Skip to main content

Tuning for Cloud Cost Efficiency

ClickHouse Cloud is using cloud object storage for your data. Write requests to object storage are more expensive than read requests. Here are some tips for minimizing the amount of write requests in ClickHouse Cloud.

Ingest data in bulk

By default, each insert sent to ClickHouse causes ClickHouse to immediately create a part on storage containing the data from the insert together with other metadata that needs to be stored. Therefore sending a smaller amount of inserts that each contain more data, compared to sending a larger amount of inserts that each contain less data, will reduce the number of writes required. Generally, we recommend inserting data in fairly large batches of at least 1,000 rows at a time, and ideally between 10,000 to 100,000 rows. To achieve this, consider implementing a buffer mechanism such as using Kafka in your application to enable batch inserts, or use asynchronous inserts (see next section ).


Regardless of the size of your inserts, we recommend to keep the number of insert queries around one insert query per second. The reason for that recommendation is that the created parts are merged to larger parts in the background (in order to optimize your data for read queries), and sending too many insert queries per second can lead to situations where the background merging can't keep up with the amount of new parts. However, you can use a higher rate of insert queries per second when you use asynchronous inserts (see next section ).

Use asynchronous inserts

Use asynchronous inserts as an alternative to both batching data on the client-side and keeping the insert rate at around one insert query per second by enabling the async_insert setting. This causes ClickHouse to handle the batching on the server-side. Doing so will therefore reduce the number of write requests generated.

As mentioned in the previous section, by default, ClickHouse is writing data synchronously. Each insert sent to ClickHouse causes ClickHouse to immediately create a part containing the data from the insert. This is the default behavior when the async_insert setting is set to its default value of 0:

compression block diagram

By setting async_insert to 1, ClickHouse first stores the incoming inserts into an in-memory buffer before flushing them regularly to disk. This asynchronous behavior allows ClickHouse to automatically batch your data up to 100KB (configurable via async_insert_max_data_size ) or wait for 1 second (since the first insert) (configurable via async_insert_busy_timeout_ms ) before writing the data to a new part in the object storage. This helps to reduce the amount of write requests for frequent inserts.


Your data is available for read queries once the data is written to a part on storage. Keep that in mind, when you want to modify the async_insert_busy_timeout_ms (default value: 1 second in the cloud) or the async_insert_max_data_size (default value: 100KB) settings.

With the wait_for_async_insert setting, you can configure if you want an insert statement to return with an acknowledgment either immediately after the data got inserted into the buffer (wait_for_async_insert = 0) or by default, after the data got written to a part after flushing from buffer (wait_for_async_insert = 1).

The following two diagrams illustrate the two settings for async_insert and wait_for_async_insert:

compression block diagram

compression block diagram

Enabling asynchronous inserts

Asynchronous inserts can be enabled for particular inserts, or for all inserts made by a particular user:

  • You can specify the asynchronous insert settings by using the SETTINGS clause of insert queries:

    INSERT INTO YourTable SETTINGS async_insert=1, wait_for_async_insert=0 VALUES (...)
  • You can also specify asynchronous insert settings as connection parameters when using a ClickHouse programming language client.

    As an example, this is how you can do that within a JDBC connection string when you use the ClickHouse Java JDBC driver for connecting to ClickHouse Cloud :

  • Enabling asynchronous inserts at the user level. This example uses the user default , if you create a different user then substitute that username:

    ALTER USER default SETTINGS async_insert = 1
Automatic deduplication is disabled when using asynchronous inserts

Manual batching (see section above )) has the advantage that it supports the built-in automatic deduplication of table data if (exactly) the same insert statement is sent multiple times to ClickHouse Cloud, for example because of an automatic retry in client software because of some temporary network connection issues.

Asynchronous inserts don't support this built-in automatic deduplication of table data.

Use a low cardinality partitioning key

When you send an insert statement (that should contain many rows - see section above ) to a table in ClickHouse Cloud, and that table is not using a partitioning key then all row data from that insert is written into a new part on storage:

compression block diagram

However, when you send an insert statement to a table in ClickHouse Cloud, and that table has a partitioning key, then ClickHouse:

  • checks the partitioning key values of the rows contained in the insert
  • creates one new part on storage per distinct partitioning key value
  • places the rows in the corresponding parts by partitioning key value

compression block diagram

Therefore, to minimize the number of write requests to the ClickHouse Cloud object storage, use a low cardinality partitioning key or avoid using any partitioning key for your table.

Avoid mutations

Mutations refers to ALTER queries that manipulate table data through deletion or updates. Most notably they are queries like ALTER TABLE … DELETE, UPDATE, etc. Performing such queries will produce new mutated versions of the data parts. This means that such statements would trigger a rewrite of whole data parts for all data that was inserted before the mutation, translating to a large amount of write requests.

For updates, you can avoid these large amounts of write requests by using spezialised table engines like ReplacingMergeTree or CollapsingMergeTree instead of the default MergeTree table engine.


Using the OPTIMIZE TABLE ... FINAL query will initiate an unscheduled merge of data parts for the specific table into one data part. During this process, ClickHouse reads all the data parts, uncompresses, merges, compresses them into a single part, and then rewrites back into object store, causing huge CPU and IO consumption. Note that this optimization rewrites the one part even if they are already merged into a single part.

Avoid using Nullable column

Nullable column (e.g. Nullable(UInt8)) creates a separate column of UInt8 type. This additional column has to be processed every time a user works with a nullable column. This leads to additional storage space used and almost always negatively affects performance.