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Clean Database


Although SeaTable has a cleanup mechanism for its database, it is not activated by default. Even if you have a small setup, it is recommended that you setup a single cronjob for cleanup to run for example once a week. Otherwise your database will become bigger and bigger. This article explains all the details.

Why does the database become to big?

The main reason why the SeaTable database grows quickly is due to the storage of the operation log. Every time you change something in a base, this change is stored in the so called operation log. The operation log contains the base, the table, the row and the concrete change. Might might imagine how fast this database table gets if such a huge amount of data is stored every time you change something in the database.

  "op_type": "modify_row",
  "table_id": "iFMf",
  "row_id": "avAf...",
  "updated": {
    "s6km": ["91e3...@auth.local"],
    "_last_modifier": "1455...@auth.local"
  "old_row": { "s6km": ["ea3b...6@auth.local"] }

In addition, every 5 minutes dtable-server automatically persists all changes by saving the current version of the base to dtable-storage-server. The operation log is therefore a protection against data loss in case that SeaTable server crashes before the base is persisted. As soon as the base is persisted, the main purpose of the operation log is fulfilled.

In addition the operation log is used for the log display inside the base.

Let me summarize, the operation log has to purposes:

  1. the operation log protects against data loss in the event that SeaTable Server crashes before the changes are persisted to the json file.
  2. the operation log is used for the log/history display inside the base.

Just to give you an idea. At SeaTable Cloud we generate up to 1 Gigabyte per day, mainly driven by the operation log.

Clean Database Records

SeaTable provides a command to clear records older than the retention period in the seatable database (the default database name is dtable_db). The retention period is a good mixture of cleaning up old data and keep enough data for the users.

Manual execution

If you want to run the command manually, here it is:

docker exec -it seatable-server /bin/bash python-env /opt/seatable/seatable-server-latest/dtable-web/ clean_db_records

The following tables will be cleaned:

Database table Table description Retention period
activities Aggregated log (based on operation_log) recording row creations, modifications, and deletions 30 days
delete_operation_log High level log (based on operation_log) recording all row deletions 30 days
dtable_notifications User notifications inside the bases 30 days
dtable_snapshots Snapshots of bases that are not store in dtable-storage-server 365 days
notifications_usernotification User notifications on the home page 30 days
operation_log Low level log recording all operations 14 days
session_log Low level log recording all user sessions 30 days


If you want to keep your database small, it is necessary to execute your cleanup on a daily or weekly basis. Generate a bash script like the following, give it execution permission and create a cronjob to run it on a regular basis.

docker exec seatable-server /opt/seatable/scripts/ python-env /opt/seatable/seatable-server-latest/dtable-web/ clean_db_records

The cronjob might look like this:

# clean system (once a week at saturday at 0:20am)
0 20 * * 6 /opt/backup/scripts/ > /opt/backup/logs/system_clean.log

Clean operation_log records more efficiently


If you system becomes really big, you might want to clean up the operation log faster. Therefore a new more efficient and reliable command was added to clear the useless data in the operation_log table after three days. You can add a cron job to run the command every day.

This command has two advantages over the above command:

  1. It will make sure all pending operations be applied to the base before clearing the logs.
  2. It will clear the logs in small batch, avoiding consume too much database resource in a short time.
$ docker exec seatable-server /opt/seatable/scripts/ python-env /opt/seatable/seatable-server-latest/dtable-web/ clean_operation_log

Free space occupied by database

Mariadb and MySQL are quite special if it comes to storage usage. Even if you delete data from your database, the storage will not become available. Space that once was occupied by MySQL is blocked.

This becomes problematic if you database becomes huge, because you never cleaned the operation log and now the disk space is full. There are basically two ways to solve this problem.

Check your database size

Login into your SQL command line of your mariadb server. Now execute the following commands to get the size of your databases

SELECT table_schema AS "Database", ROUND(SUM(data_length + index_length) / 1024 / 1024 / 1024, 2) AS "Size (GB)" FROM information_schema.TABLES GROUP BY table_schema;

The result may look like this:

| Database           | Size (GB) |
| ccnet_db           |      0.04 |
| dtable_db          |     32.31 |
| information_schema |      0.00 |
| seafile_db         |      0.07 |
4 rows in set (0.005 sec)

To get the size of the tables inside dtable_db execute one of these commands:

# get number of rows of the tables inside dtable_db

# get size of the tables inside dtable_db
SELECT table_name AS "Table", ROUND(((data_length + index_length) / 1024 / 1024), 2) AS "Size (MB)" FROM information_schema.TABLES WHERE table_schema = "dtable_db";

To delete all entries from the operation log older than 14 days, you can execute this command:

DELETE FROM `operation_log` WHERE `op_time` < UNIX_TIMESTAMP(DATE_SUB(NOW(), INTERVAL 14 DAY))*1000

Option 1: Optimize

This requires that you have enough disk space, to create a duplicate of the existing operation log. ...

Option 2: Create new operation_log table

This is the way, if you only have a limited amount of space available. ...

Clean expired sessions

The django_session table is used to store user sessions. Expired sessions are not cleaned automatically, the database table will become large when you have a lot of users. The expired sessions can be cleaned up through the clearsessions command:

docker exec -it seatable-server /bin/bash python-env /opt/seatable/seatable-server-latest/dtable-web/ clearsessions