Partitioning Data - Amazon Athena

Partitioning Data

By partitioning your data, you can restrict the amount of data scanned by each query, thus improving performance and reducing cost. Athena leverages Apache Hive for partitioning data. You can partition your data by any key. A common practice is to partition the data based on time, often leading to a multi-level partitioning scheme. For example, a customer who has data coming in every hour might decide to partition by year, month, date, and hour. Another customer, who has data coming from many different sources but loaded one time per day, may partition by a data source identifier and date.

Considerations and Limitations

When using partitioning, keep in mind the following points:

  • If you query a partitioned table and specify the partition in the WHERE clause, Athena scans the data only from that partition. For more information, see Table Location and Partitions.

  • If you issue queries against Amazon S3 buckets with a large number of objects and the data is not partitioned, such queries may affect the GET request rate limits in Amazon S3 and lead to Amazon S3 exceptions. To prevent errors, partition your data. Additionally, consider tuning your Amazon S3 request rates. For more information, see Best Practices Design Patterns: Optimizing Amazon S3 Performance .

  • Partition locations to be used with Athena must use the s3 protocol (for example, s3://bucket/folder/). In Athena, locations that use other protocols (for example, s3a://bucket/folder/) will result in query failures when MSCK REPAIR TABLE queries are run on the containing tables.

  • Because MSCK REPAIR TABLE scans both a folder its subfolders to find a matching partition scheme, be sure to keep data for separate tables in separate folder hierarchies. For example, suppose you have data for table A in s3://table-a-data and data for table B in s3://table-a-data/table-b-data. If both tables are partitioned by string, MSCK REPAIR TABLE will add the partitions for table B to table A. To avoid this, use separate folder structures like s3://table-a-data and s3://table-b-data instead. Note that this behavior is consistent with Amazon EMR and Apache Hive.

  • If you are using the AWS Glue Data Catalog with Athena, see AWS Glue Endpoints and Quotas for service quotas on partitions.

  • If you are not using AWS Glue Data Catalog, the default maximum number of partitions per table is 20,000. You can request a quota increase.

Creating and Loading a Table with Partitioned Data

To create a table that uses partitions, you must define it during the CREATE TABLE statement. Use PARTITIONED BY to define the keys by which to partition data, as in the following example. LOCATION specifies the root location of the partitioned data.

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE users ( first string, last string, username string ) PARTITIONED BY (id string) STORED AS parquet LOCATION 's3://bucket/folder/'

After you create the table, you load the data in the partitions for querying. For Hive-compatible data, you run MSCK REPAIR TABLE. For non-Hive compatible data, you use ALTER TABLE ADD PARTITION to add the partitions manually.

Preparing Partitioned and Nonpartitioned Data for Querying

The following sections discuss two scenarios:

  1. Data is already partitioned, stored on Amazon S3, and you need to access the data on Athena.

  2. Data is not partitioned.

Scenario 1: Data already partitioned and stored on S3 in Hive format

Storing Partitioned Data

Partitions are stored in separate folders in Amazon S3. For example, here is the partial listing for sample ad impressions:

aws s3 ls s3://elasticmapreduce/samples/hive-ads/tables/impressions/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-13-00/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-13-05/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-13-10/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-13-15/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-13-20/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-14-00/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-14-05/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-14-10/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-14-15/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-14-20/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-15-00/ PRE dt=2009-04-12-15-05/

Here, logs are stored with the column name (dt) set equal to date, hour, and minute increments. When you give a DDL with the location of the parent folder, the schema, and the name of the partitioned column, Athena can query data in those subfolders.

Creating a Table

To make a table out of this data, create a partition along 'dt' as in the following Athena DDL statement:

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE impressions ( requestBeginTime string, adId string, impressionId string, referrer string, userAgent string, userCookie string, ip string, number string, processId string, browserCookie string, requestEndTime string, timers struct<modelLookup:string, requestTime:string>, threadId string, hostname string, sessionId string) PARTITIONED BY (dt string) ROW FORMAT serde '' LOCATION 's3://elasticmapreduce/samples/hive-ads/tables/impressions/' ;

This table uses Hive's native JSON serializer-deserializer to read JSON data stored in Amazon S3. For more information about the formats supported, see Supported SerDes and Data Formats.

After you run the preceding statement in Athena, choose New Query and run the following command:


Athena loads the data in the partitions.

Query the Data

Now, query the data from the impressions table using the partition column. Here's an example:

SELECT dt,impressionid FROM impressions WHERE dt<'2009-04-12-14-00' and dt>='2009-04-12-13-00' ORDER BY dt DESC LIMIT 100

This query should show you data similar to the following:

2009-04-12-13-20 ap3HcVKAWfXtgIPu6WpuUfAfL0DQEc 2009-04-12-13-20 17uchtodoS9kdeQP1x0XThKl5IuRsV 2009-04-12-13-20 JOUf1SCtRwviGw8sVcghqE5h0nkgtp 2009-04-12-13-20 NQ2XP0J0dvVbCXJ0pb4XvqJ5A4QxxH 2009-04-12-13-20 fFAItiBMsgqro9kRdIwbeX60SROaxr 2009-04-12-13-20 V4og4R9W6G3QjHHwF7gI1cSqig5D1G 2009-04-12-13-20 hPEPtBwk45msmwWTxPVVo1kVu4v11b 2009-04-12-13-20 v0SkfxegheD90gp31UCr6FplnKpx6i 2009-04-12-13-20 1iD9odVgOIi4QWkwHMcOhmwTkWDKfj 2009-04-12-13-20 b31tJiIA25CK8eDHQrHnbcknfSndUk

Scenario 2: Data is not partitioned in Hive format

A layout like the following does not, however, work for automatically adding partition data with MSCK REPAIR TABLE:

aws s3 ls s3://athena-examples-myregion/elb/plaintext/ --recursive 2016-11-23 17:54:46 11789573 elb/plaintext/2015/01/01/part-r-00000-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:46 8776899 elb/plaintext/2015/01/01/part-r-00001-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:46 9309800 elb/plaintext/2015/01/01/part-r-00002-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:47 9412570 elb/plaintext/2015/01/01/part-r-00003-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:47 10725938 elb/plaintext/2015/01/01/part-r-00004-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:46 9439710 elb/plaintext/2015/01/01/part-r-00005-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:47 0 elb/plaintext/2015/01/01_$folder$ 2016-11-23 17:54:47 9012723 elb/plaintext/2015/01/02/part-r-00006-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:47 7571816 elb/plaintext/2015/01/02/part-r-00007-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:47 9673393 elb/plaintext/2015/01/02/part-r-00008-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:48 11979218 elb/plaintext/2015/01/02/part-r-00009-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:48 9546833 elb/plaintext/2015/01/02/part-r-00010-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:48 10960865 elb/plaintext/2015/01/02/part-r-00011-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:48 0 elb/plaintext/2015/01/02_$folder$ 2016-11-23 17:54:48 11360522 elb/plaintext/2015/01/03/part-r-00012-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:48 11211291 elb/plaintext/2015/01/03/part-r-00013-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:48 8633768 elb/plaintext/2015/01/03/part-r-00014-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:49 11891626 elb/plaintext/2015/01/03/part-r-00015-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:49 9173813 elb/plaintext/2015/01/03/part-r-00016-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:49 11899582 elb/plaintext/2015/01/03/part-r-00017-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:49 0 elb/plaintext/2015/01/03_$folder$ 2016-11-23 17:54:50 8612843 elb/plaintext/2015/01/04/part-r-00018-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:50 10731284 elb/plaintext/2015/01/04/part-r-00019-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:50 9984735 elb/plaintext/2015/01/04/part-r-00020-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:50 9290089 elb/plaintext/2015/01/04/part-r-00021-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:50 7896339 elb/plaintext/2015/01/04/part-r-00022-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 8321364 elb/plaintext/2015/01/04/part-r-00023-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 0 elb/plaintext/2015/01/04_$folder$ 2016-11-23 17:54:51 7641062 elb/plaintext/2015/01/05/part-r-00024-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 10253377 elb/plaintext/2015/01/05/part-r-00025-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 8502765 elb/plaintext/2015/01/05/part-r-00026-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 11518464 elb/plaintext/2015/01/05/part-r-00027-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 7945189 elb/plaintext/2015/01/05/part-r-00028-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 7864475 elb/plaintext/2015/01/05/part-r-00029-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 0 elb/plaintext/2015/01/05_$folder$ 2016-11-23 17:54:51 11342140 elb/plaintext/2015/01/06/part-r-00030-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:51 8063755 elb/plaintext/2015/01/06/part-r-00031-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:52 9387508 elb/plaintext/2015/01/06/part-r-00032-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:52 9732343 elb/plaintext/2015/01/06/part-r-00033-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:52 11510326 elb/plaintext/2015/01/06/part-r-00034-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:52 9148117 elb/plaintext/2015/01/06/part-r-00035-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:52 0 elb/plaintext/2015/01/06_$folder$ 2016-11-23 17:54:52 8402024 elb/plaintext/2015/01/07/part-r-00036-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:52 8282860 elb/plaintext/2015/01/07/part-r-00037-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:52 11575283 elb/plaintext/2015/01/07/part-r-00038-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:53 8149059 elb/plaintext/2015/01/07/part-r-00039-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:53 10037269 elb/plaintext/2015/01/07/part-r-00040-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:53 10019678 elb/plaintext/2015/01/07/part-r-00041-ce65fca5-d6c6-40e6-b1f9-190cc4f93814.txt 2016-11-23 17:54:53 0 elb/plaintext/2015/01/07_$folder$ 2016-11-23 17:54:53 0 elb/plaintext/2015/01_$folder$ 2016-11-23 17:54:53 0 elb/plaintext/2015_$folder$

In this case, you would have to use ALTER TABLE ADD PARTITION to add each partition manually. If a partition already exists, you receive the error Partition already exists. To avoid this error, you can use the IF NOT EXISTS clause. For more information, see ALTER TABLE ADD PARTITION.

For example, to load the data in s3://athena-examples-myregion/elb/plaintext/2015/01/01/, you can run the following. Note that a separate partition column for each Amazon S3 folder is not required, and that the partition key value can be different from the Amazon S3 key.

ALTER TABLE elb_logs_raw_native_part ADD PARTITION (dt='2015-01-01') location 's3://athena-examples-us-west-1/elb/plaintext/2015/01/01/'

To remove a partition, use ALTER TABLE DROP PARTITION.

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