On 7/26/13 8:32 AM, Tom Lane wrote:
What I'd point out is that that is exactly what WAL does for us, ie convert a bunch of random writes into sequential writes. But sooner or later you have to put the data where it belongs.
Hannu was observing that SSD often doesn't do that at all. They can maintain logical -> physical translation tables that decode where each block was written to forever. When read seeks are really inexpensive, the only pressure to reorder block is wear leveling.
That doesn't really help with regular drives though, where the low seek time assumption doesn't play out so well. The whole idea of writing things sequentially and then sorting them out later was the rage in 2001 for ext3 on Linux, as part of the "data=journal" mount option. You can go back and see that people are confused but excited about the performance at http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-fs8/index.html
Spoiler: if you use a workload that has checkpoint issues, it doesn't help PostgreSQL latency. Just like using a large write cache, you gain some burst performance, but eventually you pay for it with extra latency somewhere.
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