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As of Hive 1.3.0, the length of time that the DbLockManger will continue to try to acquire locks can be controlled via hive.lock.numretires and hive.lock.sleep.between.retries.  When the DbLockManager cannot acquire a lock (due to existence of a competing lock), it will back off and try again after a certain time period.  In order to support short running queries and not overwhelm the metastore at the same time, the DbLockManager will double the wait time after each retry.  The initial back off time is 100ms and is capped by hive.lock.sleep.between.retries.  hive.lock.numretries is the total number of times it will retry a given lock request.  Thus the total time that the call to acquire locks will block (given default values of 10 100 retries and 60s sleep time) is (100ms + 200ms + 400ms + ... + 51200ms + 60s + 60s + ... + 60s) = 91m:42s:300ms.