Time Window CompactionStrategy
TimeWindowCompactionStrategy (TWCS) is designed specifically for
workloads where it’s beneficial to have data on disk grouped by the
timestamp of the data, a common goal when the workload is time-series in
nature or when all data is written with a TTL. In an expiring/TTL
workload, the contents of an entire SSTable likely expire at
approximately the same time, allowing them to be dropped completely, and
space reclaimed much more reliably than when using
LeveledCompactionStrategy. The basic
concept is that
TimeWindowCompactionStrategy will create one sstable per
file for a given window, where a window is simply calculated as the
combination of two primary options:
A Java TimeUnit (MINUTES, HOURS, or DAYS).
The number of units that make up a window.
Expired sstables will be dropped without checking its data is shadowing other sstables. This is a potentially risky option that can lead to data loss or deleted data re-appearing, going beyond what unchecked_tombstone_compaction does for single sstable compaction. Due to the risk the jvm must also be started with
Taken together, the operator can specify windows of virtually any size,
TimeWindowCompactionStrategy will work to create a
single sstable for writes within that window. For efficiency during
writing, the newest window will be compacted using
Ideally, operators should select a
compaction_window_size pair that produces approximately 20-30 windows
- if writing with a 90 day TTL, for example, a 3 Day window would be a
The primary motivation for TWCS is to separate data on disk by timestamp and to allow fully expired SSTables to drop more efficiently. One potential way this optimal behavior can be subverted is if data is written to SSTables out of order, with new data and old data in the same SSTable. Out of order data can appear in two ways:
If the user mixes old data and new data in the traditional write path, the data will be comingled in the memtables and flushed into the same SSTable, where it will remain comingled.
If the user’s read requests for old data cause read repairs that pull old data into the current memtable, that data will be comingled and flushed into the same SSTable.
While TWCS tries to minimize the impact of comingled data, users should
attempt to avoid this behavior. Specifically, users should avoid queries
that explicitly set the timestamp via CQL
Additionally, users should run frequent repairs (which streams data in
such a way that it does not become comingled).
Operators wishing to enable
TimeWindowCompactionStrategy on existing
data should consider running a major compaction first, placing all
existing data into a single (old) window. Subsequent newer writes will
then create typical SSTables as expected.
Operators wishing to change
compaction_window_size can do so, but may trigger additional
compactions as adjacent windows are joined together. If the window size
is decrease d (for example, from 24 hours to 12 hours), then the
existing SSTables will not be modified - TWCS can not split existing
SSTables into multiple windows.