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James Serra's Blog

James is currently a Senior Business Intelligence Architect/Developer and has over 20 years of IT experience. James started his career as a software developer, then became a DBA 12 years ago, and for the last five years he has been working extensively with Business Intelligence using the SQL Server BI stack (SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS). James has been at times a permanent employee, consultant, contractor, and owner of his own business. All these experiences along with continuous learning has helped James to develop many successful data warehouse and BI projects. James has earned the MCITP Business Developer 2008, MCITP Database Administrator 2008, and MCITP Database Developer 2008, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. His blog is at .

Columnstore indexes and memory

Columnstore indexes are built and processed completely in memory.  You will receive an out-of-memory error if you do not have enough memory to build the columnstore index.  Column store processing is optimized for in-memory processing, however, they do not reside in memory after they are created.  The index data is initially stored on disk.  It is loaded into memory just like a row index is, and will then have the benefit of being in cache.  Only the columns needed must be read.  Therefore, less data is read from disk to memory and later moved from memory to processor cache, thereby providing a big performance benefit.  The whole index is not stored in memory like PowerPivot.  A columnstore index is persisted on disk just like any other index.

More info:

SQL Server Columnstore Index FAQ

Columnstore Indexes

Video Overview of the columnstore feature

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