This was post was originally published by U.C. Berkeley AMPLab developer (and former Clouderan) Matt Massie, on his personal blog. Matt has graciously permitted us to re-publish here for your convenience.
Note: The post below is valid for Impala version 0.6 only and is not being maintained for subsequent releases. To deploy Impala 0.7 and later using a much easier (and also free) method, use this how-to.