Using System Tables

Vertica system tables provide information about system resources, background processes, workload, and performance—for example, load streams, query profiles, and tuple mover operations. Vertica collects and refreshes this information automatically.

You can query system tables using expressions, predicates, aggregates, analytics, subqueries, and joins. You can also save system table query results into a user table for future analysis. For example, the following query creates a table, mynode, selecting three node-related columns from the NODES system table:

=> CREATE TABLE mynode AS SELECT node_name, node_state, node_address FROM nodes;
=> SELECT * FROM mynode;
    node_name     | node_state |  node_address  
 v_vmart_node0001 | UP         |
(1 row)

You cannot query system tables if the database cluster is in a recovering state. The database refuses connection requests and cannot be monitored. Vertica also does not support DDL and DML operations on system tables.

Where System Tables Reside

System tables are grouped into two schemas:

These schemas reside in the default search path. Unless you change the search path to exclude V_MONITOR or V_CATALOG or both, queries can specify a system table name that omits its schema.

You can query the SYSTEM_TABLES table for all Vertica system tables and their schemas. For example:

SELECT * FROM system_tables ORDER BY table_schema, table_name;

System Table Categories

Vertica system tables can be grouped into the following areas:

  • System information
  • System resources
  • Background processes
  • Workload and performance

Vertica reserves some memory to help monitor busy systems. Using simple system table queries makes it easier to troubleshoot issues. See also SYSQUERY.

You can use external monitoring tools or scripts to query the system tables and act upon the information, as necessary. For example, when a host failure causes the K-safety level to fall below the desired level, the tool or script can notify the database administrator and/or appropriate IT personnel of the change, typically in the form of an e-mail.


You can GRANT and REVOKE privileges on system tables, with the following restrictions:

  • You cannot GRANT privileges on system tables to the SYSMONITOR or PSEUDOSUPERUSER roles.
  • You cannot GRANT on system schemas.

Case-Sensitive System Table Data

Some system table data might be stored in mixed case. For example, Vertica stores mixed-case identifier names the way you specify them in the CREATE statement, even though case is ignored when you reference them in queries. When these object names appear as data in the system tables, you'll encounter errors if you query them with an equality (=) operator because the case must exactly match the stored identifier. In particular, data in columns TABLE_SCHEMA and TABLE_NAME in system table TABLES are case sensitive.

If you don't know how the identifiers are stored, use the case-insensitive operator ILIKE. For example, given the following schema:

=> CREATE TABLE SS.TT (c1 int);

A query that uses the = operator returns 0 rows:

=> SELECT table_schema, table_name FROM v_catalog.tables WHERE table_schema ='ss'; 
table_schema | table_name
(0 rows)

A query that uses case-insensitive ILIKE returns the expected results:

=> SELECT table_schema, table_name FROM v_catalog.tables WHERE table_schema ILIKE 'ss'; 
table_schema | table_name
 SS           | TT
(1 row)


The following examples illustrate simple ways to use system tables in queries.

=> SELECT current_epoch, designed_fault_tolerance, current_fault_tolerance FROM SYSTEM;
 current_epoch | designed_fault_tolerance | current_fault_tolerance
           492 |                        1 |                       1
(1 row)

=> SELECT node_name, total_user_session_count, executed_query_count FROM query_metrics;
    node_name     | total_user_session_count | executed_query_count
 v_vmart_node0001 |                      115 |                  353
 v_vmart_node0002 |                      114 |                   35
 v_vmart_node0003 |                      116 |                   34
(3 rows)

=> SELECT DISTINCT(schema_name), schema_owner FROM schemata;
 schema_name  | schema_owner
 v_catalog    | dbadmin
 v_txtindex   | dbadmin
 v_func       | dbadmin
 TOPSCHEMA    | dbadmin
 online_sales | dbadmin
 v_internal   | dbadmin
 v_monitor    | dbadmin
 structs      | dbadmin
 public       | dbadmin
 store        | dbadmin
(10 rows)