Choosing the right database is a critical choice when building any software application. All databases have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, so deciding which database has the most benefits and the most minor downsides for your specific use case and data model is an important decision. Below you will find an overview of the key concepts, architecture, features, use cases, and pricing models of DuckDB and StarRocks so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how DuckDB and StarRocks perform for workloads involving time series data, not for all possible use cases. Time series data typically presents a unique challenge in terms of database performance. This is due to the high volume of data being written and the query patterns to access that data. This article doesn’t intend to make the case for which database is better; it simply provides an overview of each database so you can make an informed decision.
DuckDB vs StarRocks Breakdown
DuckDB is intended for use as an embedded database and is primariliy focused on single node performance.
StarRocks can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment, depending on your infrastructure preferences and requirements.
Embedded analytics, Data Science, Data processing, ETL pipelines
Business intelligence, analytics, real-time data processing, large-scale data storage
Embedded and single-node focused, with limited support for parallelism
Horizontally scalable, with support for distributed storage and query processing
DuckDB is an in-process SQL OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) database management system. It is designed to be simple, fast, and feature-rich. DuckDB can be used for processing and analyzing tabular datasets, such as CSV or Parquet files. It provides a rich SQL dialect with support for transactions, persistence, extensive SQL queries, and direct querying of Parquet and CSV files. DuckDB is built with a vectorized engine that is optimized for analytics and supports parallel query processing. It is designed to be easy to install and use, with no external dependencies and support for multiple programming languages.
StarRocks is an open source high-performance analytical data warehouse that enables real-time, multi-dimensional, and highly concurrent data analysis. It features an MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) architecture and is equipped with a fully vectorized execution engine and a columnar storage engine that supports real-time updates.
DuckDB for Time Series Data
DuckDB can be used effectively with time series data. It supports processing and analyzing tabular datasets, which can include time series data stored in CSV or Parquet files. With its optimized analytics engine and support for complex SQL queries, DuckDB can perform aggregations, joins, and other time series analysis operations efficiently. However, it’s important to note that DuckDB is not specifically designed for time series data management and may not have specialized features tailored for time series analysis like some dedicated time series databases.
StarRocks for Time Series Data
StarRocks is primarily focused on data warehousing workloads but can be used for time series data. StarRocks can be used for real time analytics and historical data analysis.
DuckDB Key Concepts
- In-process: DuckDB operates in-process, meaning it runs within the same process as the application using it, without the need for a separate server.
- OLAP: DuckDB is an OLAP database, which means it is optimized for analytical query processing.
- Vectorized engine: DuckDB utilizes a vectorized engine that operates on batches of data, improving query performance.
- Transactions: DuckDB supports transactional operations, ensuring the atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability (ACID) properties of data operations.
- SQL dialect: DuckDB provides a rich SQL dialect with advanced features such as arbitrary and nested correlated subqueries, window functions, collations, and support for complex types like arrays and structs
StarRocks Key Concepts
- MPP Architecture: StarRocks utilizes an MPP architecture, which enables parallel processing and distributed execution of queries, allowing for high-performance and scalability.
- Vectorized Execution Engine: StarRocks employs a fully vectorized execution engine that leverages SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) instructions to process data in batches, resulting in optimized query performance.
- Columnar Storage Engine: The columnar storage engine in StarRocks organizes data by column, which improves query performance by only accessing the necessary columns during query execution.
- Cost-Based Optimizer (CBO): StarRocks includes a fully-customized cost-based optimizer that evaluates different query execution plans and selects the most efficient plan based on estimated costs.
- Materialized View: StarRocks supports intelligent materialized views, which are precomputed summaries of data that accelerate query performance by providing faster access to aggregated data.
DuckDB follows an in-process architecture, running within the same process as the application. It is a relational table-oriented database management system that supports SQL queries for producing analytical results. DuckDB is built using C++11 and is designed to have no external dependencies. It can be compiled as a single file, making it easy to install and integrate into applications.
StarRock’s architecture includes a fully vectorized execution engine and a columnar storage engine for efficient data processing and storage. It also incorporates features like a cost-based optimizer and materialized views for optimized query performance. StarRocks supports real-time and batch data ingestion from a variety of sources and enables direct analysis of data stored in data lakes without data migration
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Transactions and Persistence
DuckDB supports transactional operations, ensuring data integrity and durability. It allows for persistent storage of data between sessions.
Extensive SQL Support
DuckDB provides a rich SQL dialect with support for advanced query features, including correlated subqueries, window functions, and complex data types.
Direct Parquet & CSV Querying
DuckDB allows direct querying of Parquet and CSV files, enabling efficient analysis of data stored in these formats.
Fast Analytical Queries
DuckDB is designed to run analytical queries efficiently, thanks to its vectorized engine and optimization for analytics workloads.
Parallel Query Processing
DuckDB can process queries in parallel, taking advantage of multi-core processors to improve query performance.
StarRocks supports multi-dimensional analysis, enabling users to explore data from different dimensions and perspectives.
StarRocks is designed to handle high levels of concurrency, allowing multiple users to execute queries simultaneously.
StarRocks supports materialized views, which provide precomputed summaries of data for faster query performance.
DuckDB Use Cases
Processing and Storing Tabular Datasets
DuckDB is well-suited for scenarios where you need to process and store tabular datasets, such as data imported from CSV or Parquet files. It provides efficient storage and retrieval mechanisms for working with structured data.
Interactive Data Analysis
DuckDB is ideal for interactive data analysis tasks, particularly when dealing with large tables. It enables you to perform complex operations like joining and aggregating multiple large tables efficiently, allowing for rapid exploration and extraction of insights from your data.
Large Result Set Transfer to Client
When you need to transfer large result sets from the database to the client application, DuckDB can be a suitable choice. Its optimized query processing and efficient data transfer mechanisms enable fast and seamless retrieval of large amounts of data.
StarRocks Use Cases
StarRocks is well-suited for real-time analytics scenarios, where users need to analyze data as it arrives, enabling them to make timely and data-driven decisions.
With its high-performance and highly concurrent data analysis capabilities, StarRocks is ideal for ad-hoc querying, allowing users to explore and analyze data interactively.
Data Lake Analytics
StarRocks supports analyzing data directly from data lakes without the need for data migration. This makes it a valuable tool for organizations leveraging data lakes for storage and analysis.
DuckDB Pricing Model
DuckDB is a free and open-source database management system released under the permissive MIT License. It can be freely used, modified, and distributed without any licensing costs.
StarRocks Pricing Model
StarRocks can be deployed on your own hardware using the open source project. There are also a number of commercial vendors offering managed services to run StarRocks in the cloud.
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