Secondary Index

What if we want to support efficient search by some other attribute (not one that is already indexed)

  • then the file is not sequentially sorted by this other attribute (it's sorted on the pk)
  • we can make a copy of the entire table - but it's too expensive

Index structures to do that are Secondary Indexes

Sparse Index?

Doesn't make sense

  • secondary-sparse-no-sense.png
  • since the file is sorted by another key

Dense Index?


  • build a dense index, sort it,
  • construct sparse index on it
  • secondary-dense-sparse.png


Just Repeat

Suppose we use Dense Index as our secondary index

  • secondary-dense-dups-1.png
  • Same is Option 1 from Dense Index (note that Option 2 will not work here - file is not ordered by this key)
  • 10 occurs 3 times - may lead to waste of space
  • may look innocent for integers, but often keys are strings

Variable-Length Records

Another way is to use variable-length records

  • now need to store the key value only once
  • secondary-dense-dups-2.png
  • problem now: need to support variable-length records (which is hard)

Buckets of Pointers

We add one more level of indirection

  • we have index on buckets
  • buckets are pointers to the actual tuples

So now we have

  1. Dense Index where each value is stored once
  2. Bucket list where we have multiple occurrences
    • pointers to actual values
    • should be sequential: i.e. ordered by the key
  3. Actual blocks

Also saves space!


  • secondary-level-of-ind.png
  • index pointers point to the first occurrence of 10
  • we read buckets down till there's no 10 anymore

This idea is used in Buckets of Pointers

See also