Migrations | Tarantool
Concepts Data model Migrations


Migration refers to any change in a data schema: adding/removing a field, creating/dropping an index, changing a field format, etc.

In Tarantool, there are two types of schema migration that do not require data migration:

  • adding a field to the end of a space
  • creating an index


Check the Upgrading space schema section. With the help of space:upgrade(), you can enable compression and migrate, including already created tuples.

You can add a field as follows:

local users = box.space.users
local fmt = users:format()

table.insert(fmt, { name = 'age', type = 'number', is_nullable = true })

Note that the field must have the is_nullable parameter. Otherwise, an error will occur.

After creating a new field, you probably want to fill it with data. The tarantool/moonwalker module is useful for this task. The README file describes how to work with this module.

Index creation is described in the space_object:create_index() method.

Other types of migrations are also allowed, but it would be more difficult to maintain data consistency.

Migrations are possible in two cases:

  • When Tarantool starts, and no client uses the database yet
  • During request processing, when active clients are already using the database

For the first case, it is enough to write and test the migration code. The most difficult task is to migrate data when there are active clients. You should keep it in mind when you initially design the data schema.

We identify the following problems if there are active clients:

  • Associated data can change atomically.
  • The system should be able to transfer data using both the new schema and the old one.
  • When data is being transferred to a new space, data access should consider that the data might be in one space or another.
  • Write requests must not interfere with the migration. A common approach is to write according to the new data schema.

These issues may or may not be relevant depending on your application and its availability requirements.

Tarantool has a transaction mechanism. It is useful when writing a migration, because it allows you to work with the data atomically. But before using the transaction mechanism, you should explore its limitations.

For details, see the section about transactions.

The migration code is executed on a running Tarantool instance. Important: no method guarantees you transactional application of migrations on the whole cluster.

Method 1: include migrations in the application code

This is quite simple: when you reload the code, the data is migrated at the right moment, and the database schema is updated. However, this method may not work for everyone. You may not be able to restart Tarantool or update the code using the hot-reload mechanism.

Method 2: tarantool/migrations (only for a Tarantool Cartridge cluster)

This method is described in the README file of the tarantool/migrations module.


There are also two other methods that we do not recommend, but you may find them useful for one reason or another.

Method 3: the tt utility

Connect to the necessary instance using tt connect.

$ tt connect admin:password@localhost:3301
  • If your migration is written in a Lua file, you can execute it using dofile(). Call this function and specify the path to the migration file as the first argument. It looks like this:

    tarantool> dofile('0001-delete-space.lua')
  • (or) Copy the migration script code, paste it into the console, and run it.

You can also connect to the instance and execute the migration script in a single call:

$ tt connect admin:password@localhost:3301 -f 0001-delete-space.lua

Method 4: applying migration with Ansible

If you use the Ansible role to deploy a Tarantool cluster, you can use eval. You can find more information about it in the Ansible role documentation.

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