Using indexes | Tarantool

Using indexes

It is mandatory to create an index for a space before trying to insert tuples into the space, or select tuples from the space.

The simple index-creation operation is:'index-name')

This creates a unique TREE index on the first field of all tuples (often called “Field#1”), which is assumed to be numeric.

A recommended design pattern for a data model is to base primary keys on the first fields of a tuple. This speeds up tuple comparison due to the specifics of data storage and the way comparisons are arranged in Tarantool.

The simple SELECT request is:

This looks for a single tuple via the first index. Since the first index is always unique, the maximum number of returned tuples will be 1. You can call select() without arguments, and it will return all tuples. Be careful! Using select() for huge spaces hangs your instance.

An index definition may also include identifiers of tuple fields and their expected types. See allowed indexed field types in section Details about indexed field types:, {type = 'tree', parts = {{field = 1, type = 'unsigned'}}}

Space definitions and index definitions are stored permanently in Tarantool’s system spaces _space and _index.


See full information about creating indexes, such as how to create a multikey index, an index using the path option, or how to create a functional index in our reference for space_object:create_index().

Index operations are automatic: if a data manipulation request changes a tuple, then it also changes the index keys defined for the tuple.

  1. Let’s create a sample space named tester and put it in a variable my_space:

    tarantool> my_space ='tester')
  2. Format the created space by specifying field names and types:

    tarantool> my_space:format({
             > {name = 'id', type = 'unsigned'},
             > {name = 'band_name', type = 'string'},
             > {name = 'year', type = 'unsigned'},
             > {name = 'rate', type = 'unsigned', is_nullable = true}})
  3. Create the primary index (named primary):

    tarantool> my_space:create_index('primary', {
             > type = 'tree',
             > parts = {'id'}
             > })

    This is a primary index based on the id field of each tuple.

  4. Insert some tuples into the space:

    tarantool> my_space:insert{1, 'Roxette', 1986, 1}
    tarantool> my_space:insert{2, 'Scorpions', 2015, 4}
    tarantool> my_space:insert{3, 'Ace of Base', 1993}
    tarantool> my_space:insert{4, 'Roxette', 2016, 3}
  5. Create a secondary index:

    tarantool>'secondary', {parts = {{field=3, type='unsigned'}}})
    - unique: true
      - type: unsigned
        is_nullable: false
        fieldno: 3
      id: 2
      space_id: 512
      type: TREE
      name: secondary
  6. Create a multi-part index with three parts:

    tarantool>'thrine', {parts = {
             > {field = 2, type = 'string'},
             > {field = 3, type = 'unsigned'},
             > {field = 4, type = 'unsigned'}
             > }})
    - unique: true
      - type: string
        is_nullable: false
        fieldno: 2
      - type: unsigned
        is_nullable: false
        fieldno: 3
      - type: unsigned
        is_nullable: true
        fieldno: 4
      id: 6
      space_id: 513
      type: TREE
      name: thrine

There are the following SELECT variations:

  • The search can use comparisons other than equality:

    tarantool>, {iterator = 'GT'})
    - - [2, 'Scorpions', 2015, 4]
      - [3, 'Ace of Base', 1993]
      - [4, 'Roxette', 2016, 3]

    The comparison operators are:

    • LT for “less than”
    • LE for “less than or equal”
    • GT for “greater”
    • GE for “greater than or equal” .
    • EQ for “equal”,
    • REQ for “reversed equal”

    Value comparisons make sense if and only if the index type is TREE. The iterator types for other types of indexes are slightly different and work differently. See details in section Iterator types.

    Note that we don’t use the name of the index, which means we use primary index here.

    This type of search may return more than one tuple. The tuples will be sorted in descending order by key if the comparison operator is LT or LE or REQ. Otherwise they will be sorted in ascending order.

  • The search can use a secondary index.

    For a primary-key search, it is optional to specify an index name as was demonstrated above. For a secondary-key search, it is mandatory.

    - - [3, 'Ace of Base', 1993]
  • The search can be for all fields, using a table as the value:

    tarantool>{'Roxette', 2016, 3})
    - - [4, 'Roxette', 2016, 3]

    or the search can be for one field, using a table or a scalar:

    - - [1, 'Roxette', 1986, 5]
      - [4, 'Roxette', 2016, 3]


You can also add, drop, or alter the definitions at runtime, with some restrictions. Read more about index operations in reference for box.index submodule.

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