CrateDB aims to provide an SQL implementation that is familiar to anyone having used other databases providing a standards-compliant SQL language. However, it is worth being aware of some unique characteristics in CrateDB’s SQL dialect.

Table of contents

Implementation notes

Data types

CrateDB supports a set of primitive data types. The following table defines how data types of standard SQL map to CrateDB Data types.

Standard SQL CrateDB
integer integer, int, int4
bit[8] byte, char
boolean, bool boolean
char [(n)], varchar [(n)] string, text, varchar, character varying
timestamp with time zone timestamp with time zone, timestamptz
timestamp timestamp without time zone
smallint short, int2, smallint
bigint long, bigint, int8
real float, real
double precision double, double precision

Create table

CREATE TABLE supports additional storage and table parameters for sharding, replication and routing of the data, and does not support inheritance.

Alter table

ALTER COLUMN and DROP COLUMN actions are not currently supported (see ALTER TABLE).

System information tables

The read-only System information and Information schema tables have a slightly different schema than specified in standard SQL. They provide schema information and can be queried to get real-time statistical data about the cluster, its nodes, and their shards.

BLOB support

Standard SQL defines a binary string type, called BLOB or BINARY LARGE OBJECT. With CrateDB, Binary Data is instead stored in separate BLOB Tables (see Blobs) which can be sharded and replicated.

Transactions (BEGIN, COMMIT, and ROLLBACK)

CrateDB is focused on providing analytical capabilities over supporting traditional transactional use cases, and thus it does not provide transaction control. Every statement commits immediately and is replicated within the cluster.

However, every row in CrateDB has a version number that is incremented whenever the record is modified. This version number can be used to implement patterns like Optimistic Concurrency Control, which can be used to solve many of the use cases that would otherwise require traditional transactions.

Unsupported features and functions

These features of standard SQL are not supported:

  • Stored Procedures
  • Triggers
  • VALUES list used as constant tables
  • WITH Statements
  • Sequences
  • Inheritance
  • Constraints
    • Unique
    • Foreign key
    • Check constraints
    • Exclusion constraints

These functions are either not supported or only partly supported:

  • Aggregate functions
  • Window Functions
  • ENUM support functions
  • Network address functions and operators
  • Mathematical functions
  • Set returning functions
  • Trigger functions
  • XML functions

The currently supported and unsupported features in CrateDB are exposed in the Information schema table (see sql_features for usage).

If you are missing features, functions or dialect improvements and have a great use case for it, let us know on Github. We’re always improving and extending CrateDB, and we love to hear feedback.