> What I'm still not clear on is why that HS is different. Whatever rules
> apply on the master must also apply on the standby, immutably. Why is it
> we need to pass explicit snapshot information from master to standby? We
> don't do that, except at startup for normal HS. Why do we need that?
> I hear, but do not yet understand, that the SSI transaction sequence on
> the master may differ from the WAL transaction sequence. Is it important
> that the ordering on the master would differ from the standby?

The logical serializable ordering of transactions in SSI doesn't
necessarily match the commit time ordering (i.e. the WAL sequence). For
example, with two concurrent transactions, T1 might commit after T2,
even though it didn't see the changes made by T2 and thus has to be
considered "earlier".

It doesn't matter whether T1 committed before T2 or the other way
around, as long as no other transaction can tell the difference. If
someone saw the changes made by T1 but not those made by T2, they'd see
T2 as happening before T1, violating serializability. Our SSI code
ensures that doesn't happen by tracking read dependencies. If it
detects that such a read is happening, it rolls back one of the
transactions involved.

Now, if we extend this to hot standby, if T2 commits before T1 on the
master, it obviously will on the slave too. A transaction run on the
slave at the right time might be able to see that T2 has happened but
not T1, which is unserializable. If that transaction had ben run on the
master, then it would have been detected and something would have been
rolled back, but the master has no way to know what data is being read
on the slave.

What Kevin is suggesting is that we already have a mechanism for
identifying snapshots where serialization failures like these will
never happen. If we pass that information to the slave and allow it to
run transactions only on those snapshots, serializability is safe.

Hopefully that made some more sense...


Dan R. K. Ports              MIT CSAIL                http://drkp.net/

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