Slow query times in large datasets are a common headache in database management. MariaDB ColumnStore offers a neat way out of this. It’s a columnar storage engine that significantly speeds up data analytics. Typically, you can improve query performance in relational databases by adding appropriate indexes. However, maintaining indexes is hard, especially with ad-hoc queries where you don’t know where indexes are going to be needed. ColumnStore eases this pain. It’s as if you had an index on each column but without the hassle of creating and updating them. The price to pay? Well, inserts are not as fast as with InnoDB, so this is not the best option for operational/transactional databases but rather for analytical ones. Bulk inserts are very fast though.
There’s plenty of online documentation about ColumnStore, so I won’t go through all the details on how it works or how to deploy it on production. Instead, in this article, I’ll show you how to try MariaDB ColumnStore on your computer using Docker.