Alteryx Database File Format
The Alteryx database file format .yxdb is a file type that can hold data fields, values, and spatial objects. The .yxdb format is the most efficient file type for reading and writing in Alteryx because it has no size limit, is compressed for maximum speed, and includes additional metadata that references the source of the data and how the data was created. While there is no limit to the number of rows or file size, there is a size limit of 2GB for a single cell in a 64-bit environment. All Alteryx products have read and write support for .yxdb files.
Why is a .yxdb file the most efficient input/output file type?
A .yxdb file uses the exact same column types, structures, and formats as Alteryx does internally, so it works best with the program. There is no row limit so you can have greater than 2 billion rows. There is not any other file format, other than text, that supports as many rows.
Is a .yxdb file compressed?
Yes, they are minimally compressed for maximum speed, not maximum compression. If you have a spatial index, the compression is not very noticeable. Without a spatial index, the compression can be quite good at times.
If I want to transform data in a file containing a spatial object, but do not interact with the spatial object, is it still most efficient to use a .yxdb?
Yes, but in this case, you would want to turn off the Spatial Index in the advanced options so you don't waste any time and space creating it.
What other information is stored in a .yxdb file?
When Alteryx writes to a .yxdb file, the data in the Source and Description columns are saved in the file so you will always know how a field was created or what vintage of the underlying data values are. See the Field Info Tool for an example of this metadata.
- Source: Contains the tool, file, or process the field came from. Might also contain additional metainfo like a specific dataset from a plugin. The tools that report metainfo include: Allocate Input tool and Allocate Append tool, CASS tool, Formula tool, Street Geocoder tool, and tools that use Guzzler like Trade Area tool, Distance tool, and Find Nearest tool.
- Description: Might or might not contain information. If data is appended from an Allocate tool, the longer, more descriptive field name is contained here. Additionally, the user can add their own field description via the Select tool, and this information stays associated with the field.