Robert Haas <> writes:
> On Sun, Jul 15, 2012 at 2:29 PM, Tom Lane <> wrote:
>> Yeah, you have a point there.  It's not real clear that switching fsync
>> from off to on is an operation that we can make any guarantees about,
>> short of executing something like the code recently added to initdb
>> to force-sync the entire PGDATA tree.  Perhaps we should change fsync
>> to be PGC_POSTMASTER (ie frozen at postmaster start), and then we could
>> skip forwarding fsync requests when it's off?

> I would argue that such a change adds no measure of safety, anyway.

Well, yes it does, and the reason was explained further down in the
thread: since we have no particular guarantees as to how quickly
postmaster children will absorb postgresql.conf updates, there could be
individual processes still running with fsync = off long after the user
thinks he's turned it on.  A forced restart solves that.  I believe the
reason for the current coding in the fsync queuing stuff is so that you
only have to worry about how long it takes the checkpointer to notice
the GUC change, and not any random backend that's running a forty-hour

> But, at a broader level, I am not very excited about this
> optimization.  It seems to me that if this is hurting enough to be
> noticeable, then it's hurting us when fsync=on as well, and we had
> maybe think a little harder about how to cut down on the IPC overhead.

Uh, that's exactly what's under discussion.  Not sending useless fsync
requests when fsync is off is just one part of it; a part that happens
to be quite useful for some test scenarios, even if not so much for
production.  (IIRC, the original complainant in this thread was running
fsync off.)

                        regards, tom lane

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