Database - Column (Storage|Store)

Data System Architecture


Storing data in columns is functionally similar to having a built-in index for each column.

This data structure is used in analytics and NoSql database.

Columnar storage is a popular data structure in analytical workloads because of the vertical pruning, parallel processing and compression benefits.

The goal is to keep I/O to a minimum by reading from a disk only the data required for the query.

Columnar Physical Table Representation



compression is really more efficient as you are more likely to have more duplicate in a column than in a row.

Since all the values in a given column have the same type, generic compression tends to work better and type-specific compression can be applied.


In a column storage, data is already vertically partitioned. This means that operations on different columns can easily be processed in parallel. If multiple columns need to be searched or aggregated, each of these operations can be assigned to a different processor core.


Columnar storage, in many cases, eliminates the need for additional index structures. Storing data in columns is functionally similar to having a built-in index for each column (bit map or b-tree ?)

High Locality

With columnar data, operations on single columns, such as searching or aggregations, can be implemented as loops over an array stored in contiguous memory locations. Such an operation has high spatial locality and can efficiently be executed in the CPU cache. With row-oriented storage, the same operation would be much slower because data of the same column is distributed across memory and the CPU is slowed down by cache misses.

Filter Early From Disk

Since column values are stored consecutively, a query engine can skip loading columns whose values it doesn’t need to answer a query, and use vectorized operators on the values it does load.

Vertical Partition Pruning

scan only a subset of the columns.

Branching more predictable

Instruction branching can be made more predictable by choosing a better encodings that suits the modern processors’ pipeline.



Vendor Product Differentiators
Calpont CNX Data Warehouse Platform Compatible with existing Oracle database environments. Modular architecure for incremental scaling
Exasol EXASolution A leader in 100 GB and 1000 GB TCP-H benchmark tests
InfoBright Brighthouse Data pack storage approach for data-optimized compression for smaller footprint. Queries focus on relevant packs for faster performance.
ParAccel ParAccel Analytic Database Combines column-store architecture with in-memory anaysis capabilities for fastperformance. Offers “drop-in accelerator” configurations on top of popular relational databases.
Sand Technology Sand/DNA Software Extensions available for Oracle, IBM DB2, SAP NetWeaver BI
Sybase Sybase IQ Category leader and early pioneer with 1,000-plus customers
Vertica Vertica Database Supports continuous data loading. Also offers appliance based on HP hardware/Red Hat Linux OS-based database appliance.

2) 3) 4) 5) 6)

Discover More
Card Puncher Data Processing
Aws - SimpleDB

SimpleDb is a Nosql database with a web services interface to: create and store multiple data sets, query data and return the results. It may be used as a time serie database. Amazon SimpleDB...
Data Modeling Chebotko Logical
Cassandra NoSql Database

Cassandra is a NoSql database for transactional workloads that require high scale and maximum availability. Cassandra is suited for transactional workloads at high volume and shouldn’t be considered...
Data System Architecture
Column Family Store

s are NoSql store that clusters the data by a set of key columns. The data is then partitioned / distributed across multiple machines according to the key columns. Storage is sparse since only columns...
Data System Architecture
Data Partition - Row or Column Data Store

Most data warehouses either use a star schema (cube), the central fact table in such a schema usually has many attributes. 50 attributes is very common and 200 is not unusual. So assume a fact table with...
Card Puncher Data Processing
Database - Hbase

NoSql Column-Oriented DB open source version of
Bigtable Memtable Write
Google Big Table

BigTable is NoSql database where value may be versioned by time. It's then a time serie database and its open source version is called Hbase. From Google to support actively update. OSDI paper in 2006...
Data System Architecture
Relation - Row Store

A row store format is when the data of a relation are stored by row (as opposed than by column (column store). It means than when you want to read only one column, you need to read the whole row and to...
Parquet Nested Representation
Table - Parquet Format (On Disk)

Parquet is a read-optimized encoding format (write once, read many) for columnar tabular data Parquet is built from the ground up with complex nested data structures and implements...
Data System Architecture
What is a Nosql Database?

This page explains as if you were 5 what is a NoSQL database.

Share this page:
Follow us:
Task Runner