Introduction to B-Trees

Introduction to B-Trees


In this article, we will learn Introduction to B-Trees.

  • B-Tree is a self-balancing search tree.
  • The main idea of using B-Trees is to reduce the number of disk accesses.
  • The height of B-Trees is kept low by putting maximum possible keys in a B-Tree node.
  • Generally, a B-Tree node size is kept equal to the disk block size.
  • As height is low for B-Tree, total disk accesses for most of the operations are reduced significantly compared to other search trees.

Properties of B-Tree

  • All leaves are at same level.
  • A B-Tree is defined by the term minimum degree ‘n’. The value of n depends upon disk block size.
  • Every node except root must contain at least n-1 keys. Root may contain minimum 1 key.
  • All nodes (including root) may contain at most 2n – 1 keys.
  • Number of children of a node is equal to the number of keys in it plus 1.
  • All keys of a node are sorted in increasing order. The child between two keys k1 and k2 contains all keys in the range from k1 and k2.
  • B-Tree grows and shrinks from the root.
  • Time complexity to search, insert and delete is O(logn).



  • Let the key to be searched be k.
  • We start from the root and recursively traverse down.
  • For every visited non-leaf node, if the node has the key, we simply return the node.
  • Otherwise, we recur down to the appropriate child (the child which is just before the first greater key) of the node.
  • If we reach a leaf node and don’t find k in the leaf node, we return NULL.



  • Traversal is also similar to in-order traversal of Binary Tree.
  • We start from the leftmost child, recursively print the leftmost child, then repeat the same process for remaining children and keys.
  • In the end, recursively print the rightmost child.
Learn more about DBMS here on this page.