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From Ian Varley <ivar...@salesforce.com>
Subject Re: Multiple tables vs big fat table
Date Mon, 21 Nov 2011 16:21:56 GMT
One clarification; Michael, when you say:

"If I do a scan(), I'm actually going to go through all of the rows in the table."

That's if you're doing a *full* table scan, which you'd have to do if you wanted selectivity
based on some attribute that isn't part of the key. This is to be avoided in anything other
than a map/reduce scenario; you definitely don't want to scan an entire 100TB table every
time you want to return 10 rows to your user in real time.

By contrast, however, HBase is perfectly capable of doing *limited* range scans, over some
set of sorted rows that are contiguous with respect to their row keys. This continues to be
linear in the size of the scanned range, *not* the size of the whole table. In fact, the get()
operation is actually built on top of this same scan() operation, but simply restricts itself
to one row. (This pre-supposes that you're not manually using a hash for your row keys, of

So if you're scanning by a fixed range of your row key space, that continues to be constant
with respect to the size of the whole table. 


On Nov 21, 2011, at 10:13 AM, Michael Segel wrote:

> Mark, 
> I sometimes answer these things while on my iPad. Its not the best way to type in long
answers.  :-)
> Yes, you are correct, I'm saying exactly that.  
> So imagine you have an HBase Table on a cluster with 10 nodes and 10TB of data. 
> If I do a get() I'm asking for a specific row and it will take some time, depending on
the row size. For the sake of the example, lets say 5ms.
> If I do a scan(), I'm actually going to go through all of the rows in the table. 
> Now the Table and the cluster grows to 100 nodes and 100TB of data.
> If I do the get(), it should still take roughly 5ms.
> However if I do the scan() its going to take longer because you're now going through
much more data.
> Note: I'm talking about a single threaded scan() from a non M/R app or from HBase shell.
> This is kind of why getting the right row key, understanding how your data is going to
be used, and your schema  are all kind of important when it comes to performance. 
> (Even flipping the order of the elements that make up your key can have an impact.)
> IMHO I think you need to do a lot more thinking and planning when you work with a NoSQL
database than you would w an RDBMs.
>> Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 07:43:09 -0800
>> From: static.void.dev@gmail.com
>> To: user@hbase.apache.org
>> Subject: Re: Multiple tables vs big fat table
>> Thanks for the detailed explanation. Can you just elaborate on your last 
>> comment:
>> In terms of get() performance HBase scales linearly. In terms of scans, it doesn't.
>> Are you saying as my tables get larger and larger that the performance 
>> of my scan operations will decline over time but gets will remain constant?
>> On 11/21/11 1:40 AM, Michel Segel wrote:
>>> Mark,
>>> I think you've gotten a bit more of an explanation...
>>> The reason I say 'It depends...' is that there are arguments for either design.
>>> If your log events are going to be accessed independently by type... Meaning
that you're going to process only a single type of an event at a time, then it makes sense
to separate the data.  Note I'm talking about your primary access path.
>>> At the same time, it was pointed out that if you're not going to be accessing
the log events one at a time, you may actually want a hybrid approach where you keep your
index in HBase but store your event logs in a sequence file.
>>> And again, it all depends on what you want to do with the data. That's why you
can't always say ... 'if y then do x...'
>>> There are other issues too. How will the data end up sitting in the table? Sure
his is more of an issue of schema/key design, but it will also have an impact on your systems
>>> In terms of get() performance HBase scales linearly. In terms of scans, it doesn't.
>>> So there's a lot to think about...
>>> Sent from a remote device. Please excuse any typos...
>>> Mike Segel
>>> On Nov 20, 2011, at 7:36 PM, Amandeep Khurana<amansk@gmail.com>  wrote:
>>>> Mark,
>>>> This is an interesting discussion and like Michel said - the answer to your
>>>> question depends on what you are trying to achieve. However, here are the
>>>> points that I would think about:
>>>> What are the access patters of the various buckets of data that you want
>>>> put in HBase? For instance, would the SearchLog and PageViewLog tables be
>>>> access together all the time? Would they be primarily scanned or just
>>>> random look ups. What are the cache requirements? Are both going to be
>>>> equally read and written? Ideally, you want to store data with separate
>>>> access patterns in separate tables.
>>>> Then, what kind of schema are you looking at. When I say schema, I mean
>>>> keys and column families. Now, if you concatenate the three tables you
>>>> mentioned and let's say your keys are prefixed with the type of data:
>>>> S<id>
>>>> P<id>
>>>> L<id>
>>>> you will be using some servers more than others for different parts of the
>>>> data. In theory, that should not happen but in most practical scenarios
>>>> when splitting happens, regions tend to stick together. There are ways to
>>>> work around that as well.
>>>> Like Lars said, it's okay to have multiple tables. But you don't want to
>>>> end up 100s of tables. You ideally want to optimize for the number of
>>>> tables depending on the access patterns.
>>>> Again, this discussion will be kind of abstract without a specific example.
>>>> :)
>>>> -ak
>>>> On Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 1:29 PM, Mark<static.void.dev@gmail.com>  wrote:
>>>>> Is it better to have many smaller tables are one larger table? For example
>>>>> if we wanted to store user action logs we could do either of the following:
>>>>> Multiple tables:
>>>>> - SearchLog
>>>>> - PageViewLog
>>>>> - LoginLog
>>>>> or
>>>>> One table:
>>>>> - ActionLog where the key could be a concatenation of the action type
>>>>> (search, pageview, login)
>>>>> Any ideas? Are there any performance considerations on having multiple
>>>>> smaller tables?
>>>>> Thanks

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