On Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 10:34 AM, Tom Lane <t...@sss.pgh.pa.us> wrote:
> FWIW, I'm not certain that Stephen is correct to claim that we have
> some concrete problem with sparse files.  We certainly don't *depend*
> on sparse storage anyplace else, nor write data in a way that would be
> likely to trigger it; but I'm not aware that we need to work hard to
> avoid it.

That theory seems inconsistent with how mdextend() works.  My
understanding is that we zero-fill the new blocks before populating
them with actual data precisely to avoid running out of disk space due
to deferred allocation at the OS level.  If we don't care about
failures due to deferred allocation at the OS level, we can rip that
logic out and improve the performance of relation extension
considerably.  If we do care about failures due to deferred
allocation, then leaving holes in the file is a bad idea.

Robert Haas
EnterpriseDB: http://www.enterprisedb.com
The Enterprise PostgreSQL Company

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