Compacting Numeric Rollups

Although numeric shards can be configured with retention windows, this only removes entire shards once they are past the window. In cases where one has fully deleted all data for a significant number of metrics, the storage space they occupy in rollups may be recovered by performing a compaction of one or more NNTBS shards using a map of active IDs from the surrogate database.

Compaction is performed by running the shard_compactor tool. It has two required arguments:

  • -d <nntbs_dir> - The path where NNTBS shards are stored. This is typically found under /irondb/nntbs, or /snowth/nntbs on Circonus Inside deployments. The directory name matches the node’s cluster UUID.
  • -s <shard> - The name of a shard to compact. Shards are named for the rollup period and the start and end timestamps that they represent. This option may be specified multiple times to compact more than one shard. Shards will be compacted serially.

Run /opt/circonus/bin/shard_compactor --help for full usage information. The tool must be run as the unprivileged user that IRONdb runs as, typically nobody.

This is an online operation (the IRONdb service must be running). Each shard will be put into an “offline” mode while it is being compacted. Requests for data within the shard will be redirected to other cluster nodes during the operation.


  • Compaction should only be performed on shards that are no longer getting new data. In other words, shards that are older than the raw database’s min_delete_age plus delete_after_quiescent_age.
  • A surrogate ID map is only valid for the host from which it was obtained, and should never be used for compacting shards on a different host.
  • Care should be taken to avoid compacting the same shard at the same time on multiple cluster nodes. Doing so may jeopardize the availability of metric data if too many of one shard are offline at once. Since compaction is a background maintenance task, it is preferable to run it on one node at a time.


Given an IRONdb node whose cluster ID is 84d2979a-f233-47d3-9a15-d4f8885c9b7c:

$ sudo -u nobody /opt/circonus/bin/shard_compactor \
    -d /irondb/nntbs/84d2979a-f233-47d3-9a15-d4f8885c9b7c \
    -s 60_1551432000-1552041600 \
    -s 60_1552041600-1552651200