# Best Practices

This section describes practices to improve query performance in Delta Lake.

In this topic:

## Choose the right partition column

You can partition a Delta table by a column. The most commonly used partition column is date. Follow these two rules of thumb for deciding on what column to partition by:

• If the cardinality of a column will be very high, do not use that column for partitioning. For example, if you partition by a column userId and if there can be 1M distinct user IDs, then that is a bad partitioning strategy.
• Amount of data in each partition: You can partition by a column if you expect data in that partition to be at least 1 GB.

## Compact files

If you continuously write data to a Delta table, it will over time accumulate a large number of files, especially if you add data in small batches. This can have an adverse effect on the efficiency of table reads, and it can also affect the performance of your file system. Ideally, a large number of small files should be rewritten into a smaller number of larger files on a regular basis. This is known as compaction.

One of the challenges for compaction is data consistency: If there are other writes to the table while compaction is taking place, you need to be sure not to overwrite the new data. Fortunately, with Delta Lake’s concurrency control, you don’t need to worry about that.

For example, you can compact a table into 16 files:

val path = "..."
val numFiles = 16

.format("delta")
.repartition(numFiles)
.write
.format("delta")
.mode("overwrite")
.save(path)


If your table is partitioned, you can use a partition predicate:

val path = "..."
val partition = "year = '2019'"
val numFilesPerPartition = 16

.format("delta")