Crate robt[][src]

Package implement an immutable read-only BTree index.

Use Builder type to build a new index. And subsequently load the index using the Index type. Index can be concurrently accessed by cloning the Index instance. Note that a single Index instance cannot be shared among threads. Once an index is built using the Builder type it is not possible to modify them. While strict immutability might seem like an inconvenience, they have certain advantages,

  • They are fully packed and hence less overhead and lesser tree depth.
  • Easy and efficient caching of btree-blocks.
  • Can be easily paired with immutable read-only bloom filters.
  • Friendly for concurrent access.

Inventory of features

  • Index can be parametrized over Key-type and Value-type.
  • Uses CBOR for serialization and deserialization.
  • Key and Value types can be made robt compliant by derive(Cborize).
  • Value can either be stored in leaf-node or in a separate log-file.
  • Additionally, incoming iterator, to build index, can supply older versions for value using the Diff mechanics.
  • Bloom filter can help optimize false lookups.
  • API get() operation, with bloom-filter support.
  • API iter() and reverse() operation for forward and reverse iteration.
  • API iter_version() and reverse_version() operation similar to iter/reverse but also fetches older versions for a entry. Note that iter/reverse do not fetch the older versions.

Value-log file

Values and its deltas (older versions) can be stored in a separate log file. This has following advantage,

  • Keep the leaf-node extremely compact and help better caching.
  • Efficient when building multi-level index.
  • Applications typically deal with older-versions as archives.

While storing value in the value-log file is optional, deltas are always stored in separate value-log file.

Building an index

Unlike mutable data-structure, that support set(), write(), update() etc.. robt indexes are built from pre-sorted iterators. In a way each btree index can be seen as an immutable snapshot of sorted {key,value} dataset. Typical workflow is,

use mkit::traits::BuildIndex;

let config = Config::new("/opt/data/", "movies");
// use one or more set_ method to configure the btree parameters.
let builder = Build::initial(config, app_meta);
builder.from_iter(iter, mkit::nobitmap::NoBitmap);

// Subsequently open an index as,
let reader1 = Index::open("/opt/data", "movies").expect("fail");
// create another concurrent reader
let reader2 = reader.clone();
let handle = thread::spawn(|| reader2);

Let us look at the steps one by one:

  • First create a configuration. More configurations available via the set_ methods.
  • By supplying app_meta, caller can also persist snapshot specific meta-data.
  • After creating a builder, use BuildIndex trait’s from_iter() to build a btree-index from an iterator. It is expected that iterated entries are pre-sorted.
  • Caller can optionally pass a bitmap instance that shall be used for implementing a bloom filter.
  • Bitmap type is parametrized via the BuildIndex trait. If probabilistic bitmap table is not required, pass NoBitmap value to from_iter() method.

In the example above, we are using initial() constructor to create a builder instance, it is also possible to incrementally build an index via incremental() constructor. To understand the difference we shall dig deeper into how data-set is indexed with robt.

robt is a simple btree-index, made up of root-node, intermediate-node (called m-block) and leaf-node (called z-block). The entire dataset is maintained in the leaf node and the intermediate nodes are constructed in bottoms-up fashion using the first-key in the leaf-node, all the way up to the root-node. The shape and behavior of root-node is exactly same as the intermediate-node.

The dataset is made up of entries and each entries is made up of key, value, seqno, a flag to denoted whether the node was deleted or upserted. Reason for maintaining seqno, and deleted-flag is to support database features like vector-timestamping, log-structured-merge etc..

Version control your values, an additional feature with robt index is that applications can version control their values. That is, each entry, along with key, value, seqno, etc.. also maintains previous version of the value along with its modification seqno. And instead of persisting the entire value (older versions), their deltas as computed in relation to its new-versions and persisted as deltas. This is achieved using the Diff mechanics. Also note that robt itself doesn’t compute the version deltas, but it is treated as part of an entry and persisted.

Each entry in the index is defined as Entry<K, V, D> type and defined in a common crate. Note that an index entry is parametrized over key-type, value-type, and delta-type. Here delta-type D can be NoDiff if application is not interested in preserving older-versions or should be same as <V as Diff>::D. Refer to Diff mechanics for more detail.

Now coming back to the leaf-node, all entries are stored in the leaf-node. And to facilitate archival of older versions deltas are persisted in a separate value-log file. And optionally, to facilitate incremental build, value can also be persisted in the value-log file. When both values and deltas are persisted in a separate value-log file, leaf nodes become very compact and ends up suitable for caching, compaction, incremental-build, optimized IOPS and delta-archival.

Reading from index

All read operations are done via Index type. Use the same arguments passed to initial() or incremental() constructors to open() an existing index for reading.

Cloning an index for concurrency. Though applications can use the open() call to create as many needed instance of an Index, the recommended approach is to call try_clone() on Index. This will share the underlying data-structure to avoid memory bloat across several instance of same Index. Only meta-data is shared across index instance (when it is cloned), every index instance will keep an open file-descriptor for underlying file(s).

Simple Key-Value index

robt indexes are parametrized over key-type, value-type, delta-type, and bitmap-type. delta-type implement the older versions of value-type as delta-difference. bitmap-type implement bloom filter to optimize away missing-lookups.

In most cases, delta-type and bitmap-type are not needed. To build and use simple {key,value} index Builder and Index type in the crate-root can be used. To use fully parameterized variant, use db::Builder and db::Index types.

Index Entry

For simple indexing, key and value are enough. But to implement database-features like compaction, log-structured-merge we need to preserve more information about each entry. While the internal shape of entry is not exposed (for future compatibility), robt uses mkit::db::Entry as the default index-entry.


Compaction is the process of de-duplicating/removing entries and/or older-versions from an index snapshots (aka instance). In robt compaction operation consumes the Index instance and creates a new a new Index instance with its entries compacted to the desired level of cutoff. There are three types of compaction:


This is basically applicable for snapshots that don’t have to preserve older versions or deleted entries.

When same value-log file is used to incrementally build newer batch of mutations older values gets duplicated. This requires a periodic clean up of garbage values to reduce disk foot-print.

This type of compaction is also applicable for index instances that do not need distributed LSM. In such cases, the oldest snapshot can compact away older versions of each entry and purge entries that are marked deleted.


This is applicable for database index that store their index as multi-level snapshots, similar to leveldb. Each snapshot can be built as robt Index. Most of the lsm-based-storage will have their root snapshot as the oldest and only source of truth, but this is not possible for distributed index that ends up with multiple truths across different nodes. To facilitate such designs, in lsm mode, even the root level at any given node, can retain older versions upto a specified seqno, that seqno is computed through eventual consistency.

Another use case of lsm-compaction is to maintain older versions of value.


Tombstone compaction is similar to lsm-compaction with one main difference. When application logic issue tombstone-compaction only deleted entries that are older than specified seqno will be purged.



Module implement Builder and Index type parametrised over delta-type and bitmap-type.



Configuration for Read Only BTree index.


Statistic for Read Only BTree index.



Error variants that can be returned by this package’s API.



Default value for Flush queue size, channel queue size, holding index blocks.


Default value for m-block-size, 4 * 1024 bytes.


Default value for v-block-size, 4 * 1024 bytes.


Default value for z-block-size, 4 * 1024 bytes.

Type Definitions


Type alias for db::Builder without version control for value-type.


Type alias for db::Index without version control and bitmap.


Type alias for Result return type, used by this package.