On Thu, May 5, 2016 at 4:32 PM, Tom Lane <t...@sss.pgh.pa.us> wrote:
> Amit Kapila <amit.kapil...@gmail.com> writes:
>> How about using 512 bytes as a write size and perform direct writes rather
>> than going via OS buffer cache for control file?
> Wouldn't that fail outright under a lot of implementations of direct write;
> ie the request needs to be page-aligned, for some not-very-determinate
> value of page size?
> To repeat, I'm pretty hesitant to change this logic.  While this is not
> the first report we've ever heard of loss of pg_control, I believe I could
> count those reports without running out of fingers on one hand --- and
> that's counting since the last century. It will take quite a lot of
> evidence to convince me that some other implementation will be more
> reliable.  If you just come and present a patch to use direct write, or
> rename, or anything else for that matter, I'm going to reject it out of
> hand unless you provide very strong evidence that it's going to be more
> reliable than the current code across all the systems we support.

I'm not sure how those ideas address the reported problem anyway: the
*length* was unexpectedly zero after a crash.  UpdateControlFile
doesn't change the length of the control file, since it doesn't
specify O_TRUNC or O_APPEND and it always writes the same size.  So it
seems like a pretty weird failure mode affecting filesystem metadata
(which I wouldn't expect to change anyway, but I would expect to be
journaled if it did), not a file-contents-atomicity problem.  Whether
or not the page cache is involved in a write to a preallocated file
doesn't seem relevant to a case of unexpected truncation, and the
atomic rename trick doesn't seem relevant either unless someone with
expert knowledge of NTFS could explain how a crash could lead to
truncation in the first place, and how rename would help.

Thomas Munro

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