Understanding collections


This document explains the concepts related to collections in Pinecone.

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A collection is a static copy of an index. It is a non-queryable representation of a set of vectors and metadata. You can create a collection from an index, and you can create a new index from a collection. This new index can differ from the original source index: the new index can have a different number of pods, a different pod type, or a different similarity metric.

Indexes in the gcp-starter environment do not support collections.

Use cases for collections

Creating a collection from your index is useful when performing tasks like the following:

  • Temporarily shutting down an index
  • Copying the data from one index into a different index;
  • Making a backup of your index
  • Experimenting with different index configurations

To learn about creating backups with collections, see Back up indexes.

To learn about creating indexes from collections, see Manage indexes.


Collections operations perform differently with different pod types.

  • Creating a collection from an index takes approximately 10 minutes.
  • Creating a p1 or s1 index from a collection takes approximately 10 minutes.
  • Creating a p2 index from a collection can take several hours.


You cannot query or write to a collection after its creation. For this reason, a collection only incurs storage costs.

You can only perform operations on collections in the current Pinecone project.