Merge policy

The merge policy defines if and how Extents (Data Shards) in the Kusto cluster should get merged.

There are two types of merge operations: Merge, which rebuilds indexes, and Rebuild, which completely reingests the data.

Both operation types result in a single extent that replaces the source extents.

By default, Rebuild operations are preferred. If there are extents that don't fit the criteria for being rebuilt, an attempt will be made to merge them.


  • Tagging extents using different drop-by tags will cause such extents to not be merged, even if a merge policy has been set. For more information, see Extent Tagging.
  • Extents whose union of tags exceeds the length of 1M characters will not be merged.
  • The database's or table's Sharding policy also has some effect on how extents get merged.

Merge policy properties

The merge policy contains the following properties:

  • RowCountUpperBoundForMerge:
    • Defaults to 16,000,000.
    • Maximum allowed row count of the merged extent.
    • Applies to Merge operations, not Rebuild.
  • OriginalSizeMBUpperBoundForMerge:
    • Defaults to 0 (unlimited).
    • Maximum allowed original size (in MBs) of the merged extent.
    • Applies to Merge operations, not Rebuild.
  • MaxExtentsToMerge:
    • Defaults to 100.
    • Maximum allowed number of extents to be merged in a single operation.
    • Applies to Merge operations.
    • This value shouldn't be changed.
  • LoopPeriod:
    • Defaults to 01:00:00 (1 hour).
    • The maximum time to wait between starting two consecutive iterations of merge or rebuild operations by the Data Management service.
    • Applies to both Merge and Rebuild operations.
    • This value shouldn't be changed.
  • AllowRebuild:
    • Defaults to 'true'.
    • Defines whether Rebuild operations are enabled (in which case, they're preferred over Merge operations).
  • AllowMerge:
    • Defaults to 'true'.
    • Defines whether Merge operations are enabled, in which case, they're less preferred than Rebuild operations.
  • MaxRangeInHours:
    • Defaults to 24.
    • The maximum allowed difference, in hours, between any two different extents' creation times, so that they can still be merged.
    • Timestamps are of extent creation, and don't relate to the actual data contained in the extents.
    • Applies to both Merge and Rebuild operations.
    • In materialized views: defaults to to 336 (14 days), unless recoverability is disabled in the materialized view's effective retention policy.
    • This value should be set according to the effective retention policy SoftDeletePeriod, or cache policy DataHotSpan values. Take the lower value of SoftDeletePeriod and DataHotSpan. Set the MaxRangeInHours value to between 2-3% of it. See the examples .
  • Lookback:
    • Defines the timespan during which extents are considered for rebuild/merge.
    • Supported values:
      • Default - The system-managed default. This is the recommended and default value, whose period is currently set to 14 days.
      • All - All extents, hot and cold, are included.
      • HotCache - Only hot extents are included.
      • Custom - Only extents whose age is under the provided CustomPeriod are included. CustomPeriod is a timespan value.

Default policy example

The following example shows the default policy:

  "RowCountUpperBoundForMerge": 16000000,
  "OriginalSizeMBUpperBoundForMerge": 0,
  "MaxExtentsToMerge": 100,
  "LoopPeriod": "01:00:00",
  "MaxRangeInHours": 8,
  "AllowRebuild": true,
  "AllowMerge": true,
  "Lookback": {
    "Kind": "Default",
    "CustomPeriod": null

MaxRangeInHours examples

min(SoftDeletePeriod (Retention Policy), DataHotSpan (Cache Policy)) Max Range in hours (Merge Policy)
7 days (168 hours) 4
14 days (336 hours) 8
30 days (720 hours) 18
60 days (1,440 hours) 36
90 days (2,160 hours) 60
180 days (4,320 hours) 120
365 days (8,760 hours) 250


Consult with the Azure Data Explorer team before altering an extents merge policy.

When a database is created, it's set with the default merge policy values mentioned above. The policy is by default inherited by all tables created in the database, unless their policies are explicitly overridden at table-level.

For more information, see control commands that allow you to manage merge policies for databases or tables.