On Jun 29, 2007, at 4:25 AM, Heikki Linnakangas wrote:

Tom Lane wrote:
Heikki Linnakangas <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
Added a note to the docs that pg_start_backup can take a long time to finish now that we spread out checkpoints:
I was starting to wordsmith this, and then wondered whether it's not
just a stupid idea for pg_start_backup to act that way.  The reason
you're doing it is to take a base backup, right?  What are you going
to take the base backup with?  I do not offhand know of any backup
tools that don't suck major amounts of I/O bandwidth.

scp over a network? It's still going to consume a fair amount of I/ O, but the network could very well be the bottleneck.

That being
the case, you're simply not going to schedule the operation during
full-load periods.  And that leads to the conclusion that
pg_start_backup should just use CHECKPOINT_IMMEDIATE and not slow
you down.

That's probably true in most cases. But on a system that doesn't have quite periods, you're still going to have to take the backup. To be honest, I've never worked as a DBA and never had to deal with taking backups of a production system, so my gut feelings on this could be totally wrong.

I'll share my two cents having had to back up many terabytes of oracle, postgres and mysql every day...

The comments that taking a backup causes a lot of absolutely unavoidable I/O is right on the mark.

If you have a large enough database where this matters the technique usually looks as follows.

(1) sanity
(2) postgres_start_backup
(3) snap
(4) postgres_stop_backup
(5) backup

Now, the backup will always have to read the data, if it is full it reads every block. If it is incremental, it reads the blocks that changed. You will frequently be in the position of performing a full backup. The bandwidth for doing the read will inevitably happen in one or more of the above steps. I strongly prefer that load to happen in (5) and for steps (2,3,4) to happen as quickly as possible. Right now on our largest (slowest) production box which is postgres and over a terabyte, steps 2-4 take about 30-60 seconds. Step 5 takes *cough* about 18 hours *cough*.

The snap in many of our cases is an logical software enabled snapshot (either Veritas, LVM or ZFS). However, you can use many enterprise storage to take a hard snapshot and expose that as a LUN to mount elsewhere on attached to the same SAN. Many confuse this for being "free". Regardless of how the snap is taken you have to pay for it.. either at snap time, at read time or at release time. Nothing's free.

// Theo Schlossnagle
// [EMAIL PROTECTED]: http://omniti.com
// Esoteric Curio: http://www.lethargy.org/~jesus/

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