A table is the data storage unit in MaxCompute. A table is a two-dimensional data structure composed of rows and columns. Each row represents a record, and each column represents a field with the same data type. One record can contain one or more columns. The column name and data type comprise the schema of a table.

The operating objects (input, output) of various computing tasks in MaxCompute are tables. You can create a table, delete a table, and import data into a table.
Note The data management module from DataWorks allows you to create, organize, and modify data lifecycles for MaxCompute tables and grant management permissions. For more information, see data management overview.
MaxCompute v2.0 supports two types of tables: internal tables and external tables.The MaxCompute2.0 version begins to support the external table.
  • For internal tables, all data is stored in MaxCompute tables, and the columns in the table can be any of the data types supported by MaxComputeData types.
  • For external tables, data is not stored in MaxCompute. Instead, table data can be stored in OSS or OTS.  MaxCompute only records meta information of the table. You can use MaxCompute’s external table to process unstructured data on OSS or Table Store, such as video, audio, genetics, meteorological, and geographic information.