Storage management with tablespaces

An administrator can use tablespaces to manage storage for a hypertable. A tablespace is a location on a file system where database objects (e.g., tables and indexes) are stored. Review the standard PostgreSQL documentation on tablespaces for more information, including how to create tablespaces.

Since a hypertable comprises a number of chunks, each chunk can be placed in a specific tablespace, allowing the hypertable to grow across many disks. To this end, TimescaleDB allows attaching and detaching tablespaces on a hypertable. When new chunks are created, one of the hypertable's attached tablespaces is picked by the runtime to store the chunk's data. Thus, a typical use case is to detach a tablespace from a hypertable when the tablespace runs out of disk space and attach a new one that has free space. A hypertable's attached tablespaces can be viewed with the show_tablespaces command.

How hypertable chunks are assigned tablespaces

A hypertable can be partitioned in multiple dimensions, but only one of the dimensions is used to determine the tablespace assigned to a particular hypertable chunk. If a hypertable has one or more hash-partitioned ("space") dimensions, then the first hash-partitioned dimension is used. Otherwise, the first time dimension is used. This assignment strategy ensures that hash-partitioned hypertables will have chunks colocated according to hash partition, as long as the list of tablespaces attached to the hypertable remains the same. Modulo calculation is used to pick a tablespace, so there can be more partitions than tablespaces (e.g., if there are two tablespaces, partition number three will use the first tablespace).

Note that attaching more tablespaces than there are partitions for the hypertable might leave some tablespaces unused until some of them are detached or additional partitions are added. This is especially true for hash-partitioned tables.

Hypertables that are only time-partitioned will add new partitions continuously, and will therefore have chunks assigned to tablespaces in a way similar to round-robin.