What Is the Data Type of Version in HBase?


Heather Bennett

When working with HBase, it’s important to understand the data types of the various columns in your tables. One common question that arises is: What is the data type of the ‘Version’ column in HBase?

Data Type of Version in HBase

The ‘Version’ column in HBase represents the different versions of a cell in a specific row and column. It allows you to store multiple values for a single cell over time, each with its own timestamp. This is useful when you need to keep track of changes made to a particular piece of data.

In HBase, the ‘Version’ column is not explicitly defined as a separate data type. Instead, it is associated with the value stored in the cell. The value itself can be of any supported data type in HBase, such as:

  • Strings: This data type is commonly used to store textual information. It can be used for storing version numbers as well.
  • Integers: Integer values can be used to represent numeric versions, such as release numbers or sequential identifiers.
  • Timestamps: Timestamps are often used as versions to track changes over time. They can be stored as long integers representing milliseconds since the epoch.
  • Binary Data: If your versions consist of binary data, such as serialized objects or images, you can store them using byte arrays.


To better understand how versions work in HBase, consider an example where we have a table named ’employees’ with two columns: ‘name’ and ‘salary’. Let’s say we want to keep track of salary changes over time for each employee.

We can design the table with the ‘salary’ column having multiple versions. Each time a salary change occurs, a new version of the ‘salary’ cell is added with a corresponding timestamp. This allows us to retrieve historical salary information for any given employee.

Here’s an example row from our ’employees’ table:

  • Row Key: employee123
  • Columns:
    • Name: John Doe
    • Salary (with versions):
      • [1609459200000] – $5000
      • [1612137600000] – $5500
      • [1614556800000] – $6000

In this example, we have three versions of the ‘salary’ cell for the employee with row key ’employee123′. Each version represents a different point in time when the salary was updated.

When querying this table, you can specify a time range or a specific version to retrieve the corresponding value. This flexibility allows you to analyze historical data and track changes effectively.


The ‘Version’ column in HBase is not a separate data type but rather an attribute associated with each cell value. You can store any supported data type in HBase as a version, depending on your specific requirements.

By leveraging multiple versions in HBase, you can keep track of changes over time and retrieve historical data when needed. This feature makes HBase a powerful tool for handling evolving datasets and building applications that demand data versioning capabilities.

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