The engine inherits from MergeTree and adds the logic of rows collapsing to data parts merge algorithm.
CollapsingMergeTree asynchronously deletes (collapses) pairs of rows if all of the fields in a sorting key (
ORDER BY) are equivalent excepting the particular field
Sign which can have
-1 values. Rows without a pair are kept. For more details see the Collapsing section of the document.
The engine may significantly reduce the volume of storage and increase efficiency of
SELECT query as a consequence.
Creating a Table¶
CREATE TABLE [IF NOT EXISTS] [db.]table_name [ON CLUSTER cluster] ( name1 [type1] [DEFAULT|MATERIALIZED|ALIAS expr1], name2 [type2] [DEFAULT|MATERIALIZED|ALIAS expr2], ... ) ENGINE = CollapsingMergeTree(sign) [PARTITION BY expr] [ORDER BY expr] [SAMPLE BY expr] [SETTINGS name=value, ...]
For a description of query parameters, see query description.
sign— Name of the column with the type of row:
1is a "state" row,
-1is a "cancel" row.
Column data type —
When creating a
CollapsingMergeTree table, the same query clauses are required, as when creating a
Deprecated Method for Creating a Table
Do not use this method in new projects and, if possible, switch the old projects to the method described above.
CREATE TABLE [IF NOT EXISTS] [db.]table_name [ON CLUSTER cluster] ( name1 [type1] [DEFAULT|MATERIALIZED|ALIAS expr1], name2 [type2] [DEFAULT|MATERIALIZED|ALIAS expr2], ... ) ENGINE [=] CollapsingMergeTree(date-column [, sampling_expression], (primary, key), index_granularity, sign)
All of the parameters excepting
sign have the same meaning as in
sign— Name of the column with the type of row:
1— "state" row,
-1— "cancel" row.
Column Data Type —
Consider the situation where you need to save continually changing data for some object. It sounds logical to have one row for an object and update it at any change, but update operation is expensive and slow for DBMS because it requires rewriting of the data in the storage. If you need to write data quickly, update not acceptable, but you can write the changes of an object sequentially as follows.
Use the particular column
Sign = 1 it means that the row is a state of an object, let's call it "state" row. If
Sign = -1 it means the cancellation of the state of an object with the same attributes, let's call it "cancel" row.
For example, we want to calculate how much pages users checked at some site and how long they were there. At some moment of time we write the following row with the state of user activity:
┌──────────────UserID─┬─PageViews─┬─Duration─┬─Sign─┐ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 5 │ 146 │ 1 │ └─────────────────────┴───────────┴──────────┴──────┘
At some moment later we register the change of user activity and write it with the following two rows.
┌──────────────UserID─┬─PageViews─┬─Duration─┬─Sign─┐ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 5 │ 146 │ -1 │ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 6 │ 185 │ 1 │ └─────────────────────┴───────────┴──────────┴──────┘
The first row cancels the previous state of the object (user). It should copy the sorting key fields of the canceled state excepting
The second row contains the current state.
As we need only the last state of user activity, the rows
┌──────────────UserID─┬─PageViews─┬─Duration─┬─Sign─┐ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 5 │ 146 │ 1 │ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 5 │ 146 │ -1 │ └─────────────────────┴───────────┴──────────┴──────┘
can be deleted collapsing the invalid (old) state of an object.
CollapsingMergeTree does this while merging of the data parts.
Why we need 2 rows for each change read in the Algorithm paragraph.
Peculiar properties of such approach
- The program that writes the data should remember the state of an object to be able to cancel it. "Cancel" string should contain copies of the sorting key fields of the "state" string and the opposite
Sign. It increases the initial size of storage but allows to write the data quickly.
- Long growing arrays in columns reduce the efficiency of the engine due to load for writing. The more straightforward data, the higher efficiency.
SELECTresults depend strongly on the consistency of object changes history. Be accurate when preparing data for inserting. You can get unpredictable results in inconsistent data, for example, negative values for non-negative metrics such as session depth.
When ClickHouse merges data parts, each group of consecutive rows with the same sorting key (
ORDER BY) is reduced to not more than two rows, one with
Sign = 1 ("state" row) and another with
Sign = -1 ("cancel" row). In other words, entries collapse.
For each resulting data part ClickHouse saves:
- The first "cancel" and the last "state" rows, if the number of "state" and "cancel" rows matches.
- The last "state" row, if there is one more "state" row than "cancel" rows.
- The first "cancel" row, if there is one more "cancel" row than "state" rows.
None of the rows, in all other cases.
The merge continues, but ClickHouse treats this situation as a logical error and records it in the server log. This error can occur if the same data were inserted more than once.
Thus, collapsing should not change the results of calculating statistics. Changes gradually collapsed so that in the end only the last state of almost every object left.
Sign is required because the merging algorithm doesn't guarantee that all of the rows with the same sorting key will be in the same resulting data part and even on the same physical server. ClickHouse process
SELECT queries with multiple threads, and it can not predict the order of rows in the result. The aggregation is required if there is a need to get completely "collapsed" data from
To finalize collapsing, write a query with
GROUP BY clause and aggregate functions that account for the sign. For example, to calculate quantity, use
sum(Sign) instead of
count(). To calculate the sum of something, use
sum(Sign * x) instead of
sum(x), and so on, and also add
HAVING sum(Sign) > 0.
avg could be calculated this way. The aggregate
uniq could be calculated if an object has at least one state not collapsed. The aggregates
max could not be calculated because
CollapsingMergeTree does not save values history of the collapsed states.
If you need to extract data without aggregation (for example, to check whether rows are present whose newest values match certain conditions), you can use the
FINAL modifier for the
FROM clause. This approach is significantly less efficient.
Example of use¶
┌──────────────UserID─┬─PageViews─┬─Duration─┬─Sign─┐ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 5 │ 146 │ 1 │ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 5 │ 146 │ -1 │ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 6 │ 185 │ 1 │ └─────────────────────┴───────────┴──────────┴──────┘
Creation of the table:
CREATE TABLE UAct ( UserID UInt64, PageViews UInt8, Duration UInt8, Sign Int8 ) ENGINE = CollapsingMergeTree(Sign) ORDER BY UserID
Insertion of the data:
INSERT INTO UAct VALUES (4324182021466249494, 5, 146, 1)
INSERT INTO UAct VALUES (4324182021466249494, 5, 146, -1),(4324182021466249494, 6, 185, 1)
We use two
INSERT queries to create two different data parts. If we insert the data with one query ClickHouse creates one data part and will not perform any merge ever.
Getting the data:
SELECT * FROM UAct
┌──────────────UserID─┬─PageViews─┬─Duration─┬─Sign─┐ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 5 │ 146 │ -1 │ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 6 │ 185 │ 1 │ └─────────────────────┴───────────┴──────────┴──────┘ ┌──────────────UserID─┬─PageViews─┬─Duration─┬─Sign─┐ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 5 │ 146 │ 1 │ └─────────────────────┴───────────┴──────────┴──────┘
What do we see and where is collapsing?
INSERT queries, we created 2 data parts. The
SELECT query was performed in 2 threads, and we got a random order of rows. Collapsing not occurred because there was no merge of the data parts yet. ClickHouse merges data part in an unknown moment of time which we can not predict.
Thus we need aggregation:
SELECT UserID, sum(PageViews * Sign) AS PageViews, sum(Duration * Sign) AS Duration FROM UAct GROUP BY UserID HAVING sum(Sign) > 0
┌──────────────UserID─┬─PageViews─┬─Duration─┐ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 6 │ 185 │ └─────────────────────┴───────────┴──────────┘
If we do not need aggregation and want to force collapsing, we can use
FINAL modifier for
SELECT * FROM UAct FINAL
┌──────────────UserID─┬─PageViews─┬─Duration─┬─Sign─┐ │ 4324182021466249494 │ 6 │ 185 │ 1 │ └─────────────────────┴───────────┴──────────┴──────┘
This way of selecting the data is very inefficient. Don't use it for big tables.