Partial indexes

Partial indexes allow you to improve query performance by reducing the index size. A smaller index is faster to scan, easier to maintain, and requires less storage.

Partial indexing works by specifying the rows defined by a conditional expression (called the predicate of the partial index), typically in the WHERE clause of the table.

Syntax

CREATE INDEX index_name ON table_name(column_list) WHERE condition;

The WHERE clause specifies which rows need to be added to the index.

Example

Setup

Any YugabyteDB cluster, including local single-node cluster or Sandbox cluster in YugabyteDB Managed. See Set up YugabyteDB universe.

This example uses the customers table from the Northwind sample database.

View the contents of the customers table:

SELECT * FROM customers LIMIT 3;
 customer_id |       company_name        |  contact_name  |    contact_title    |           address           |   city    | region | postal_code | country |     phone      |      fax
-------------+---------------------------+----------------+---------------------+-----------------------------+-----------+--------+-------------+---------+----------------+----------------
 FAMIA       | Familia Arquibaldo        | Aria Cruz      | Marketing Assistant | Rua Orós, 92                | Sao Paulo | SP     | 05442-030   | Brazil  | (11) 555-9857  |
 VINET       | Vins et alcools Chevalier | Paul Henriot   | Accounting Manager  | 59 rue de l'Abbaye          | Reims     |        | 51100       | France  | 26.47.15.10    | 26.47.15.11
 GOURL       | Gourmet Lanchonetes       | André Fonseca  | Sales Associate     | Av. Brasil, 442             | Campinas  | SP     | 04876-786   | Brazil  | (11) 555-9482  |
(3 rows)

Suppose you want to query the subset of customers who are Sales Managers in the USA. The query plan using the EXPLAIN statement would look like the following:

northwind=# EXPLAIN SELECT * FROM customers where (country = 'USA' and contact_title = 'Sales Manager');
                                    QUERY PLAN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Seq Scan on customers  (cost=0.00..105.00 rows=1000 width=738)
  Filter: (((country)::text = 'USA'::text) AND ((contact_title)::text = 'Sales Manager'::text))
(2 rows)

Without creating a partial index, querying the customers table with the WHERE clause scans all the rows sequentially. Creating a partial index limits the number of rows to be scanned for the same query.

Create a partial index on the columns country and city from the customers table as follows:

northwind=# CREATE INDEX index_country ON customers(country) WHERE(contact_title = 'Sales Manager');

Verify with the EXPLAIN statement that the number of rows is significantly less compared to the original query plan.

northwind=# EXPLAIN SELECT * FROM customers where (country = 'USA' and contact_title = 'Sales Manager');
                                  QUERY PLAN
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Index Scan using index_country on customers  (cost=0.00..5.00 rows=10 width=738)
  Index Cond: ((country)::text = 'USA'::text)
(2 rows)

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