On Fri, Oct 11, 2013 at 2:30 PM, Peter Geoghegan <p...@heroku.com> wrote:
>>> But that's simpler than any of the alternatives that I see.
>>> Does there really need to be a new snapshot type with one tiny
>>> difference that apparently doesn't actually affect conventional
>>> clients of MVCC snapshots?
>> I think that's the wrong way of thinking about it.  If you're
>> introducing a new type of snapshot, or tinkering with the semantics of
>> an existing one, I think that's a reason to reject the patch straight
>> off.  We should be looking for a design that doesn't require that.  If
>> we can't find one, I'm not sure we should do this at all.
> I'm confused by this. We need to lock a row not visible to our
> snapshot under conventional rules. I think we can rule out
> serialization failures at read committed. That just leaves changing
> something about the visibility rules of an existing snapshot type, or
> creating a new snapshot type, no?
> It would also be unacceptable to update a tuple, and not have the new
> row version (which of course will still have "information from the
> future") visible to our snapshot - what would regular RETURNING
> return? So what do you have in mind? I don't think that locking a row
> and updating it are really that distinct anyway. The benefit of
> locking is that we don't have to update. We can delete, for example.

Well, the SQL standard way of doing this type of operation is MERGE.
The alternative we know exists in other databases is REPLACE; there's
also INSERT .. ON DUPLICATE KEY update.  In all of those cases,
whatever weirdness exists around MVCC is confined to that one command.
 I tend to think we should do similarly, with the goal that
HeapTupleSatisfiesMVCC need not change at all.

I don't have the only vote here, of course, but my feeling is that
that's more likely to be a good route.

Robert Haas
EnterpriseDB: http://www.enterprisedb.com
The Enterprise PostgreSQL Company

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