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Last Updated:Apr 26, 2024

A partitioned table is a table that has partitions. Data in the table is divided by one column or more columns. This way, the data in the table is scattered and stored in different physical locations. Appropriate design and use of partitions for a table helps improve query performance, simplify data management, and supports flexible data access and process.


Partitioning is to classify data of the same category into the same partition. Data in a partitioned table is classified based on partition key columns. A partitioned table can contain one or more partition key columns.

In MaxCompute, each value in a partition key column is specified as a partition. You can specify multi-level partitions with multiple partition key columns. Multi-level partitions are similar to multi-level directories in structure.

Partitioned tables improve query efficiency. You can specify the name of the partition that you want to query by using the WHERE clause. This way, MaxCompute scans only the specified partition, which improves processing efficiency and reduces cost. If you specify the name of the partition that you want to access when you query the table, only data of the specified partition is read.分区表

The execution efficiency of specific SQL statements on partitions is low. This may cause higher costs. For example, if you use INSERT INTO or INSERT OVERWRITE to insert data into a dynamic partition, higher costs may be caused. For more information, see Insert or overwrite data into dynamic partitions (DYNAMIC PARTITION).

The syntaxes of specific SQL statements that are used to process partitioned and non-partitioned tables are different in MaxCompute. For more information, see Table operations and Insert or update data into a table or a static partition (INSERT INTO and INSERT OVERWRITE).


  • A table can contain up to six levels of partitions.

  • A table can contain up to 60,000 partitions.

  • Up to 10,000 partitions can be queried at a time.

  • The values in a partition key column of the STRING type cannot contain Chinese characters.

Usage notes

If a large number of partitions in a table contain a few amount of data, data computing and query performance deteriorates. We recommend that each partition contains at least 10,000 rows of data.

Data types of partition key columns

MaxCompute V2.0 supports partition key columns of the TINYINT, SMALLINT, INT, BIGINT, VARCHAR, and STRING types.


In most cases, the values of partition key columns of a partitioned table in metadata are stored as strings. The values of partition key columns that are not of the STRING type are automatically converted into strings. To avoid exceptions caused by data type conversion, we recommend that you specify the data type of partition key columns as STRING when you design partition key columns.

MaxCompute V1.0 supports only partition key columns of the STRING type. You can specify the data type of a partition key column as BIGINT. However, only the partition key column is of the BIGINT type. All the data in the partition key column is processed as a string in operations, such as the calculation and comparison of data in partition key columns. In the following example, the returned result is empty.

--- Create a table named parttest. 
create table parttest (a bigint) partitioned by (pt bigint);
--- Insert data into the table. 
insert into parttest partition(pt)(a,pt) values (1, 1);
insert into parttest partition(pt)(a,pt) values (1, 10);
--- Query the rows where the value of pt is greater than or equal to 2. 
select * from parttest where pt >= '2';


  • Create a partition.

    -- Create a partitioned table that contains two levels of partitions. The partition is based on the date and the subpartition is based on the region.
    CREATE TABLE src (shop_name string, customer_id bigint) PARTITIONED BY (pt string,region string);
  • Use the values in partition key columns as filter conditions to query a table.

    -- The following example shows a correct usage. When MaxCompute generates a query plan, only the data whose region is 'hangzhou' in the '20170601' partition is used as input data. 
    select * from src where pt='20170601'and region='hangzhou'; 
    -- The following example shows an incorrect usage. In this example, the effectiveness of the partition filtering cannot be ensured. Data in the pt partition key column is considered as a string. When a value of the STRING type is compared with a value of the BIGINT type, 20170601 in this example, MaxCompute converts both data types to DOUBLE, which causes a loss in precision. 
    select * from src where pt = 20170601; 


For more information about how to perform operations on partitions in a partitioned MaxCompute table, such as adding a partition or changing a value in a partition key column, see Partition and column operations.