I've got a schema for customer records a bit like:

account_id - UUID
name - text

I currently have a GIN index that looks like:

... USING GIN (account_id, name gin_trgm_ops)

We have a mix of accounts. Some have a lot of customers (10m+) and some only have a few (10k+). We have a lot of queries that look like:

SELECT from customers WHERE account_id=<account_id> AND 
  name LIKE 'Bob%'
  OR name LIKE 'Alice%'
  OR name LIKE 'Dave%'
  OR name LIKE 'Carol%'
  OR name LIKE 'Edward%'
  OR name LIKE 'Fay%'

For large customers the index performance is good (queries ~2s). For small customers the index performance is comparatively poor (also ~2s). This matters due to how often we run these queries.

Is there a way to improve this for smaller customers? We've noticed that replacing the index with a simple btree index on account_id is faster - scanning all the records for a single small account is faster than doing the index bitmap work across all accounts. Obviously, this is a lot slower on the large accounts.

I think partitioning the table is the only way forward here. However, I'm hoping someone has a bright idea :)

  • replacing the index with a simple btree index on account_id is faster: why replace? Two indexes seem to make sense here: a btree index on account_id and the gin index on name alone. Commented Jun 29 at 13:21
  • What happens if one of the search terms is for 'Cy%'?
    – jjanes
    Commented Jun 29 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


Your index doesn't look very sensible to me. A multicolumn GIN index is pretty much identical to multiple single-column GIN indexes. It isn't like a Btree index, where selectivity on multiple columns can be multiplied by being in the same index.

Since all your LIKE queries are fixed prefix, you could get a benefit from a multicolumn btree index.

create index on customers (account_id , name text_pattern_ops);

If they aren't really all fixed prefix, you might want to try the multicolumn GiST index. I'm not a fan of gist_trgm_ops, but this might be one case where it would work well.

As you noted, partitioning could also work well. But if you have a large number of accounts this could become hard to manage it.

  • This looks like it might work. Downside that %search% won't work, but I think we can live without that. Thank you! Ultimately, what I really want is a btree of gin indexes. e.g. a btree on account_id and then each leaf is a pointer to a gin index on name :)
    – ColinHowe
    Commented Jun 29 at 19:34

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