Best Columnar Databases 2024: for efficient data management

Column-based databases organize and store data in columns and not in rows.

The search for the best storage solutions has led to the rise of columnar databases, which mark the start of a new era of speed and efficiency in data management. Looking for the best Columnar Databases brings up a long list of options, but only a few truly stand out as the best. By putting performance, scalability, and compression first, these databases change how businesses store and retrieve huge amounts of data.

The key lies in the clever design of columnar databases, which store data vertically and have many advantages over traditional row-based systems. This architecture speeds up queries because it only scans the important columns. This is a big plus. And because these databases use compression, they need less space to store data, which is the best use of resources. Below, we have mentioned the best Columnar Databases.

What is Columnar Databases?

Columnar databases store and organise data in columns instead of rows, which makes analytics and query performance better. Columnar databases are better than traditional row-oriented databases at reading and combining specific columns of data. This makes them great for data warehouses and analytical processing. This design makes compression better and queries go faster, especially when working with big datasets. Apache Cassandra, Amazon Redshift, and Google Bigtable are all well-known columnar databases that are designed to make it easy to get and analyse data.

Best Columnar Databases Comparison Table

Columnar databases store data in columns, speeding query performance and analytics. These databases improve compression, reduce I/O operations, and process queries by reading only relevant columns, making them ideal for data warehouses and analytical workloads.

FeatureApache DruidSnowflakeClickHouseMariaDBApache Kudu
TypeOLAPCloud Data WarehouseColumnar DatabaseRelational DatabaseColumnar Store
Open SourceYesNoYesYesYes
Data ModelTime SeriesRelationalRelationalRelationalDistributed Tables
ScalabilityHorizontalVertical & HorizontalHorizontalVertical & HorizontalHorizontal
Storage FormatColumnarColumnarColumnarRow-basedColumnar
Use CasesReal-time AnalyticsData WarehousingAnalytics, OLAPGeneral PurposeTime Series, Analytics

Apache Druid

Best Columnar Databases


  • Real-time analytics database.
  • Enables interactive queries on large datasets.
  • Designed for high-performance, scalable data exploration.
  • Supports event-driven, time-series data analysis.

Apache Druid is a fast real-time analytics database that is great at answering queries on both streaming and batch data in less than a second. It can quickly run OLAP queries on datasets with billions to trillions of rows and a lot of dimensions and cardiacity, without the need for predefined or cached queries. Because of this, it can be used for real-time analytics applications and needs less infrastructure than other databases. Currently, this is one of the best Columnar Databases.

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  • Real-time analytics with low-latency queries.
  • Scalable and distributed architecture.
  • Support for complex event processing.


  • Learning curve for configuration and optimization.
  • Requires careful planning for large-scale deployments.


Best Columnar Databases


  • Cloud-based data warehousing platform.
  • Offers a scalable and flexible data storage solution.
  • Separates storage and compute for efficient resource utilization.
  • Supports diverse data workloads and concurrent users.

Snowflake offers the Data Cloud, a worldwide network where tens of thousands of businesses can move their data around with almost unlimited speed, concurrency, and scale. In the Data Cloud, businesses combine their separate data sets, make it easy to find and share controlled data safely, and run a wide range of analytical tasks. Overall, this is one of the best Columnar Databases.


  • Fully-managed cloud data warehouse.
  • On-demand scaling for compute and storage.
  • Separation of compute and storage for cost efficiency.


  • SaaS-only model may not suit all organizations.
  • Costs can scale with usage, especially for large datasets.


Best Columnar Databases


  • Columnar database management system.
  • Optimized for high-performance analytics on large datasets.
  • Provides real-time data processing capabilities.
  • Efficient for analytical queries and reporting.

The open source OLAP database management system ClickHouse is quick. It is organised by columns and lets you use SQL queries to make analytical reports in real time. ClickHouse works better than other column-oriented database management systems on the market right now. It works with between a hundred million and a billion rows of data and tens of gigabytes of data per server every second. This is the best Columnar Databases that you can consider.


  • High-performance columnar database.
  • Efficient for analytical queries.
  • Open-source with a vibrant community.


  • May require tuning for specific use cases.
  • Limited support for transactional workloads.


Best Columnar Databases


  • Open-source relational database management system (RDBMS).
  • A MySQL fork with additional features and enhancements.
  • Supports ACID compliance and high availability.
  • Suitable for various applications, from web development to enterprise solutions.

Companies can focus on what’s important quickly making new, customer-facing apps—rather than the costs, restrictions, and complexity of proprietary databases when they use MariaDB. Workloads that used to need a lot of different specialized databases can now be handled by MariaDB’s pluggable, purpose-built storage engines. Overall, it is one of the best Columnar Databases that you can consider.


  • MySQL-compatible relational database.
  • Open-source with a strong community.
  • ACID-compliant and supports transactions.


  • Some advanced features may lag behind other databases.
  • Limited enterprise support compared to commercial options.

Apache Kudu

Best Columnar Databases


  • Distributed storage engine for fast analytics on fast data.
  • Integrates with Apache Impala and Apache Spark for analytics.
  • Supports high-throughput, low-latency queries on changing data.
  • Designed for use cases that require both fast analytics and real-time updates.

Apache Kudu is an open-source distributed data storage engine made for quickly analyzing data that is always changing. It sets up its data by column instead of row so that it can be encoded and compressed more efficiently. Kudu makes reading and storing files fast and efficient by using methods such as run-length encoding, differential encoding, and vectorized bit-packing. Still, it is one of the best Columnar Databases that you can consider.


  • Integrated with the Apache Hadoop ecosystem.
  • Supports fast analytics on fast data.
  • Columnar storage with real-time updates.


  • May require careful schema design for optimal performance.
  • Learning curve for users not familiar with Hadoop ecosystem.

Benefits of Using Columnar Databases

Columnar databases are better than row-based databases in many ways, especially when you need to do a lot of analytical queries and data aggregations. Some of the best reasons to use columnar databases are listed below:

Better performance for queries: Columnar databases store data in columns instead of rows. This makes it faster to run queries for things like data analytics, aggregations, and analytical queries. This is because queries usually select only a few columns instead of whole rows, and reading only the data that is needed can make query execution go much faster.

Smalling down data: Most of the time, columnar databases are better at compressing data than row-based databases. Since most of the data in a column is of the same type, compression algorithms can work better, which can save space and make the system run more efficiently overall.

Efficiency of Aggregation: In analytical queries, aggregations like SUM, AVG, and COUNT are used a lot. Columnar databases are great at these tasks because they only need to read the relevant column data. This cuts down on I/O operations and speeds up the process of aggregation.

Storage by column: Putting data away column-by-column makes it easier to find data when reading specific columns. This makes better use of the cache and cuts down on the amount of data that needs to be read from disc, which speeds up query performance.

Big Data and Business Intelligence (BI): For analytics and business intelligence (BI) tasks, columnar databases work well. Because they respond quickly to queries, these databases are great for getting useful information from big sets of data. This makes them useful for data warehouses and systems that help people make decisions.

Choosing the Best Columnar Database for Your Needs

There are many things to think about when choosing the best columnar database for your needs, such as your specific use case, performance needs, scalability, and features. When picking a columnar database, here are some important things to think about:

How it works: Check how well the database works, especially how fast it handles queries and data analysis. It is known that columnar databases are good at handling analytical workloads, so you should test their performance based on how you use them and how you ask questions.

How well compression and storage work: Compression is often used by columnar databases to make it faster to store and get data. Check out the database’s compression algorithms and how they change the amount of space it needs. Cost savings and better performance can come from compression that works well.

Ability to grow: Think about how scalable the database is, both in terms of its ability to handle more data and more users at the same time. A good columnar database should be able to grow horizontally to handle bigger datasets and more work.

Getting along and compatibility: Make sure that the columnar database works with the systems, programmes, and data sources that you already have. Make sure that popular programming languages, analytics tools, and data processing frameworks are supported or that you can integrate them.

How easy it is to run: Check how easy it is to manage and run the business. Look for things like monitoring tools, automated backups, and administrative interfaces that are easy to use. Your operations team can have less work to do if management is made easier.


Is SQL a columnar database?

SQL Server is a flexible database that can work with both relational and columnar data types.

Is Oracle a columnar database?

Oracle Database has a complex structure that lets it handle data in both columnar and row formats at the same time.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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