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From Filipe David Manana <>
Subject Re: Understanding the CouchDB file format
Date Tue, 20 Dec 2011 20:07:26 GMT
On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 6:24 PM, Riyad Kalla <> wrote:
> I've been reading everything I can find on the CouchDB file format[1] and
> am getting bits and pieces here and there, but not a great, concrete,
> step-by-step explanation of the process.
> I'm clear on the use of B+ trees and after reading a few papers on the
> benefits of log-structured file formats, I understand the benefits of
> inlining the B+ tree indices directly into the data file as well (locality
> + sequential I/O)... what I'm flummoxed about is how much of the B+ tree's
> index is rewritten after every modified document.
> Consider a CouchDB file that looks more or less like this:
> [idx/header][doc1, rev1][idx/header][doc1, rev2]....
> After each revised doc is written and the "b-tree root" is rewritten after
> that, is that just a modified root node of the B+ tree or the entire B+
> tree?
> The reason I ask is because regardless of the answer to my previous
> question, for a *huge* database will millions of records, that seems like
> an enormous amount of data to rewrite after every modification. Say the
> root node had a fanning factor of 133; that would still be alot of data to
> rewrite.

Hi Riyad,

Have you observed that in practice?

Typically the depth of database btrees is not that high even for
millions of documents. For example I have one around with about 10
million documents which doesn't have more than 5 or 6 levels if I
recall correctly.

So updating a doc, for that particular case, means rewriting 5 or 6
new nodes plus the document itself. Each node is normally not much
bigger than 1.2Kb.

I've written once a tool to analyze database files which reports btree
depths, however it's not updated to work with recent changes on
master/1.2.x such as snappy compression and btree sizes:

It should work with CouchDB 1.1 (and older) database files.

> I am certain I am missing the boat on this; if anyone can pull me out of
> the water and point me to dry land I'd appreciate it.
> Best,
> R
> [1]
> --
> --
> --
> --
> --* (Over my head)

Filipe David Manana,

"Reasonable men adapt themselves to the world.
 Unreasonable men adapt the world to themselves.
 That's why all progress depends on unreasonable men."

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