Projection path

You can see which the optimizer chose for the query plan by looking at the Projection path in the textual output:.

You can see which projections the optimizer chose for the query plan by looking at the Projection path in the textual output:

 FROM customer_dimension
 WHERE customer_state in ('MA','NH')
 AND customer_gender = 'Male'
 ORDER BY customer_name
 LIMIT 10;
 Access Path:
 +-SELECT  LIMIT 10 [Cost: 370, Rows: 10] (PATH ID: 0)
 |  Output Only: 10 tuples
 |  Execute on: Query Initiator
 | +---> SORT [Cost: 370, Rows: 544] (PATH ID: 1)
 | |      Order: customer_dimension.customer_name ASC
 | |      Output Only: 10 tuples
 | |      Execute on: Query Initiator
 | | +---> STORAGE ACCESS for customer_dimension [Cost: 331, Rows: 544] (PATH ID: 2)
 | | |      Projection: public.customer_dimension_DBD_1_rep_vmart_vmart_node0001
 | | |      Materialize: customer_dimension.customer_state, customer_dimension.customer_name
 | | |      Filter: (customer_dimension.customer_gender = 'Male')
 | | |      Filter: (customer_dimension.customer_state = ANY (ARRAY['MA', 'NH']))
 | | |      Execute on: Query Initiator

The query optimizer automatically picks the best projections, but without reasonably accurate statistics, the optimizer could choose a suboptimal projection or join order for a query. For details, see Collecting Statistics.

Vertica considers which projection to choose for a plan by considering the following aspects:

  • How columns are joined in the query

  • How the projections are grouped or sorted

  • Whether SQL analytic operations applied

  • Any column information from a projection's storage on disk

As Vertica scans the possibilities for each plan, projections with the higher initial costs could end up in the final plan because they make joins cheaper. For example, a query can be answered with many possible plans, which the optimizer considers before choosing one of them. For efficiency, the optimizer uses sophisticated algorithms to prune intermediate partial plan fragments with higher cost. The optimizer knows that intermediate plan fragments might initially look bad (due to high storage access cost) but which produce excellent final plans due to other optimizations that it allows.

If your statistics are up to date but the query still performs poorly, run the query through the Database Designer. For details, see Incremental Design.


  • To test different segmented projections, refer to the projection by name in the query.

  • For optimal performance, write queries so the columns are sorted the same way that the projection columns are sorted.

See also