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    Table SQL Statements

    Tables can be created in either the shared $scratch location or in filesystem sources types. In addition, if tables are created in a source, they can also be altered and dropped.

    The following SQL commands are documented on this page:

    CREATE TABLE AS

    The CREATE TABLE AS command is used to create tables. Tables are created in either the shared $scratch location or in filesystem sources types.

    note:

    Tables are written in Parquet format and can be used with HASH PARTITION BY and LOCALSORT options.

    $scratch Location

    By default, the $scratch location points to the /scratch directory under Dremio’s configured distributed cache location (paths.dist property in dremio.conf). There are no security protocols or permissions associated with this location – it is readable and writable by all users.

    Filesystem Sources

    Dremio CTAS supports all filesystem source types (S3, ADLS, NAS, HDFS, and MapR-FS) using the filesystem permissions for the written table using impersonation.

    Enabling CTAS and DROP TABLE for Sources
    In order to use the CREATE TABLE AS (CTAS) and DROP TABLE (DROP) commands on a source, you must add these privileges to the appropriate users for the source. If enabled, all users/groups who have access to the source can leverage CTAS and DROP TABLE on sources.

    Privileges can be enabled:

    • When creating a new source.
    • By editing an existing source.

    To enable the appropriate privileges for the source:

    1. Select Privileges.
    2. In the Users table, identify the user or group that you want to edit privileges for, and click the cell to enable or disable the Create Table or Drop privilege for the user.
    3. Click Save.

    note:

    CTAS functionality is enabled on a per source basis.

    Impersonation
    For sources that support impersonation (HDFS and MapR File System) and if impersonation is enabled, Dremio executes the CTAS and DROP TABLE operations as the user running the command. This requires that the user have the appropriate permissions (read, execute, and/or write) for the operation. If impersonation is not enabled, the operation is executed as the user running the Dremio service user.

    note:

    For additional security, access can be further controlled by selecting specifically restricted filesystem sub-directories when you initially create your Dremio source.

    Limitations include:

    • Virtual datasets can be exported to their respective sources via standard SQL-based commands ONLY.
    • DROP TABLE functionality on S3 or ADLS source datasets is slow when working with very large tables.

    Syntax

    $scratch location syntax
    CREATE TABLE $scratch.<tableName>
      [HASH PARTITION BY (<columnName>, . .) ]
      [LOCALSORT BY (<columnName>) ]
      AS <QUERY>
    
    Filesystem source syntax
    CREATE TABLE <source>.<tableName>
      [HASH PARTITION BY (<columnName>, . .) ]
      [LOCALSORT BY (<columnName>) ]
      AS <QUERY>
    

    Examples

    Creating a $scratch table
    CREATE TABLE $scratch.my_table
      AS select * from TPCH.lineitem
    
    Creating a source table
    CREATE TABLE s3.upload.lineitem2
      AS select * from TPCH.lineitem
    

    Once a source table has been created, the Dremio UI displays the following:

    • Path where the table was created
    • Number of records in the new table
    • File size of the table

    Querying Tables

    Querying a $scratch table
    select count(*) from $scratch.my_table
    
    Querying a source table
    select count(*) from s3.upload.lineitem2
    

    If you specify an alias for a column or an expression in the SELECT clause, you can refer to that alias elsewhere in the query, including in the SELECT list or in the WHERE clause.

    Example 1
    SELECT c_custkey AS c, lower(c) 
    FROM "customer.parquet"
    
    Example 2
    SELECT c_custkey AS c, lower(c) 
    FROM ( 
      SELECT c_custkey, c_mktsegment AS c  
      FROM "customer.parquet")
    
    Example 3
    SELECT  c_name AS n, n 
    FROM (
      SELECT c_mktsegment AS n, c_name 
      FROM "customer.parquet") 
    AS MY_TABLE
    WHERE n = 'BUILDING'
    
    Example 4
    SELECT c_custkey 
    FROM ( 
      SELECT c_custkey, c_name AS c 
      FROM "customer.parquet" ) 
    WHERE c = 'aa'
    
    Example 5
    SELECT * 
    FROM ( 
      SELECT c_custkey AS c, c_name 
      FROM "customer.parquet" ) 
    JOIN "orders.parquet" ON c = o_orderkey
    
    Example 6
    SELECT c_custkey AS c 
    FROM "customer.parquet" 
    JOIN "orders.parquet" ON c = o_orderkey
    

    DESCRIBE TABLE

    The DESCRIBE TABLE command is used to provide high-level information regarding the overall column properties of an existing dataset.

    Dremio DESCRIBE supports all filesystem source types and relies upon a user’s existing privileges to access and describe a table or view.

    DESCRIBE TABLE syntax
    DESCRIBE TABLE table_name;
    
    Describing a table
    DESCRIBE TABLE taxistats;
    

    Once a table or view has been queried, the Dremio UI displays the following:

    • Column headers indicating the type of information being described
    • Rows describing each table column
    • Data types, properties, policies, and other associated attributes
    COLUMN_NAMEDATA_TYPEIS_NULLABLENUMERIC_PRECISIONNUMERIC_SCALEEXTENDED_PROPERTIESMASKING_POLICY
    pickup_datetimeTIMESTAMPYESnullnull[][]
    passenger_countBIGINTYES640[]count_hide
    trip_distance_miDOUBLEYES53null[][]
    fare_amountDOUBLEYES53null[][]
    tip_amountDOUBLEYES53null[][]
    total_amountDOUBLEYES53null[][]

    The cells containing a ‘[]’ indicate “empty” values.

    ALTER TABLE

    note:

    Version Considerations: For companies using Dremio v16.0+, users must have theALTER privilege granted for a dataset or folder in order to use this command. For earlier versions of access control on Dremio, users must have the Can Edit privilege to use this command.

    Modifies the structure of columns in a table, such as adding, deleting, or modifying columns in an existing table. To create a table, refer to the CREATE TABLE command.

    Syntax
    ALTER TABLE <tableName> ADD COLUMNS (<columnName1> <dataType1>(<size1>), <columnName2> <dataType2>(<size2>), ...);
    ALTER TABLE <tableName> DROP COLUMN <columnName>;
    ALTER TABLE <tableName> ALTER COLUMN <sourceColumnName> <newColumnName> <newDataType>(<size>);
    ALTER TABLE <tableName> MODIFY COLUMN <sourceColumnName> <newColumnName> <newDataType>(<size>);
    ALTER TABLE <tableName> REFRESH METADATA;
    ALTER TABLE <tableName> REFRESH METADATA FOR PARTITIONS ( "<partitionName>" = '<value>' );
    

    note:

    The 〈size〉 parameter is optional.

    The ADD COLUMNS command creates new column(s) with the specified name, data type, and character limit. See the example below for how to employ this.

    Adding a column
    ALTER TABLE customer1 ADD COLUMNS (SSN INT(9))
    

    The DROP COLUMN command deletes the specified column, along with all data stored in it. As this cannot be undone, ensure that you’ve secured a backup or snapshot of your databases. See the example below for how to employ this.

    Dropping a column
    ALTER TABLE customer1 DROP COLUMN SSN
    

    The ALTER COLUMN and MODIFY COLUMN commands are used to change the data type for specific column(s). This effectively alters how queries read the data stored in the column(s), so the current data type should be similar, if not identical, to the way the new data type is read.

    Depending on your source, you will need to use either ALTER COLUMN or MODIFY COLUMN specifically. For example,SQL Server uses ALTER COLUMN whereas Oracle uses MODIFY COLUMN. For additional information, see the ALTER TABLE - ALTER/MODIFY COLUMN resource.

    See the example below for how to employ this.

    Altering a column
    ALTER TABLE customer1 ALTER COLUMN SSN CHAR(11)
    

    warning:

    About ALTER/MODIFY Data Types: We recommend against changing data types for a column if it already has records on it. Unless you’ve gone through the column to ensure no issues are found with the data format, this may create issues regarding how the data is read. The likely end result is myriad NULL values. Where possible, it is safer to add a new column with the desired data type and then drop the column whose data you wish to read differently.

    Metadata Refreshes

    note:

    Version Considerations: This SQL command may only be used with Dremio 18.0+.

    The ALTER TABLE command may be used to manually refresh the metadata associated with a table. This should be coupled with Improved Metadata Refreshes to fully benefit from any improved functionality.

    You may perform metadata refreshes one of two ways: full or partial.

    The example below shows how to run a full metadata refresh.

    Refreshing metadata
    ALTER TABLE customer1 REFRESH METADATA
    

    In comparison, the example below demonstrates a metadata refresh for a single partition.

    Refreshing metadata for a single partition
    ALTER TABLE customer1 REFRESH METADATA FOR PARTITIONS ( "dir0" = 'a')
    

    This example identifies the level of the partition to use ("dir0") and the specific partition ('a') to use for the refresh.

    Parameters

    The ALTER TABLE command consists of the following parameters for which values must be included:

    tableName

    The name of the table being altered must be included in the command. This helps to restrict the scope of the change rather than accidentally apply a DROP COLUMNS on every dataset in Dremio. This must match the name of your desired table.

    columnName

    Dremio cannot perform any alteration to column data without the column itself specified. This helps to refine and restrict the scope of the changes.

    dataType(size)

    This specifies the type of data to be stored for records if a new column is being added or an existing column being modified.

    The (size) component of this parameter defines the limitation on the total number of allowed characters that may be stored on each row for this column.

    For a list of data types and their maximum allowed sizes, see SQL Data Types.

    DROP TABLE

    Tables can be dropped only if they have been created on a filesystem source and if you have permission.

    Syntax
    DROP TABLE <source>.<tableName>
    
    Example
    DROP TABLE s3.upload.lineitem2