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

Step 5: Review Compression Encodings

Compression is a column-level operation that reduces the size of data when it is stored. Compression conserves storage space and reduces the size of data that is read from storage, which reduces the amount of disk I/O and therefore improves query performance.

By default, Amazon Redshift stores data in its raw, uncompressed format. When you create tables in an Amazon Redshift database, you can define a compression type, or encoding, for the columns. For more information, see Compression Encodings.

You can apply compression encodings to columns in tables manually when you create the tables, or you can use the COPY command to analyze the load data and apply compression encodings automatically.

To Review Compression Encodings

  1. Find how much space each column uses.

    Query the STV_BLOCKLIST system view to find the number of 1 MB blocks each column uses. The MAX aggregate function returns the highest block number for each column. This example uses col < 17 in the WHERE clause to exclude system-generated columns.

    Execute the following command.

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    select col, max(blocknum) from stv_blocklist b, stv_tbl_perm p where (b.tbl=p.id) and name ='lineorder' and col < 17 group by name, col order by col;

    Your results will look similar to the following.

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    col | max ----+----- 0 | 572 1 | 572 2 | 572 3 | 572 4 | 572 5 | 572 6 | 1659 7 | 715 8 | 572 9 | 572 10 | 572 11 | 572 12 | 572 13 | 572 14 | 572 15 | 572 16 | 1185 (17 rows)
  2. Experiment with the different encoding methods.

    In this step, you create a table with identical columns, except that each column uses a different compression encoding. Then you insert a large number of rows, using data from the p_name column in the PART table, so that every column has the same data. Finally, you will examine the table to compare the effects of the different encodings on column sizes.

    1. Create a table with the encodings that you want to compare.

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      create table encodingshipmode ( moderaw varchar(22) encode raw, modebytedict varchar(22) encode bytedict, modelzo varchar(22) encode lzo, moderunlength varchar(22) encode runlength, modetext255 varchar(22) encode text255, modetext32k varchar(22) encode text32k);
    2. Insert the same data into all of the columns using an INSERT statement with a SELECT clause. The command will take a couple minutes to execute.

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      insert into encodingshipmode select lo_shipmode as moderaw, lo_shipmode as modebytedict, lo_shipmode as modelzo, lo_shipmode as moderunlength, lo_shipmode as modetext255, lo_shipmode as modetext32k from lineorder where lo_orderkey < 200000000;
    3. Query the STV_BLOCKLIST system table to compare the number of 1 MB disk blocks used by each column.

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      select col, max(blocknum) from stv_blocklist b, stv_tbl_perm p where (b.tbl=p.id) and name = 'encodingshipmode' and col < 6 group by name, col order by col;

      The query returns results similar to the following. Depending on how your cluster is configured, your results will be different, but the relative sizes should be similar.

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      col | max –------+----- 0 | 221 1 | 26 2 | 61 3 | 192 4 | 54 5 | 105 (6 rows)

      The columns show the results for the following encodings:

      • Raw

      • Bytedict

      • LZO

      • Runlength

      • Text255

      • Text32K

      You can see that Bytedict encoding on the second column produced the best results for this data set, with a compression ratio of better than 8:1. Different data sets will produce different results, of course.

  3. Use the ANALYZE COMPRESSION command to view the suggested encodings for an existing table.

    Execute the following command.

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    analyze compression lineorder;

    Your results should look similar to the following.

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    Table | Column | Encoding -----------+------------------+------------------- lineorder lo_orderkey delta lineorder lo_linenumber delta lineorder lo_custkey raw lineorder lo_partkey raw lineorder lo_suppkey raw lineorder lo_orderdate delta32k lineorder lo_orderpriority bytedict lineorder lo_shippriority runlength lineorder lo_quantity delta lineorder lo_extendedprice lzo lineorder lo_ordertotalprice lzo lineorder lo_discount delta lineorder lo_revenue lzo lineorder lo_supplycost delta32k lineorder lo_tax delta lineorder lo_commitdate delta32k lineorder lo_shipmode bytedict

    Notice that ANALYZE COMPRESSION chose BYTEDICT encoding for the lo_shipmode column.

    For an example that walks through choosing manually applied compression encodings, see Example: Choosing Compression Encodings for the CUSTOMER Table.

  4. Apply automatic compression to the SSB tables.

    By default, the COPY command automatically applies compression encodings when you load data into an empty table that has no compression encodings other than RAW encoding. For this tutorial, you will let the COPY command automatically select and apply optimal encodings for the tables as part of the next step, Recreate the test data set.

    For more information, see Loading Tables with Automatic Compression.

Next Step

Step 6: Recreate the Test Data Set