How one can Deal with Database Joins in Apache Druid vs Rockset

Apache Druid is a real-time analytics database, offering enterprise intelligence to drive clickstream analytics, analyze danger, monitor community efficiency, and extra.

When Druid was launched in 2011, it didn’t initially assist joins, however a be part of function was added in 2020. That is vital as a result of it’s usually useful to incorporate fields from a number of Druid recordsdata — or a number of tables in a normalized knowledge set — in a single question, offering the equal of an SQL take part a relational database.

This text focuses on implementing database joins in Apache Druid, seems at some limitations builders face, and explores attainable options.


We’ll begin by acknowledging that the Druid documentation says query-time joins aren’t advisable and that, if attainable, you need to be part of your knowledge earlier than loading it into Druid. In the event you’ve labored with relational databases, it’s possible you’ll acknowledge this pre-joining idea by one other identify: denormalization.

We don’t have house to dive into denormalization in depth, however it boils all the way down to figuring out forward of time which fields you’d like to incorporate throughout a number of tables, making a single desk that incorporates all of these fields, after which populating that desk with knowledge. This removes the necessity to do a runtime be part of as a result of the entire knowledge you want is offered in a single desk.

Denormalization is nice when you already know upfront what knowledge you wish to question. This doesn’t at all times match real-world wants, nevertheless. If it’s worthwhile to do quite a lot of ad-hoc queries on knowledge that spans many tables, denormalization could also be a poor match. It’s additionally less-than-ideal while you want true real-time querying as a result of the time wanted to denormalize knowledge earlier than making it accessible to Druid might introduce unacceptable latency.

If we do have to carry out a query-time take part Druid, what are our choices?

Forms of Database Joins in Druid

There are two approaches to Druid database joins: be part of operators and query-time lookups.

Be part of Operators

Be part of operators join two or extra datasources comparable to knowledge recordsdata and Druid tables. Basically, datasources in Apache Druid are issues you can question. You’ll be able to be part of datasources in a manner just like joins in a relational database, and you may even use an SQL question to take action. You’ll be able to stack joins on high of one another to hitch many datasources, enabling faster execution and permitting for higher question efficiency.

Druid helps two sorts of queries: native queries, and SQL queries — and you are able to do joins with each of them. Native queries are specified utilizing JSON, and SQL queries are similar to the sorts of SQL queries accessible on a relational database.

Joins in SQL Queries

Internally, Druid interprets SQL queries into native queries utilizing an information dealer, and any Druid SQL JOIN operators that the native layer can deal with are then translated into be part of datasources from which Druid extracts knowledge. A Druid SQL be part of takes the shape:

 <fields from tables>
FROM <base desk>
[INNER | OUTER] JOIN <different desk> ON <be part of situation>

The primary vital factor to notice is that as a result of broadcast hash-join algorithm Druid makes use of, the bottom desk should slot in reminiscence. If the bottom desk you wish to be part of in opposition to is just too giant to slot in reminiscence, see if denormalization is an possibility. If not, you’ll have so as to add extra reminiscence to the machine Druid is operating on, or look to a distinct datastore.

The be part of situation in an SQL be part of question have to be an equality that tells Druid which columns in every of the 2 tables include similar knowledge so Druid can decide which rows to mix knowledge from. A easy be part of situation may appear to be = pet.parent_id. You can too use features within the be part of situation equality, for instance LOWER(t1.x) = t2.x.

Notice that Druid SQL is extra permissive than native Druid queries. In some instances, Druid can’t translate a SQL be part of right into a single native question – so a SQL be part of might lead to a number of native subqueries to return the specified outcomes. For example, foo OUTER JOIN customers ON = UPPER(customers.def) is an SQL be part of that can’t be immediately translated to a be part of datasource as a result of there may be an expression on the appropriate facet as a substitute of easy column entry.

Subqueries carry a considerable efficiency penalty, so use warning when specifying complicated be part of circumstances. Normally, Druid buffers the outcomes from subqueries in reminiscence within the knowledge dealer, and a few further processing happens within the dealer. Subqueries with giant consequence units could cause bottlenecks or run into reminiscence limits within the dealer — which is one more reason to keep away from subqueries if in any respect attainable.

Remember that Druid SQL doesn’t assist the next SQL be part of options:

  • Be part of between two native knowledge sources, together with tables and lookups
  • Be part of circumstances that aren’t equal between expressions from each side
  • Be part of circumstances with a relentless variable contained in the situation

We’ll end up with a whole instance of a Druid be part of question:

The next is an instance of an SQL be part of.

   shop_to_product.v AS product,
   SUM(purchases.income) AS product_revenue
   INNER JOIN lookup.shop_to_product ON purchases.retailer = shop_to_product.okay

Be part of Datasources in Native Queries

Subsequent, we’ll study methods to create be part of datasources in native queries. We’re assuming you’re already accustomed to common native JSON queries in Druid.

The next properties characterize be part of knowledge sources in native queries:

Left — The left-hand facet of the be part of have to be a desk, be part of, lookup, question, or inline datasource. Alternatively, the left-hand knowledge supply could be one other be part of, connecting a number of knowledge sources.

Proper — The proper-hand knowledge supply have to be a lookup, question, or inline datasource.

Proper Prefix — This can be a string prefix positioned on columns from the right-hand knowledge supply to keep away from a battle with columns from the left-hand facet. The string have to be non-empty.

Situation — The situation have to be an equality that compares the info supply from the left-hand facet to these from the right-hand facet.

Be part of sort — INNER or LEFT.

The next is an instance of a Druid native be part of:

  "QueryType": "GroupBy",
    "dataSource": {
      "sort": "be part of",
      "left": "purchases",
      "proper": {
      "sort": "lookup",
      "lookup": "shop_to_product"
      "rightPrefix": "r.",
      "situation": "store == "r.okay"",
      "joinType": "INNER"
    "intervals": ["0000/3000"],
    "granularity": "all",
    "dimensions": [
      { "type": "default", "outputName": "product", "dimension": "r.v" }
    "aggregations": [
      { "type": "longSum", "name": "product_revenue", "fieldName": "revenue" }

It will return a consequence set exhibiting cumulative income for every product in a store.

Question-Time Lookups

Question-time lookups are pre-defined key-value associations that reside in-memory on all servers in a Druid cluster. With query-time lookups, Druid replaces knowledge with new knowledge throughout runtime. They’re a particular case of Druid’s customary lookup performance, and though we don’t have house to cowl lookups in minute element, let’s stroll by means of them briefly.

Question-time lookups assist one-to-one matching of distinctive values, comparable to consumer privilege ID and consumer privilege identify. For instance, P1-> Delete, P2-> Edit, P3-> View. Additionally they assist use instances the place the operation should match a number of values to a single worth. Right here’s a case the place consumer privilege IDs map to a single consumer account: P1-> Admin, P2-> Admin, P3-> Admin.

One benefit of query-time lookups is that they don’t have historical past. As a substitute, they use present knowledge as they replace. Meaning if a selected consumer privilege ID is mapped to a person administrator (for instance, P1-> David_admin), and a brand new administrator is available in, a lookup question of the privilege ID returns the identify of the brand new administrator.

One downside of query-time lookups is that they don’t assist time-range-sensitive knowledge lookups.

Some Disadvantages of Druid Be part of Operators

Though Druid does assist database joins, they’re comparatively new and have some drawbacks.

Knowledge sources on the left-hand facet of joins should slot in reminiscence. Druid shops subquery leads to reminiscence to allow speedy retrieval. Additionally, you utilize a broadcast hash-join algorithm to implement Druid joins. So subqueries with giant consequence units occupy (and will exhaust) the reminiscence.

Not all datasources assist joins. Druid be part of operators don’t assist all joins. One instance of that is non-broadcast hash joins. Neither do be part of circumstances assist columns of a number of dimensional values.

A single be part of question might generate a number of (probably sluggish) subqueries. You can not implement some SQL queries with Druid’s native language. This implies you could first add them to a subquery to make them executable. This typically generates a number of subqueries that devour numerous reminiscence, inflicting a efficiency bottleneck.

For these causes, Druid’s documentation recommends in opposition to operating joins at question time.

Rockset In comparison with Apache Druid

Though Druid has many helpful options for real-time analytics, it presents a few challenges, comparable to a scarcity of assist for all database joins and important efficiency overhead when doing joins. Rockset addresses these challenges with one in every of its core options: high-performance SQL joins.

In supporting full-featured SQL, Rockset was designed with be part of efficiency in thoughts. Rockset partitions the joins, and these partitions run in parallel on distributed Aggregators that may be scaled out if wanted. It additionally has a number of methods of performing joins:

  • Hash Be part of
  • Nested loop Be part of
  • Broadcast Be part of
  • Lookup Be part of

The flexibility to hitch knowledge in Rockset is especially helpful when analyzing knowledge throughout totally different database programs and stay knowledge streams. Rockset can be utilized, for instance, to hitch a Kafka stream with dimension tables from MySQL. In lots of conditions, pre-joining the info shouldn’t be an possibility as a result of knowledge freshness is vital or the flexibility to carry out advert hoc queries is required.

You’ll be able to consider Rockset as a substitute for Apache Druid, with improved flexibility and manageability. Rockset lets you carry out schemaless ingestion and question that knowledge instantly, with out having to denormalize your knowledge or keep away from runtime joins.

In case you are trying to decrease knowledge and efficiency engineering wanted for real-time analytics, Rockset could also be a more sensible choice.

Subsequent Steps

Apache Druid processes excessive volumes of real-time knowledge in on-line analytical processing functions. The platform affords a spread of real-time analytics options, comparable to low-latency knowledge ingestion. Nonetheless, it additionally has its shortcomings, like not supporting all types of database joins.

Rockset helps overcome Druid’s restricted be part of assist. As a cloud-native, real-time indexing database, Rockset affords each pace and scale and helps a variety of options, together with joins. Begin a free trial right now to expertise probably the most versatile real-time analytics within the cloud.