ClickHouse Performance: Choosing the Right CPU Infrastructure


Selecting the right CPU infrastructure is critical for optimizing ClickHouse performance. Faster CPUs with higher clock speeds are beneficial for single-threaded tasks, while multi-core CPUs excel in parallel processing scenarios. This article delves into the considerations for choosing CPU infrastructure tailored to ClickHouse workloads

Choosing the right infrastructure for ClickHouse performance

  1. Faster CPUs:
    • Faster CPUs with higher clock speeds and single-threaded performance can benefit workloads that involve complex calculations, single-threaded tasks, and certain query patterns.
    • ClickHouse can utilize multiple CPU cores to process parallel queries and aggregations. However, some operations, such as single-row lookups and certain functions, may not fully benefit from multiple cores.
    • If your workload primarily involves single-threaded operations or has a significant dependency on single-threaded performance, investing in faster CPUs can be beneficial.
  2. Several CPUs (Multi-Core):
    • ClickHouse is designed to take advantage of multiple CPU cores for parallel processing, making it highly suitable for multi-core systems.
    • Workloads that involve concurrent queries, complex aggregations, and data-intensive operations can significantly benefit from multiple CPUs.
    • As data volumes and query complexity increase, having multiple CPU cores allows ClickHouse to distribute processing across threads, enhancing query performance and reducing query execution times.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Infrastructure for ClickHouse Performance:

  1. Workload Characteristics:
    • Analyze your specific workload and query patterns. Consider the mix of single-threaded versus multi-threaded tasks.
    • If your queries involve complex aggregations, data transformations, and parallel processing, multi-core CPUs are likely to provide better performance.
  2. Data Volume and Complexity:
    • Larger data volumes and complex query requirements benefit from multiple CPU cores, as parallel processing can expedite query execution.
  3. RAM and Disk Configuration:
    • Ensure you have sufficient RAM to accommodate the data needed for ClickHouse’s processing and caching requirements.
    • Optimize your disk setup to achieve the required throughput and I/O performance for data storage and retrieval.
  4. Network Bandwidth:
    • If you have a distributed ClickHouse cluster, consider network bandwidth for data replication and inter-node communication.
  5. Hardware Budget:
    • Balance your hardware budget with your performance requirements. Consider the overall infrastructure cost and the potential for scaling in the future.
  6. Query Optimization:
    • Efficiently design your schema, use appropriate data types, and create appropriate indexes to optimize query performance.
    • Utilize ClickHouse’s performance tuning options and query profiling to identify bottlenecks and optimize query execution.


The decision between faster CPUs or several CPUs for ClickHouse performance depends on the specific workload, query patterns, and data complexity. For workloads with complex aggregations and parallel processing requirements, multi-core CPUs are typically more advantageous. However, if your workload has significant single-threaded tasks, faster CPUs may be the better choice. Thoroughly analyze your specific requirements and consider other hardware and configuration factors to make an informed decision that aligns with your performance and budgetary needs.

To know more about the CPU tuning & troubleshooting in ClickHouse, do read the following articles:

About Shiv Iyer 227 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.