On Mar 5, 2007, at 11:46 AM, Josh Berkus wrote:

I seem to recall that we've previously discussed the idea of letting the
clock sweep decrement the usage_count before testing for 0, so that a
buffer could be reused on the first sweep after it was initially used,
but that we rejected it as being a bad idea.  But at least with large
shared_buffers it doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

We did discuss an number of formulas for setting buffers with different clock-sweep numbers, including ones with higher usage_count for indexes and starting numbers of 0 for large seq scans as well as vacuums. However, we didn't have any way to prove that any of these complex algorithms would result in higher performance, so went with the simplest formula, with the idea of tinkering with it when we had more data. So maybe now's the time.

Note, though, that the current algorithm is working very, very well for OLTP benchmarks, so we'd want to be careful not to gain performance in one area at
the expense of another.  In TPCE testing, we've been able to increase
shared_buffers to 10GB with beneficial performance effect (numbers posted
when I have them) and even found that "taking over RAM" with the
shared_buffers (ala Oracle) gave us equivalent performance to using the FS cache. (yes, this means with a little I/O management engineering we could contemplate discarding use of the FS cache for a net performance gain. Maybe
for 8.4)

An idea I've been thinking about would be to have the bgwriter or some other background process actually try and keep the free list populated, so that backends needing to grab a page would be much more likely to find one there (and not have to wait to scan through the entire buffer pool, perhaps multiple times).

My thought is to keep track of how many page requests occurred during a given interval, and use that value (probably averaged over time) to determine how many pages we'd like to see on the free list. The background process would then run through the buffers decrementing usage counts until it found enough for the free list. Before putting a buffer on the 'free list', it would write the buffer out; I'm not sure if it would make sense to de-associate the buffer with whatever it had been storing or not, though. If we don't do that, that would mean that we could pull pages back off the free list if we wanted to. That would be helpful if the background process got a bit over-zealous.
Jim Nasby                                            [EMAIL PROTECTED]
EnterpriseDB      http://enterprisedb.com      512.569.9461 (cell)

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