Eon vs. Enterprise Mode

A Vertica database runs in one of two modes: Eon or Enterprise.

A Vertica database runs in one of two modes: Eon or Enterprise. Both modes can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. Understanding the difference between these two modes is key. If you are deploying a Vertica database, you must decide which mode to run it in early in your deployment planning. If you are using an already-deployed Vertica database, you should understand how each mode affects loading and querying data.

Vertica databases running in Eon and Enterprise modes store their data differently:

  • Eon Mode databases use communal storage for their data.

  • Enterprise Mode databases store data locally in the file system of nodes that make up the database.

These different storage methods lead to a number of important differences between the two modes.

Storage overview

Eon Mode stores data in a shared object store called communal storage:

When deployed in a cloud environment, Vertica stores its data in a cloud-based storage container, such as an AWS S3 bucket. When deployed on-premises, Vertica stores data in a locally-deployed object store, such as a Pure Storage FlashBlade appliance. Separating the persistent data storage from the compute resources (the nodes that load data and process queries) provides flexibility.

Enterprise Mode stores data across the filesystems of the database nodes:

Diagram showing an Enterprise Mode database.

Each node is responsible for storing and processing a portion of the data. The data is co-located on the nodes in both cloud-based and on-premises databases to provide resiliency in the event of node failure. Having the data located close to the computing power offers a different set of advantages. When a node is added to the cluster, or comes back online after being unavailable, it automatically queries other nodes to update its local data.

Key advantages of each mode

The different ways Eon Mode and Enterprise Mode store data give each mode an advantage in different environments. The following table summarizes these differences.

Chief advantages of... Where database mode is...
Eon Enterprise
  • Easily scaled up or down to meet changing workloads and reduce costs.

  • Workloads can be isolated to a subcluster of nodes.

  • Virtually no limits on database size. Most cloud providers offer essentially unlimited data storage (for a price).

Works in most cloud platforms. Eon Mode works in specific cloud providers.
  • Workloads can be isolated to a subset of nodes called a subcluster.

  • Can increase storage without adding nodes (and, if the object store supports hot plugging, without downtime).

No additional hardware needed beyond the servers that make up the database cluster.


Eon Mode and Enterprise Mode databases have roughly the same performance in the same environment when properly configured.

An Eon Mode database typically enables caching data from communal storage on a node's local depot, which the node uses to process queries. With depot caching enabled, query performance on an Eon Mode database is equivalent to an Enterprise Mode database, where each node stores a portion of the database locally. In both cases, nodes access locally-stored data to resolve queries.

To further improve performance, you can enable depot warming on an Eon Mode database. When depot warming is enabled, a node that is undergoing startup preemptively loads its depot with frequently queried and pinned data. When the node completes startup and begins to execute queries, its depot already contains much of the data it needs to process those queries. This reduces the need to fetch data from communal storage, and expedites query performance accordingly.

Query performance in an Eon Mode database is liable to decline if its depot is too small. A small depot increases the chance that a query will require data that is not in the depot. That results in nodes having to retrieve data from communal storage more frequently.


An Eon Mode database must have an object store to store its data communally. An Enterprise Mode database does not require any additional storage hardware beyond the storage installed on its nodes. Depending on the environment you've chosen for your Vertica database (especially if you are installing on-premises), the need to configure an object store may make your installation a bit more complex.

Because Enterprise Mode does not need additional hardware for data storage, it can be a bit simpler to install. An on-premises Eon Mode install needs additional hardware and additional configuration for the object store that provides the communal storage.

Enterprise Mode is especially useful for development environments because it does not require additional hardware beyond the nodes you use to run it. You can even create a single-node Enterprise Mode database, either on physical hardware or on a virtual machine. You can download a preconfigured single-node Enterprise Mode virtual machine that is ready to run. See Vertica community edition (CE) for more information.

Deploying an Eon Mode database in a cloud environment is usually simpler than an on-premises install. The cloud environments provide their own object store for you. For example, when you deploy an Eon Mode database in Amazon's AWS, you just need to create an S3 bucket for the communal data store. You then provide the S3 URL to Vertica when creating the database. There is no need to install and configure a separate data store.

Deploying an Enterprise Mode database in the cloud is similar to installing one on-premises. The virtual machines you create in the cloud must have enough local storage to store your database's data.

Workload isolation

You often want to prevent intensive workloads from interfering with other potentially time-sensitive workloads. For example, you may want to isolate ETL workloads from querying workloads. Groups of users that rely on real-time analytics can be isolated from groups that are running batched reports.

Eon Mode databases offer the best workload isolation option. It allows you to create groups of nodes called subclusters that isolate workloads. A query only runs on the nodes in a single subcluster. It does not affect nodes outside the subcluster. You can assign different groups of users to different subclusters.

In an Eon Mode database, subclusters and scalability work hand in hand. You often add, remove, stop, and start entire subclusters of nodes, rather than scaling nodes individually.

Enterprise Mode does not offer subclusters to isolate workloads. You can use features such as resource pools and other settings to give specific queries priority and access to more resources. However, these features do not truly isolate workloads as subclusters do. See Managing workloads for an explanation of managing workloads using these features.


You can scale a Vertica database by adding or removing nodes to meet changing analytic needs. Scalability is usually more important in cloud environments where you are paying by the hour for each node in your database. If your database isn't busy, there is no reason to have underused nodes costing you money. You can reduce the number of nodes in your database during quiet times (weekends and holidays, for example) to save money.

Scalability is usually less important for on-premises installations. There are limited additional costs involved in having nodes running when they are not fully in use.

An Enterprise Mode database scales less efficiently than an Eon Mode one. When an Enterprise Mode database scales, it must re-segment (rebalance) its data to be spread among the new number of nodes.

Rebalancing is an expensive operation. When scaling the database up, Vertica must break up files and physically move a percentage of the data from the original nodes to the new nodes. When scaling down, Vertica must move the data off of the nodes that are being removed and distribute it among the remaining nodes. The database is not available during rebalancing. This process can take 12, 24, or even 36 hours to complete, depending on the size of the database. After scaling up an Enterprise Mode database, queries should run faster because each node is responsible for less data. Therefore, each node has less work to do to process each query. Scaling down an Enterprise Mode database usually has the opposite effect—queries will run slower. See Elastic cluster for more information on scaling an Enterprise Mode database.

Eon Mode databases scale more efficiently because data storage is separate from the computing resources.

When you scale up an Eon Mode database, the database's data does not need to be re-segmented. Instead, the additional nodes subscribe to preexisting segments (called shards) of data in communal storage. When expanding the cluster, Vertica rebalances the shards assigned to each node, rather than physically splitting the data storage and moving in between nodes. The new nodes prepare to process queries by retrieving data from the communal storage to fill their depots (a local cache of data from the communal storage). The database remains available while scaling and the process takes minutes rather than hours to complete.

If the number of shards is equal to or higher than the new number of nodes (as shown in the previous diagram), then query performance improves after expanding the cluster. Each node is responsible for processing less data, so the same queries will run faster after you scale the cluster up.

You can also scale your database up to improve query throughput. Query throughput improves the number of queries processed by your database in parallel. You usually care about query throughput when your workload contains many, shorter-running queries ("dashboard queries"). To improve throughput, add more nodes to your database in a new subcluster. The subcluster isolates queries run by clients connected to it from the other nodes in the database. Subclusters work independently and in parallel. Isolating the workloads means that your database runs more queries simultaneously.

If a subcluster contains more nodes than the number of shards in a namespace, multiple nodes subscribe to the same shard. In this case, Vertica uses a feature called elastic crunch scaling to execute the query faster. Vertica divides the responsibility for the data in each shard between the subscribing nodes. Each node only needs to process a subset of the data in the shard it subscribes to. Having less data to process means that each node usually finishes its part of the query faster. This often translates into the query finishing its executing sooner.

Scaling down an Eon Mode database works similarly. Shutting down entire subclusters reduced your database's query throughput. If you remove nodes from a subcluster, the remaining nodes subscribe to any shards that do not have a subscriber. This process is fast, and the database remains running while it is happening.


As you load more data into your database, you may eventually need to expand its data storage. Because Eon Mode databases separate compute from storage, you often expand its storage without changing the number of nodes.

In a cloud environment, you usually do not have a limit on storage. For example, an AWS S3 bucket can store as much data as you want. As long as you are willing to pay for additional storage charges, you do not have to worry about expanding your database's storage.

When you install Eon Mode on-premises, how you expand storage depends on the object store you are using. For example, Pure Storage FlashBlades support hot plugging new blades to add additional storage. This feature lets you expand the storage in your Eon Mode database with no downtime.

In most cases, you usually query a subset of the data in your database (called the working data set). Eon Mode's decoupling of compute and storage let you size your compute (the number of nodes in your database) to the working data set and your desired performance rather than to the entire data set.

For example, if you are performing time series analysis in which the active data set is usually the last 30 days, you can size your cluster to manage 30 days' worth of data. Data older than 30 days simply grows in communal storage. The only reason you need to add more nodes to your Eon Mode database is to meet additional workloads. On the other hand, if you want very high performance on a small data set, you can add as many nodes as you need to obtain the performance you want.

In an Enterprise Mode database, nodes are responsible for storage as well as compute. Because of the tight coupling between compute and storage, the best way to expand storage in an Enterprise Mode database is to add new nodes. As mentioned in the Scalability section, adding nodes to an Enterprise Mode database requires rebalancing the existing data in the database.

Due to the disruption rebalancing causes to the database, you usually expand the storage in an Enterprise Mode database infrequently. When you do expand its storage, you usually add significant amounts of storage to allow for future growth.

Adding nodes to increase storage has the downside that you may be adding compute power to your cluster that isn't really necessary. For example, suppose you are performing time-series analysis that focuses on recent data and your current cluster offers you enough query performance to meet your needs. However, you need to add additional storage to keep historical data. In this case, adding new nodes to your database for additional storage adds computing power you really don't need. Your queries may run a bit faster. However, the slight benefit of faster results probably does not justify the costs of adding more computing power.