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

Using Time Series Tables

If you maintain data for a rolling time period, use a series of tables, as the following diagram illustrates.

Create a new table each time you add a set of data, then delete the oldest table in the series. You gain a double benefit:

  • You avoid the added cost of deleting rows, because a DROP TABLE operation is much more efficient than a mass DELETE.

  • If the tables are sorted by timestamp, no vacuum is needed. If each table contains data for one month, a vacuum will at most have to rewrite one month’s worth of data, even if the tables are not sorted by timestamp.

You can create a UNION ALL view for use by reporting queries that hides the fact that the data is stored in multiple tables. If a query filters on the sort key, the query planner can efficiently skip all the tables that aren't used. A UNION ALL can be less efficient for other types of queries, so you should evaluate query performance in the context of all queries that use the tables.