MaxCompute introduces a concept hierarchy that can inspire you to put forward ideas for subsequent project planning and security management. This topic introduces the hierarchy and brief definitions of core concepts in MaxCompute.

The following figure shows the hierarchy of core concepts in MaxCompute.

Core concept Description

A project is a basic organizational unit of MaxCompute. Similar to a database or schema in a traditional database system, a project is used to isolate users and control access requests. For more information about projects, see Project.


In MaxCompute, tables are used to store data. For more information about tables, see Table.


A partition is a division of a table based on the partition key, which consists of one or more partition key columns. Partitions are used to divide the data stored in a table. If a table is not partitioned, data in the table is stored in the directory that stores the table. If a table is partitioned, each partition corresponds to a subdirectory in the directory that stores the table. In this case, data is stored in separate subdirectories. For more information about partitions, see Partition.


A view is a virtual table that is created based on existing tables. Its schema and content are derived from these tables. A view corresponds to one or more tables. You can use views if you want to retain query results without the need to create additional tables. For more information about views, see View-related operations.


User is a concept in the MaxCompute security feature. You can access MaxCompute by using an Alibaba Cloud account, a RAM user, or a user who is assigned a RAM role. All users, except the project owner, must be added to a MaxCompute project and granted the related permissions to manage data, jobs, resources, and functions in MaxCompute. For more information about how to manage users, see Manage users.


Role is a concept in the MaxCompute security feature. A role can be considered a set of users who have the same permissions. One user can assume multiple roles, and multiple users can assume the same role. After you grant permissions to a role, all users who are assigned this role are granted the same permissions. For more information about how to manage roles, see Role management.


Resource is a special concept of MaxCompute. You must have the required resources to implement UDFs and MapReduce operations in MaxCompute. For more information about resources, see Resource.


Functions provided by MaxCompute include built-in functions and user-defined functions (UDFs). For more information about functions, see Function.


Instances are used to run jobs. For more information, see Task instance.


Quota serves as a computing resource pool of MaxCompute. Quotas provide computing resources that are required for running jobs. For more information about quotas, see Quota.

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