where the major contributing factor is the total number of tablet replicas ever created in the cluster. Eventually, the issue may manifest as write and scan operations timing out. If that happens, it’s recommended to use the following workaround:

    • Disable assignment of locations to clients, adding --enable_unsafe_flags and --master_client_location_assignment_enabled=false to the list of runtime flags for Kudu masters. This retains the benefits of location awareness for initial placement of tablet replicas and re-replication, but clients will not be able to use location information to choose the closest tablet server for scan operations.

Replication and Backup Limitations

  • Kudu does not currently include any built-in features for backup and restore. Users are encouraged to use tools such as Spark or Impala to export or import tables as necessary.

Security Limitations

  • Authorization is only available at a system-wide, coarse-grained level. Table-level, column-level, and row-level authorization features are not available.

  • Data encryption at rest is not directly built into Kudu. Encryption of Kudu data at rest can be achieved through the use of local block device encryption software such as dmcrypt.

  • Kudu server Kerberos principals must follow the pattern kudu/<HOST>@DEFAULT.REALM. Configuring an alternate Kerberos principal is not supported.

  • Kudu’s integration with Apache Flume does not support writing to Kudu clusters that require Kerberos authentication.

  • Server certificates generated by Kudu IPKI are incompatible with bouncycastle version 1.52 and earlier. See KUDU-2145 for details.

Other Known Issues

The following are known bugs and issues with the current release of Kudu. They will be addressed in later releases. Note that this list is not exhaustive, and is meant to communicate only the most important known issues.

  • If the Kudu master is configured with the -log_force_fsync_all option, tablet servers and clients will experience frequent timeouts, and the cluster may become unusable.

  • If a tablet server has a very large number of tablets, it may take several minutes to start up. It is recommended to limit the number of tablets per server to 1000 or fewer. The maximum allowed number of tablets per server is 2000. Consider this limitation when pre-splitting your tables. If you notice slow start-up times, you can monitor the number of tablets per server in the web UI.