Hi Craig,

On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Craig Ringer <cr...@2ndquadrant.com> wrote:

> On 01/21/2014 07:43 PM, Christian Convey wrote:
> > Hi all,
> >
> > I'm playing around with Postgres, and I thought it might be fun to
> > experiment with alternative formats for relation blocks, to see if I can
> > get smaller files and/or faster server performance.
> It's not clear how you'd do this without massively rewriting the guts of
> Pg.
> Per the docs on internal structure, Pg has a block header, then tuples
> within the blocks, each with a tuple header and list of Datum values for
> the tuple. Each Datum has a generic Datum header (handling varlena vs
> fixed length values etc) then a type-specific on-disk representation
> controlled by the type output function for that type.

I'm still in the process of getting familiar with the pg backend code, so I
don't have a concrete plan yet.  However, I'm working on the assumption
that some set of macros and functions encapsulates the page layout.

If/when I tackle this, I expect to add a layer of indirection somewhere
around that boundary, so that some non-catalog tables, whose schemas meet
certain simplifying assumptions, are read and modified using specialized

I don't want to get into the specific optimizations I'd like to try, only
because I haven't fully studied the code yet, so I don't want to put my
foot in my mouth.

What concrete problem do you mean to tackle? What idea do you want to
> explore or implement?

My real motivation is that I'd like to get more familiar with the pg
backend codebase, and tilting at this windmill seemed like an interesting
way to accomplish that.

If I was focused on really solving a real-world problem, I'd say that this
lays the groundwork for table-schema-specific storage optimizations and
optimized record-filtering code.  But I'd only make that argument if I
planned to (a) perform a careful study with statistically significant
benchmarks, and/or (b) produce a merge-worthy patch.  At this point I have
no intentions of doing so.  My main goal really is just to have fun with
the code.

> > Does anyone know if this has been done before with Postgres?  I would
> > have assumed yes, but I'm not finding anything in Google about people
> > having done this.
> AFAIK (and I don't know much in this area) the storage manager isn't
> very pluggable compared to the rest of Pg.

Thanks for the warning.  Duly noted.

Kind regards,

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