On Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 5:47 PM, Peter Geoghegan <p...@heroku.com> wrote: > Work is still needed on: > > * Cost model. Should probably attempt to guess final index size, and > derive calculation of number of workers from that. Also, I'm concerned > that I haven't given enough thought to the low end, where with default > settings most CREATE INDEX statements will use at least one parallel > worker. > > * The whole way that I teach nbtsort.c to disallow catalog tables for > parallel CREATE INDEX due to concerns about parallel safety is in need > of expert review, preferably from Robert. It's complicated in a way > that relies on things happening or not happening from a distance. > > * Heikki seems to want to change more about logtape.c, and its use of > indirection blocks. That may evolve, but for now I can only target the > master branch. > > * More extensive performance testing. I think that this V3 is probably > the fastest version yet, what with Heikki's improvements, but I > haven't really verified that.
I realize that you are primarily targeting utility commands here, and that is obviously great, because making index builds faster is very desirable. However, I'd just like to talk for a minute about how this relates to parallel query. With Rushabh's Gather Merge patch, you can now have a plan that looks like Gather Merge -> Sort -> whatever. That patch also allows other patterns that are useful completely independently of this patch, like Finalize GroupAggregate -> Gather Merge -> Partial GroupAggregate -> Sort -> whatever, but the Gather Merge -> Sort -> whatever path is very related to what this patch does. For example, instead of committing this patch at all, we could try to funnel index creation through the executor, building a plan of that shape, and using the results to populate the index. I'm not saying that's a good idea, but it could be done. On the flip side, what if anything can queries hope to get out of parallel sort that they can't get out of Gather Merge? One possibility is that a parallel sort might end up being substantially faster than Gather Merge-over-non-parallel sort. In that case, we obviously should prefer it. Other possibilities seem a little obscure. For example, it's possible that you might want to have all workers participate in sorting some data and then divide the result of the sort into equal ranges that are again divided among the workers, or that you might want all workers to sort and then each worker to read a complete copy of the output data. But these don't seem like particularly mainstream needs, nor do they necessarily seem like problems that parallel sort itself should be trying to solve. The Volcano paper, one of the oldest and most-cited sources I can find for research into parallel execution and with a design fairly similar to our own executor, describes various variants of what they call Exchange, of which what we now call Gather is one. They describe another variant called Interchange, which acts like a Gather node without terminating parallelism: every worker process reads the complete output of an Interchange, which is the union of all rows produced by all workers running the Interchange's input plan. That seems like a better design than coupling such data flows specifically to parallel sort. I'd like to think that parallel sort will help lots of queries, as well as helping utility commands, but I'm not sure it will. Thoughts? -- Robert Haas EnterpriseDB: http://www.enterprisedb.com The Enterprise PostgreSQL Company  "Volcano - an Extensible and Parallel Query Evaluation System", https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/865b/5f228f08ebac0b68d3a4bfd97929ee85e4b6.pdf  See "C. Variants of the Exchange Operator" on p. 13 of  -- Sent via pgsql-hackers mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org) To make changes to your subscription: http://www.postgresql.org/mailpref/pgsql-hackers