ClickHouse JOIN: Mastering Chained Joins


Financial systems analytics demand sophisticated data manipulation, often involving multiple joins to extract valuable insights. In this guide, we will explore how to implement multiple joins, often referred to as chained joins, in ClickHouse, a powerful analytical database. We’ll provide practical, real-life data sets, SQL examples, and offer optimization tips and tricks to ensure optimal query performance.

Understanding Multiple Joins

Multiple joins, or chained joins, occur when you need to combine data from several tables in a single query. In financial systems analytics, this might involve connecting transactions, customer data, account details, and market data to derive comprehensive insights.

Use Case and Data Sets:

Imagine you’re working with a financial institution’s database. You have tables for:

  1. Transactions Table (transactions): Recording every financial transaction.
CREATE TABLE transactions (
transaction_id UUID,
account_id UUID,
transaction_date Date,
transaction_amount Float64
) ENGINE = MergeTree()
ORDER BY transaction_date;

2. Customers Table (customers): Storing customer information.

CREATE TABLE customers (
customer_id UUID,
customer_name String,
customer_type String
) ENGINE = MergeTree()
ORDER BY customer_id;

3. Accounts Table (accounts): Managing account data.

CREATE TABLE accounts (
account_id UUID,
account_type String,
balance Float64
) ENGINE = MergeTree()
ORDER BY account_id;

4. Market Data Table (market_data): Providing real-time market information.

CREATE TABLE market_data (
market_date Date,
stock_symbol String,
market_index Float64
) ENGINE = MergeTree()
ORDER BY market_date;

Implementation in ClickHouse

  1. Join Order: Carefully consider the order of your joins. Start with the smallest dataset or the one that filters the result set most effectively. This reduces the dataset size as you progress.
  2. Optimize for Filtering: Apply filters as early as possible in the join sequence. For example, filter by date or customer type before joining large datasets.
  3. Choose Join Types: ClickHouse supports various join types, including inner, left, and outer joins. Select the appropriate join type for each relationship to retain necessary data.
  4. Indexing: Identify columns used in join conditions and apply indexes to speed up the process.

Optimization Tips and Tricks

  • Use Materialized Views: Precompute complex joins and store them as materialized views, saving computation time during query execution.
  • Partitioning: Partition large tables based on a common column like date, which can significantly reduce query execution times.
  • Limit Results: Implement pagination or result limiting to avoid overwhelming result sets, especially in web applications.
  • Caching: Leverage result caching for frequently used queries to reduce computational load.

SQL Examples

Let’s say you want to find the average transaction amount of high-net-worth customers during market volatility. Here’s a sample SQL query:

AVG(t.transaction_amount) AS avg_transaction_amount
transactions AS t
accounts AS a ON t.account_id = a.account_id
customers AS c ON a.customer_id = c.customer_id
market_data AS m ON t.transaction_date = m.market_date
c.customer_type = 'high_net_worth'
AND m.market_index > 0.1

Real-Life Example

Suppose you want to analyze the impact of market data on the trading behavior of high-net-worth customers. By joining the transactions, customer, account, and market data tables in a specific order, you can extract insights into how market fluctuations affect trading patterns.


Multiple joins in ClickHouse are essential for in-depth financial systems analytics. With careful planning, optimization, and consideration of join order, you can efficiently extract valuable insights from complex datasets. By applying these techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle intricate financial analytics tasks with confidence and precision.

About Shiv Iyer 215 Articles
Open Source Database Systems Engineer with a deep understanding of Optimizer Internals, Performance Engineering, Scalability and Data SRE. Shiv currently is the Founder, Investor, Board Member and CEO of multiple Database Systems Infrastructure Operations companies in the Transaction Processing Computing and ColumnStores ecosystem. He is also a frequent speaker in open source software conferences globally.