ITAGAKI Takahiro wrote:
"Pavan Deolasee" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

The overwhelming vast majoirty of tuples are going to be in one or more
indexes. Which means nearly all tuples are going to fall into this
category. So where's the benefit?
The line pointers can not reused, but the space consumed by the tuple can be.
So the benefit is in utilizing that space for newer tuples and thus reduce the

I think your idea is same as the following TODO Item, that I suggested before.

* Consider shrinking expired tuples to just their headers.

Yeah, same idea. You suggested in that thread that we should keep the headers because of line pointer bloat, but I don't see how that's better. You're still going to get some line pointer bloat, but not able to reclaim as much free space.

In that thread, Tom mentioned that we may need to keep the header because the dead tuple might be part of an update chain. Reading back the discussion on the vacuum bug, I can't see how removing the header would be a problem, but maybe I'm missing something.

One assumption I am  making here is that its sufficient to mark the line pointer
"unused" (reset LP_USED flag) even though there is an index entry pointing to
the tuple. During index scan, we anyways check for ItemIdIsUsed() before
proceeding further. I know it might break the ctid chain, but does that really
matter ? I don't see any reason why somebody would need to follow ctid chain
past a dead tuple.

Keeping only line pointers itself is not a problem, but it might lead
bloating of line pointers. If a particular tuple in a page is replaced
repeatedly, the line pointers area bloats up to 1/4 of the page.

Where does the 1/4 figure come from?

We need to work around the problem.

If a row is updated many times until vacuum comes along, what currently happens is that we end up with a bunch of pages full of dead tuples. With the truncation scheme, we could fit way more dead tuples on each page, reducing the need to vacuum. If a row is for example 40 bytes long, including header (a quite narrow one), you could fit 10 line pointers to the space of one row, which means that you could ideally multiply your vacuum interval by a factor of 10x. That's a huge benefit, though indexes would still bloat unless selects marking index pointers as dead keep the bloat in control.

The problem is that if a tuple is updated say hundreds of times before vacuum, but then it's not updated anymore, you'll have a page full of useless line pointers that are not reclaimed. Clearly we should start reclaiming line pointers, but we can only do that for unused line pointers after the last used one.

Would it be enough cap the number of dead line pointers with a simple rule like "max 20% of line pointers can be dead"? I'd be happy with that.

  Heikki Linnakangas

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