> > More importantly, I have other, entirely general concerns. Other major
> > RDBMSs have settings that are very similar to max_parallel_degree,
> > with a setting of 1 effectively disabling all parallelism. Both Oracle
> > and SQL Server have settings that they both call the "maximum degree
> > or parallelism". I think it's a bit odd that with Postgres,
> > max_parallel_degree = 1 can still use parallelism at all. I have to
> > wonder: are we conflating controlling the resources used by parallel
> > operations with how shared memory is doled out?
> We could redefined things so that max_parallel_degree = N means use N
> - 1 workers, with a minimum value of 1 rather than 0, if there's a
> consensus that that's better.  Personally, I prefer it the way we've
> got it: it's real darned clear in my mind that max_parallel_degree=0
> means "not parallel".  But I won't cry into my beer if a consensus
> emerges that the other way would be better.
when max_parallel_degree will be renamed to max_query_workers or some
similar, then the new metric has sense. And can be more intuitive.



> > I could actually "give back" my parallel worker slots early if I
> > really wanted to (that would be messy, but the then-acquiesced workers
> > do nothing for the duration of the merge beyond conceptually owning
> > the shared tape temp files). I don't think releasing the slots early
> > makes sense, because I tend to think that hanging on to the workers
> > helps the DBA in managing the server's resources. The still-serial
> > merge phase is likely to become a big bottleneck with parallel sort.
> Like I say, the sort code better not know anything about this
> directly, or it's going to break when embedded in a query.
> > With parallel sequential scan, a max_parallel_degree of 8 could result
> > in 16 processes scanning in parallel. That's a concern, and not least
> > because it happens only sometimes, when things are timed just right.
> > The fact that only half of those processes are "genuine" workers seems
> > to me like a distinction without a difference.
> This seems dead wrong.  A max_parallel_degree of 8 means you have a
> leader and 8 workers.  Where are the other 7 processes coming from?
> What you should have is 8 processes each of which is participating in
> both the parallel seq scan and the parallel sort, not 8 processes
> scanning and 8 separate processes sorting.
> >> I think that's probably over-engineered.  I mean, it wouldn't be that
> >> hard to have the workers just exit if you decide you don't want them,
> >> and I don't really want to make the signaling here more complicated
> >> than it really needs to be.
> >
> > I worry about the additional overhead of constantly starting and
> > stopping a single worker in some cases (not so much with parallel
> > index build, but other uses of parallel sort beyond 9.6). Furthermore,
> > the coordination between worker and leader processes to make this
> > happen seems messy -- you actually have the postmaster launch
> > processes, but they must immediately get permission to do anything.
> >
> > It wouldn't be that hard to offer a general way of doing this, so why
> not?
> Well, if these things become actual problems, fine, we can fix them.
> But let's not decide to add the API before we're agreed that we need
> it to solve an actual problem that we both agree we have.  We are not
> there yet.
> --
> Robert Haas
> EnterpriseDB: http://www.enterprisedb.com
> The Enterprise PostgreSQL Company
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