Blog / Product

ClickHouse Newsletter March 2023: Contributing to ClickHouse

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The ClickHouse Team
Mar 23, 2023

How is it approaching spring already? We’ve been as busy as always at ClickHouse, writing new content, hosting events, releasing software and…of course…sharing as much of the internals with you as we can. We’ve reordered this month’s newsletter to get into the query of the month more quickly, but the customary reading list and upcoming events appear at the bottom.

By the way, if you’re reading this on our website, did you know you can receive every monthly newsletter as an email in your inbox? Sign up here.

ClickHouse v23.2

  • 18 new features.
  • 30 performance optimisations.
  • 43 bug fixes.

Multiple SQL language features and extended integrations support. But, as always, there are a few headline items worth checking out. You can read about all the features in detail in the v23.2 blog post and, if you are interested,, don’t forget to sign-up for the live v23.3 release presentation (Q&A welcome).

Multi-stage PREWHERE

The PREWHERE clause has been a feature in ClickHouse since the first OSS release. This optimization is designed to reduce the number of rows a query is required to read, and prior to 22.2 used, a 2-step execution process.

Support for Apache Iceberg

ClickHouse currently supports reading v1 (v2 support is coming soon!) of the Iceberg format via the iceberg table function and Iceberg table engine. This table format is increasingly popular and has rapidly become an industry standard for managing data in data lakes. Iceberg brings SQL table-like functionality to files in a data lake in an open and accessible manner.

Support for Correlation Matrices

In 23.2, we add support for computing correlation matrices. As a reminder, a correlation matrix is a table that contains the correlation coefficient between all possible values in a table. This represents an easy way to summarise a large dataset and identify columns that are either strongly or negatively correlated.

Query of the Month - “Contributing to ClickHouse”

Real-time analytics is an important, and perhaps often misunderstood, concept. Real-time can imply at the point of ingestion, at the point of transformation, at the point of application interaction, or…importantly…at the point of interest.

We found ourselves interested, in the last week, about the number of contributors (over time) to the various ClickHouse repositories. And, also the number of unique users per month. The query itself turned out to be quite interesting.

This is a little challenging as we want the cumulative unique users, not just the unique number per month. To achieve this, we first generate an array of the unique contributors grouped by month (uniq_users) via the aggregate function groupArrayDistinct (see our recent blog post on aggregate functions). A window function in turn groups these monthly arrays and produces an array of the distinct contributors so far for each month. Finally an outer query identifies the unique number of values in each column.

The query itself is fairly direct and shown below (and also available for perusing on ClickHouse Play).

SELECT month, arrayUniq(cul_users) AS cul_users, arrayUniq(uniq_users) AS uniq_users FROM ( SELECT month, groupArrayDistinctArray(uniq_users) OVER (ORDER BY month ASC) AS cul_users, groupArrayDistinct(actor_login) AS uniq_users FROM default.github_events WHERE (repo_name LIKE 'ClickHouse%') AND (event_type = 'PullRequestEvent') GROUP BY toStartOfMonth(created_at) AS month ORDER BY month ASC ) ┌──────month─┬─cul_users─┬─uniq_users─┐ │ 2018-08-01 │ 2 │ 2 │ │ 2018-10-01 │ 4 │ 2 │ │ 2018-11-01 │ 4 │ 2 │ │ 2018-12-01 │ 7 │ 5 │ │ 2019-02-01 │ 8 │ 2 │ │ 2019-03-01 │ 9 │ 1 │ │ 2019-05-01 │ 10 │ 2 │ │ 2019-06-01 │ 10 │ 2 │ │ 2019-07-01 │ 12 │ 3 │ │ 2019-08-01 │ 15 │ 5 │ │ 2019-09-01 │ 38 │ 31 │ │ 2019-10-01 │ 75 │ 60 │ │ 2019-11-01 │ 114 │ 77 │ │ 2019-12-01 │ 145 │ 81 │ … │ 2022-06-01 │ 1118 │ 122 │ │ 2022-07-01 │ 1157 │ 121 │ │ 2022-08-01 │ 1208 │ 120 │ │ 2022-09-01 │ 1239 │ 118 │ │ 2022-10-01 │ 1280 │ 131 │ │ 2022-11-01 │ 1317 │ 133 │ │ 2022-12-01 │ 1344 │ 119 │ │ 2023-01-01 │ 1374 │ 123 │ │ 2023-02-01 │ 1405 │ 142 │ │ 2023-03-01 │ 1441 │ 124 │ └────────────┴───────────┴────────────┘ 53 rows in set. Elapsed: 0.032 sec. Processed 202.50 thousand rows, 8.18 MB (6.25 million rows/s., 252.65 MB/s.)

This was the first effort and not as synatically succinct as possible - although still impressively fast. After consulting and obtaining some enlightenment around state functions, we realised these could be used at query time for passing states from a subquery - not just for storing intermediate states from materialized views. The query below uses the uniqState function to return “a sketch” of unique contributors per month. We then use a simple window function which performs a cumulative merge of these sketches using the uniqMerge function.

WITH states AS ( SELECT month, uniqState(actor_login) AS uniq_users FROM default.github_events WHERE (repo_name LIKE 'ClickHouse%') AND (event_type = 'PullRequestEvent') GROUP BY toStartOfMonth(created_at) AS month ORDER BY month ASC ) SELECT month, uniqMerge(uniq_users) OVER (ORDER BY month ASC) AS cul_users FROM states 53 rows in set. Elapsed: 0.024 sec. Processed 181.30 thousand rows, 8.32 MB (7.47 million rows/s., 343.05 MB/s.)

So array functions, aggregate combinators and state functions all in 2 queries…oh and we saved 8ms…it all adds up.

Reading List

Some of our favorite reads that you may have missed include:

  1. Building ClickHouse Cloud - Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a serverless software as a service (SaaS) offering in under a year? In this blog post, we will describe how we built ClickHouse Cloud – a managed service on top of one of the most popular online analytical processing (OLAP) databases in the world – from the ground up.
  2. Women Who Inspire Us: The Women Pioneers in ClickHouse Community and Company - International Women's Day presents an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the countless professional women who are shaping the world in diverse fields, ranging from executives and entrepreneurs to scientists and activists. This day offers a chance to reflect on the progress that has been made towards gender parity, and the work that still remains to be done. It is also about honoring the inspiring women who are breaking barriers and making a difference in their respective industries.
  3. Fintech Leader Juspay Analyzes Over 50 Million Daily Payment Transactions in Real-Time with ClickHouse - Juspay, an Indian fintech company, uses ClickHouse to power A/B testing and monitoring for its end-to-end payment solutions and real-time merchant dashboards. With over 50 million daily transactions for clients such as Amazon, Google, and Vodafone, ClickHouse was chosen for its ability to handle large volumes of data.
  4. Handling Updates and Deletes in ClickHouse - As the world’s fastest database for real-time analytics, many ClickHouse workloads involve large amounts of data that is written once and not frequently modified (for example, telemetry events generated by IOT devices or customer clicks generated by an e-commerce website). While these are typically immutable, additional data sets critical to providing context during analytics (e.g., lookup tables with information based on device or customer ID) may require modifications.

In our December NYC meetup, we were excited to have three amazing presentations that showcased the diverse applications of ClickHouse. We couldn't resist sharing them with you again!

  1. Managing Traffic Spikes at Disney+: Learn how Disney+ handles surges in traffic on their content distribution network by harnessing the power of ClickHouse, ensuring a smooth streaming experience for millions of users worldwide.
  2. Personalized Real-Time Offers with Rokt: Discover how Rokt leverages ClickHouse to power their dynamic, real-time offers and create tailored experiences for their customers.
  3. Bloomberg's Real-Time Stock Market Analysis: Gain insight into how Bloomberg utilizes ClickHouse to perform real-time analysis of the entire stock market, enabling them to make data-driven decisions and stay ahead in the financial world.

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars for the following events:

ClickHouse v23.03 Release Webinar
When? Thursday, March 30 @ 9 AM PST / 6 PM CET
How do I join? Register here.

ClickHouse Cloud Onboarding
When? Wednesday, April 5 @ 8 AM PDT
How do I join? Register here.

ClickHouse Spring Meetup in Manhattan
When? Wednesday, April 26 @ 5:30 PM EDT
How do I join? Register here.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next month!

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