Direct Path Load and Space Management for Optimal ClickHouse Storage & Ingestion


Space management and direct path load are important considerations in ClickHouse for optimizing storage efficiency and data loading performance. Here are some tips and tricks for space management and direct path load in ClickHouse:

Space Management

  1. Column compression: ClickHouse supports various compression algorithms, such as LZ4, ZSTD, and Snappy. Choosing the right compression algorithm for each column can significantly reduce storage requirements. Experiment with different compression options to find the balance between storage savings and query performance.
  2. Partitioning: Partitioning allows you to divide data into smaller, manageable chunks based on a partition key, such as date or category. This improves query performance by minimizing the amount of data that needs to be scanned. Use partitioning wisely based on your data access patterns and query requirements.
  3. MergeTree tables: ClickHouse’s MergeTree family of tables is optimized for time-series data. It automatically performs merge and cleanup operations to optimize storage space and query performance. Consider using MergeTree tables for time-series data ingestion and analysis.
  4. TTL (Time to Live): ClickHouse allows you to set a TTL for data, specifying how long data should be retained. Expired data is automatically deleted, freeing up storage space. TTL is especially useful for managing data retention policies in time-series data.
  5. DROP PARTITION: If you have large partitions of data that are no longer needed, you can drop them using the DROP PARTITION command. This frees up storage space by removing unnecessary data.

Direct Path Load

  1. Bulk insert: When loading large volumes of data, it is recommended to use bulk insert methods such as INSERT SELECT or INSERT VALUES. These methods are faster than individual row inserts and reduce the overhead of network communication.
  2. Parallelism: ClickHouse supports parallel data insertion, which allows you to load data from multiple sources simultaneously. Utilize parallel data loading by dividing data into smaller chunks and loading them in parallel.
  3. Distributed insert: If you have a ClickHouse cluster, use distributed insert methods to distribute the data load across multiple nodes. This improves the data loading speed and ensures efficient utilization of cluster resources.
  4. Memory limits: Adjust the max_memory_usage parameter according to the available memory in your system. This prevents excessive memory consumption during data loading and avoids performance issues.
  5. Pre-sorting: If your data is not sorted, consider pre-sorting it based on the primary key or sort key of the table. Sorted data improves insert performance, as ClickHouse can take advantage of the sorting order during data loading.


By employing these tips and tricks for space management and direct path load in ClickHouse, you can optimize storage efficiency, improve query performance, and achieve faster data loading times. It is recommended to experiment with different techniques and monitor the impact on your specific use case to find the optimal configuration.

To read more about Storage and Optimization in ClickHouse, do consider reading the following

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.