Greg Smith wrote:
On Thu, 7 Jun 2007, Heikki Linnakangas wrote:
So there's two extreme ways you can use LDC:
1. Finish the checkpoint as soon as possible, without disturbing other
activity too much
2. Disturb other activity as little as possible, as long as the
checkpoint finishes in a reasonable time.
Are both interesting use cases, or is it enough to cater for just one
of them? I think 2 is easier to tune.
The motivation for the (1) case is that you've got a system that's
dirtying the buffer cache very fast in normal use, where even the
background writer is hard pressed to keep the buffer pool clean. The
checkpoint is the most powerful and efficient way to clean up many dirty
buffers out of such a buffer cache in a short period of time so that
you're back to having room to work in again. In that situation, since
there are many buffers to write out, you'll also be suffering greatly
from fsync pauses. Being able to synchronize writes a little better
with the underlying OS to smooth those out is a huge help.
ISTM the bgwriter just isn't working hard enough in that scenario.
Assuming we get the lru autotuning patch in 8.3, do you think there's
still merit in using the checkpoints that way?
I'm completely biased because of the workloads I've been dealing with
recently, but I consider (2) so much easier to tune for that it's barely
worth worrying about. If your system is so underloaded that you can let
the checkpoints take their own sweet time, I'd ask if you have enough
going on that you're suffering very much from checkpoint performance
issues anyway. I'm used to being in a situation where if you don't push
out checkpoint data as fast as physically possible, you end up fighting
with the client backends for write bandwidth once the LRU point moves
past where the checkpoint has written out to already. I'm not sure how
much always running the LRU background writer will improve that situation.
I'd think it eliminates the problem. Assuming we keep the LRU cleaning
running as usual, I don't see how writing faster during checkpoints
could ever be beneficial for concurrent activity. The more you write,
the less bandwidth there's available for others.
Doing the checkpoint as quickly as possible might be slightly better for
average throughput, but that's a different matter.
On every system I've ever played with Postgres write performance on, I
discovered that the memory-based parameters like dirty_background_ratio
were really driving write behavior, and I almost ignore the expire
timeout now. Plotting the "Dirty:" value in /proc/meminfo as you're
running tests is extremely informative for figuring out what Linux is
really doing underneath the database writes.
Interesting. I haven't touched any of the kernel parameters yet in my
tests. It seems we need to try different parameters and see how the
dynamics change. But we must also keep in mind that average DBA doesn't
change any settings, and might not even be able or allowed to. That
means the defaults should work reasonably well without tweaking the OS
The influence of the congestion code is why I made the comment about
watching how long writes are taking to gauge how fast you can dump data
onto the disks. When you're suffering from one of the congestion
mechanisms, the initial writes start blocking, even before the fsync.
That behavior is almost undocumented outside of the relevant kernel
Yeah, that's controlled by dirty_ratio, if I've understood the
parameters correctly. If we spread out the writes enough, we shouldn't
hit that limit or congestion. That's the point of the patch.
Do you have time / resources to do testing? You've clearly spent a lot
of time on this, and I'd be very interested to see some actual numbers
from your tests with various settings.
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