On 21 January 2014 23:01, Jeff Janes <jeff.ja...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 9:35 AM, Tom Lane <t...@sss.pgh.pa.us> wrote:
>> Simon Riggs <si...@2ndquadrant.com> writes:
>> > On 6 June 2013 16:00, Heikki Linnakangas <hlinnakan...@vmware.com>
>> > wrote:
>> >> The current situation is that if you run out of disk space while
>> >> writing
>> >> WAL, you get a PANIC, and the server shuts down. That's awful.
>> > I don't see we need to prevent WAL insertions when the disk fills. We
>> > still have the whole of wal_buffers to use up. When that is full, we
>> > will prevent further WAL insertions because we will be holding the
>> > WALwritelock to clear more space. So the rest of the system will lock
>> > up nicely, like we want, apart from read-only transactions.
>> I'm not sure that "all writing transactions lock up hard" is really so
>> much better than the current behavior.
>> My preference would be that we simply start failing writes with ERRORs
>> rather than PANICs.  I'm not real sure ATM why this has to be a PANIC
>> condition.  Probably the cause is that it's being done inside a critical
>> section, but could we move that?
> My understanding is that if it runs out of buffer space while in an
> XLogInsert, it will be holding one or more buffer content locks exclusively,
> and unless it can complete the xlog (or scrounge up the info to return that
> buffer to its previous state), it can never release that lock.  There might
> be other paths were it could get by with an ERROR, but if no one can write
> xlog anymore, all of those paths must quickly converge to the one that
> cannot simply ERROR.

Agreed. You don't say it but I presume you intend to point out that
such long-lived contention could easily have a knock on effect to
other read-only statements. I'm pretty sure other databases work the
same way.

Our choice are

1. Waiting
2. Abort transactions
3. Some kind of release-locks-then-wait-and-retry

(3) is a step too far for me, even though it is easier than you say
since we write WAL before changing the data block so a failure to
insert WAL could just result in a temporary drop lock, sleep and

I would go for (1) waiting for up to checkpoint_timeout then (2), if
we think that is a problem.

 Simon Riggs                   http://www.2ndQuadrant.com/
 PostgreSQL Development, 24x7 Support, Training & Services

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