ALTER SINK allows cutting a sink over to a new upstream relation without causing disruption to downstream consumers. This is useful in the context of blue/green deployments.


ALTER SINK name SET FROM item_name


To alter the upstream relation a sink depends on while ensuring continuity in data processing, Materialize must pick a consistent cutover timestamp. When you execute an ALTER SINK command, the resulting output will contain all the updates that happened before the cutover timestamp for the old relation, as well as all the updates that happened after the cutover timestamp for the new relation.

NOTE: To select a consistent timestamp, Materialize must wait for the previous definition of the sink to emit results up until the oldest timestamp at which the contents of the new upstream relation are known. Attempting to ALTER an unhealthy sink that can’t make progress will result in the command timing out.

A sink cannot be created directly on a catalog object. As a workaround you can create a materialized view on a catalog object and create a sink on the materialized view.

Valid schema changes

For ALTER SINK to be successful, the newly specified relation must lead to a valid sink definition with the same conditions as the original CREATE SINK statement.

When using the Avro format with a schema registry, the generated Avro schema for the new relation must be compatible with the previously published schema. If that’s not the case, the ALTER SINK command will succeed, but the subsequent execution of the sink will result in errors and will not be able to make progress.

To monitor the status of a sink after an ALTER SINK command, navigate to the respective object page in the Materialize console, or query the mz_internal.mz_sink_statuses system catalog view.

Cutover scenarios

Because Materialize emits updates from the newly specified relation only if they happen after the cutover timestamp, you might observe different scenarios in the output topic. Depending on the contents and state of the old and new relations at the time the ALTER SINK command is executed, some common scenarios are:

Scenario 1: Topic contains stale value for a key

Since cutting over a sink to a new upstream relation using ALTER SINK does not emit a snapshot of the new relation, all keys will appear to have the old value for the key in the previous relation until an update happens to them. At that point, the current value will be published to the topic.

Consumers of the topic must be prepared to handle an old value for a key, for example by filling in additional columns with default values. Alternatively, forcing an update to all the keys after ALTER SINK will force the sink to re-emit all the updates.

Scenario 2: Topic is missing a key that exists in the new relation

As a consequence of not re-emitting a snapshot after ALTER SINK, if additional keys exist in the new relation that are not present in the old one, these will not be visible in the topic after the cutover. The keys will remain absent until an update happens to them, at which point Materialize will emit a record to the topic containing the new value.

To avoid this, ensure that both the old and the new relations have identical keyspaces.

Scenario 3: Topic contains a key that does not exist in the new relation

Materialize does not compare the contents of the old relation with the new relation when cutting a sink over. This means that, if the old relation contains additional keys that are not present in the new one, these records will remain in the topic without a corresponding tombstone record. This may cause readers to assume that certain keys exist when they don’t.

To avoid this, ensure that both the old and the new relations have identical keyspaces.


To alter a sink originally created to use matview_1 as the upstream relation, and start sinking the contents to matview_2 instead:

CREATE SINK avro_sink
  FROM matview_1
  INTO KAFKA CONNECTION kafka_connection (TOPIC 'test_avro_topic')
  KEY (key_col)
ALTER SINK foo SET FROM matview_2;


The privileges required to execute this statement are:

  • Ownership of the sink being altered.
  • SELECT privileges on the new relation being written out to an external system.
  • CREATE privileges on the cluster maintaining the sink.
  • USAGE privileges on all connections and secrets used in the sink definition.
  • USAGE privileges on the schemas that all connections and secrets in the statement are contained in.

See also

Back to top ↑