On Sat, 2007-03-31 at 00:51 +0200, Florian G. Pflug wrote:
> Simon Riggs wrote:
> > On Fri, 2007-03-30 at 16:34 -0400, Tom Lane wrote:
> >> "Simon Riggs" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
> >>> 2. pg_stop_backup() should wait until all archive files are safely
> >>> archived before returning
> >> Not sure I agree with that one.  If it fails, you can't tell whether the
> >> action is done and it failed while waiting for the archiver, or if you
> >> need to redo it.
> > 
> > There's a slight delay between pg_stop_backup() completing and the
> > archiver doing its stuff. Currently if somebody does a -m fast straight
> > after the pg_stop_backup() the backup may be unusable.
> > 
> > We need a way to plug that small hole.
> > 
> > I suggest that pg_stop_backup() polls once per second until
> > pg_xlog/archive_status/LOG.ready disappears, in which case it ends
> > successfully. If it does this for more than 60 seconds it ends
> > successfully but produces a WARNING.
> I fear that ending sucessfully despite having not archived all wals
> will make this feature less worthwile. If a dba knows what he is
> doing, he can code a perfectly safe backup script using 8.2 too.
> He'll just have to check the current wal position after pg_stop_backup(),
> (There is a function for that, right?), and wait until the corresponding
> wal was archived.
> In realitly, however, I feare that most people will just create a script
> that does 'echo "select pg_stop_backup | psql"' or something similar.
> If they're a bit more carefull, they will enable ON_ERROR_STOP, and check
> the return value of pgsql. I believe that those are the people who would
> really benefit from a pg_stop_backup() that waits for archiving to complete.
> But they probably won't check for WARNINGs.
> Maybe doing it the other way round would be an option?
> pg_stop_backup() could wait for the archiver to complete forever, but
> spit out a warning every 60 seconds or so "WARNING: Still waiting
> for wal archiving of wal ??? to complete". If someone really wants
> a 60-second timeout, he can just use statement_timeout.

I've just come up against this problem again, so I think it is a must
fix for this release. Other problems exist also, mentioned on separate

We have a number of problems surrounding pg_stop_backup/shutdown:

1. pg_stop_backup() currently returns before the WAL file containing the
last change is correctly archived. That is a small hole, but one that is
exposed when people write test scripts that immediately shutdown the
database after issuing pg_stop_backup(). It doesn't make much sense to
shutdown immediately after a hot backup, but it should still work

2. We've also had problems caused by making the archiver wait until all
WAL files are archived. If there is a backlog for some reason and the
DBA issues a restart (i.e. stop and immediate restart) then making the
archiver loop while it tries (and possibly fails) to archive all files
would cause an outage. Avoiding this is why we do the current
get-out-fast approach.
There are some sub scenarios:
a) there is a backlog of WAL files, but no error has occurred on the
*last* file (we might have just fixed a problem).
b) there is a backlog of WAL files, but an error is causing a retry of
the last file.

My proposal is for us to record somewhere other than the logs that a
failure to archive has occurred and is being retried. Failure to archive
will be recorded in the archive_status directory as an additional file
called archive_error, which will be deleted in the case of archive
success and created in the case of archive error. This maintains
archiver's lack of attachment to shared memory and general simplicity of

- pg_stop_backup() will wait until the WAL file that ends the backup is
safely archived, even if a failure to archive occurs. This is a change
to current behaviour, but since it implements the originally *expected*
behaviour IMHO it should be the default.

- new function: pg_stop_backup_nowait() return immediately without
waiting for archive, the same as the current pg_stop_backup()

- new function: pg_stop_backup_wait(int seconds) wait until either an
archival fails or the ending WAL file is archived, with a max wait as
specified. wait=0 means wait until archive errors are resolved.


  Simon Riggs             
  EnterpriseDB   http://www.enterprisedb.com

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