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Amazon Redshift
Database Developer Guide (API Version 2012-12-01)

Pattern-Matching Conditions

A pattern-matching operator searches a string for a pattern specified in the conditional expression and returns true or false depend on whether it finds a match. Amazon Redshift uses three methods for pattern matching:

  • LIKE expressions

    The LIKE operator compares a string expression, such as a column name, with a pattern that uses the wildcard characters % (percent) and _ (underscore). LIKE pattern matching always covers the entire string. LIKE performs a case-sensitive match and ILIKE performs a case-insensitive match.

  • SIMILAR TO regular expressions

    The SIMILAR TO operator matches a string expression with a SQL standard regular expression pattern, which can include a set of pattern-matching metacharacters that includes the two supported by the LIKE operator. SIMILAR TO matches the entire string and performs a case-sensitive match.

  • POSIX-style regular expressions

    POSIX regular expressions provide a more powerful means for pattern matching than the LIKE and SIMILAR TO operators. POSIX regular expression patterns can match any portion of the string and performs a case-sensitive match.

Regular expression matching, using SIMILAR TO or POSIX operators, is computationally expensive. We recommend using LIKE whenever possible, especially when processing a very large number of rows. For example, the following queries are functionally identical, but the query that uses LIKE executes several times faster than the query that uses a regular expression:

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select count(*) from event where eventname SIMILAR TO '%(Ring|Die)%'; select count(*) from event where eventname LIKE '%Ring%' OR eventname LIKE '%Die%';