The RENAME TABLE statement changes the name of a table. It can also be used to move a table from one database to another.

Note:
It is not possible to rename a table referenced by a view. For more details, see View Dependencies.
Warning:

Table renames are not transactional. For more information, see Table renaming considerations.

Required privileges

The user must have the DROP privilege on the table and the CREATE on the parent database. When moving a table from one database to another, the user must have the CREATE privilege on both the source and target databases.

Synopsis

ALTER TABLE IF EXISTS current_name RENAME TO new_name

Parameters

Parameter Description
IF EXISTS Rename the table only if a table with the current name exists; if one does not exist, do not return an error.
current_name The current name of the table.
new_name The new name of the table, which must be unique within its database and follow these identifier rules. When the parent database is not set as the default, the name must be formatted as database.name.

The UPSERT and INSERT ON CONFLICT statements use a temporary table called excluded to handle uniqueness conflicts during execution. It's therefore not recommended to use the name excluded for any of your tables.

Viewing Schema Changes

Whenever you initiate a schema change, CockroachDB registers it as a job, which you can view with SHOW JOBS.

Table renaming considerations

Table renames are not transactional. There are two phases during a rename:

  1. The system.namespace table is updated. This phase is transactional, and will be rolled back if the transaction aborts.
  2. The table descriptor (an internal data structure) is updated, and announced to every other node. This phase is not transactional. The rename will be announced to other nodes only if the transaction commits, but there is no guarantee on how much time this operation will take.
  3. Once the new name has propagated to every node in the cluster, another internal transaction is run that declares the old name ready for reuse in another context.

This yields a surprising and undesirable behavior: when run inside a BEGIN ... COMMIT block, it’s possible for a rename to be half-done - not persisted in storage, but visible to other nodes or other transactions. This violates A, C, and I in ACID. Only D is guaranteed: If the transaction commits successfully, the new name will persist after that.

This is a known limitation. For an issue tracking this limitation, see cockroach#12123.

Examples

Rename a table

> SHOW TABLES FROM db1;
+--------+
| Table  |
+--------+
| table1 |
| table2 |
+--------+
> ALTER TABLE db1.table1 RENAME TO db1.tablea
> SHOW TABLES FROM db1;
+--------+
| Table  |
+--------+
| table2 |
| tablea |
+--------+

To avoid an error in case the table does not exist, you can include IF EXISTS:

> ALTER TABLE IF EXISTS db1.table1 RENAME TO db1.table2;

Move a table

To move a table from one database to another, use the above syntax but specify the source database after ALTER TABLE and the target database after RENAME TO:

> SHOW DATABASES;
+----------+
| Database |
+----------+
| db1      |
| db2      |
| system   |
+----------+
> SHOW TABLES FROM db1;
+--------+
| Table  |
+--------+
| table2 |
| tablea |
+--------+
> SHOW TABLES FROM db2;
+-------+
| Table |
+-------+
+-------+
> ALTER TABLE db1.tablea RENAME TO db2.tablea
> SHOW TABLES FROM db1;
+--------+
| Table  |
+--------+
| table2 |
+--------+
> SHOW TABLES FROM db2;
+--------+
| Table  |
+--------+
| tablea |
+--------+

See Also



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