On 2016-06-16 12:43:34 -0400, Robert Haas wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 16, 2016 at 12:14 PM, Andres Freund <and...@anarazel.de> wrote:
> >> > The issue isn't there without the feature, because we (should) never
> >> > access a tuple/detoast a column when it's invisible enough for the
> >> > corresponding toast tuple to be vacuumed away. But with
> >> > old_snapshot_timeout that's obviously (intentionally) not the case
> >> > anymore.  Due to old_snapshot_threshold we'll prune tuples which,
> >> > without it, would still be considered HEAPTUPLE_RECENTLY_DEAD.
> >>
> >> Is there really an assumption that the heap and the TOAST heap are
> >> only ever vacuumed with the same OldestXmin value?  Because that seems
> >> like it would be massively flaky.
> >
> > There's not. They can be vacuumed days apart. But if we vacuum the toast
> > table with an OldestXmin, and encounter a dead toast tuple, by the
> > definition of OldestXmin (excluding STO), there cannot be a session
> > reading the referencing tuple anymore - so that shouldn't matter.
> I don't understand how STO changes that.  I'm not saying it doesn't
> change it, but I don't understand why it would.

Because we advance OldestXmin more aggressively, while allowing
snapshots that are *older* than OldestXmin to access old tuples on pages
which haven't been touched.

> The root of my confusion is: if we prune a tuple, we'll bump the page
> LSN, so any session that is still referencing that tuple will error
> out as soon as it touches the page on which that tuple used to exist.

Right. On the main table. But we don't peform that check on the toast
table/pages. So if we prune toast tuples, which are still referenced by
(unvacuumed) main relation, we can get into trouble.

> It won't even survive long enough to care that the tuple isn't there
> any more.
> Maybe it would help if you lay out the whole sequence of events, like:
> S1: Does this.
> S2: Does that.
> S1: Now does something else.

I presume it'd be something like:

Assuming a 'toasted' table, which contains one row, with a 1GB field.

S1: SELECT SUM(length(one_gb_record)) FROM toasted;
S2: DELETE FROM toasted;
AUTOVAC: vacuum toasted's toast table, it's large. skip toasted, it's small
S1: SELECT SUM(length(one_gb_record)) FROM toasted;
<missing chunk error>

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