Indexes et al.

Viewing indexes as derived datasets

What are derived datasets?

While indexes were traditionally built and maintained as auxiliary data structures internal to a DBMS, in a data lake, since there is no single database system, we consider indexes to be a form of derived data i.e., data that has been derived from one or more datasets and may be optionally used by an arbitrary query optimizer to improve the speed of data retrieval.

What are their properties?

The only assumption we make about these derived datasets is that they:

  1. Support basic lifecycle operations such as create, delete, (either full or incremental) rebuild, and restore
  2. Can be leveraged for query acceleration (in particular, be integrated with query optimizers and execution runtimes).

Therefore, covering indexes, zone maps, materialized views, statistics, and chunk-elimination indexes are all included when we use the term index.

Examples of derived datasets

For completeness, we discuss a few examples of derived datasets that Hyperspace aspires to provide out-of-box.

Covering Index

Covering indexes are efficient in scenarios where certain selection and filter columns co-occur frequently in queries. They have the following properties:

  1. Non-clustered: index is separated from the data.
  2. Covering: index contains both key columns (i.e., indexed columns) and data/payload columns (i.e., included columns); these data/payload columns are duplicated from the original data (for index only query access paths).
  3. Columnar: index is stored in some columnar format (e.g., Parquet in the case of Hyperspace) rather than a row-oriented format such as a B-tree. This allows us to leverage techniques like vectorization along with min-max pruning to accelerate scans over indexes.

With all columns in the query being included in the covering index either as key or non-key columns, query performance may be significantly improved. Additional physical layout properties (such as bucketization, partitioning, and sort order) can speed up workhorse operators such as filter and join that typically dominate query execution time.

In Hyperspace, all columns marked as indexed columns by the user are bucketized and (optionally) sorted.

Chunk-Elimination Index

For queries that are highly selective (e.g., searching for a single GUID amongst billions), we intend to support a class of indexes called chunk-elimination indexes analogous to a traditional inverted index, except that the pointer is an arbitrary URI (as opposed to a row_id) that refers to a chunk, a reasonable unit of addressable data stored in data lake (e.g., a single Parquet file or an offset range within a large CSV file). An optimizer can leverage this index to quickly prune irrelevant blocks for a query.

Materialized Views

For expensive queries with joins or aggregations, users can create materialized views as derived datasets. These materialized views can then be used transparently by the underlying query optimizer. Hyperspace will only support full rebuild of materialized views to begin with.


In environments with cost-based query optimizers, we intend to also support collection of statistics (e.g., histograms) a priori for columns of interest. A capable optimizer can then leverage these statistics at runtime to optimize resources.