(Sorry if this ends up being a duplicate post, I sent a reply yesterday, but it doesn't appear to have gone through... I think I typo'd the address but never got a bounce.)

  Thanks for your initial help. I have some more questions below.

At 05:02 AM 5/12/2004, Shridhar Daithankar wrote:
Doug Y wrote:

I've been having some performance issues with a DB I use. I'm trying to come up with some performance recommendations to send to the "adminstrator".

Ok for what I'm uncertain of...
According to http://www.varlena.com/varlena/GeneralBits/Tidbits/perf.html
Its more of a staging area and more isn't necessarily better. That psql relies on the OS to cache data for later use.
But according to http://www.ca.postgresql.org/docs/momjian/hw_performance/node3.html its where psql caches previous data for queries because the OS cache is slower, and should be as big as possible without causing swap.
Those seem to be conflicting statements. In our case, the "administrator" kept increasing this until performance seemed to increase, which means its now 250000 (x 8k is 2G).
Is this just a staging area for data waiting to move to the OS cache, or is this really the area that psql caches its data?

It is the area where postgresql works. It updates data in this area and pushes it to OS cache for disk writes later.

By experience, larger does not mean better for this parameter. For multi-Gig RAM machines, the best(on an average for wide variety of load) value found to be around 10000-15000. May be even lower.

It is a well known fact that raising this parameter unnecessarily decreases the performance. You indicate that best performance occurred at 250000. This is very very large compared to other people's experience.

Ok. I think I understand a bit better now.

Again, according to the Varlena guide this tells psql how much system memory is available for it to do its work in.
until recently, this was set at the default value of 1000. It was just recently increased to 180000 (1.5G)
according to http://www.varlena.com/varlena/GeneralBits/Tidbits/annotated_conf_e.html it should be about 25% of memory?

No rule of thumb. It is amount of memory OS will dedicate to psotgresql data buffers. Depending uponn what else you run on machine, it could be straight-forward or noodly value to calculate. For a 4GB machine, 1.5GB is quite good but coupled with 2G of shared buffers it could push the machines to swap storm. And swapping shared buffers is a big performance hit.

We don't seem to be swapping much:

# top

  2:21pm  up 236 days, 19:12,  1 user,  load average: 1.45, 1.09, 1.00
53 processes: 51 sleeping, 2 running, 0 zombie, 0 stopped
CPU0 states: 30.3% user,  9.1% system,  0.0% nice, 60.0% idle
CPU1 states: 32.0% user,  9.3% system,  0.0% nice, 58.1% idle
Mem:  3863468K av, 3845844K used,   17624K free, 2035472K shrd,  198340K buff
Swap: 1052248K av,    1092K used, 1051156K free                 1465112K cached

looks like at some point it did swap a little, but from running vmstat, I can't seem to catch it actively swapping.

Finally sort_mem:
Was until recently left at the default of 1000. Is now 16000.

Sort memory is per sort not per query or per connection. So depending upon how many concurrent connections you entertain, it could take quite a chuck of RAM.

Right I understand that. How does one calculate the size of a sort? Rows * width from an explain?

Increasing the effective cache and sort mem didn't seem to make much of a difference. I'm guessing the eff cache was probably raised a bit too much, and shared_buffers is way to high.

I agree. For shared buffers start with 5000 and increase in batches on 1000. Or set it to a high value and check with ipcs for maximum shared memory usage. If share memory usage peaks at 100MB, you don't need more than say 120MB of buffers.

My results from ipcs seems confusing... says its using the full 2G of shared cache:

# ipcs

------ Shared Memory Segments --------
key        shmid      owner      perms      bytes      nattch     status
0x0052e2c1 6389760    postgres  600        2088370176 4

------ Semaphore Arrays --------
key        semid      owner      perms      nsems      status
0x0052e2c1 424378368  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2c2 424411137  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2c3 424443906  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2c4 424476675  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2c5 424509444  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2c6 424542213  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2c7 424574982  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2c8 424607751  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2c9 424640520  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2ca 424673289  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2cb 424706058  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2cc 424738827  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2cd 424771596  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2ce 424804365  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2cf 424837134  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2d0 424869903  postgres  600        17
0x0052e2d1 424902672  postgres  600        17
0x00018d45 505544721  root      777        1

------ Message Queues --------
key        msqid      owner      perms      used-bytes   messages

What can I do to help determine what the proper settings should be and/or look at other possible choke points. What should I look for in iostat, mpstat, or vmstat as red flags that cpu, memory, or i/o bound?

Yes. vmstat is usually a lot of help to locate the bottelneck.

What would I be looking for here?

# vmstat 2 10
procs memory swap io system cpu
r b w swpd free buff cache si so bi bo in cs us sy id
0 0 0 1092 14780 198120 1467164 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 1092 19488 198120 1467204 0 0 0 0 240 564 11 5 84
0 0 0 1092 19520 198120 1467300 0 0 0 210 443 1094 29 8 63
0 0 0 1092 15832 198120 1467356 0 0 4 110 368 1455 27 5 68
3 0 0 1092 10956 198120 1467464 0 0 4 336 417 1679 33 10 57
1 0 0 1092 17840 198124 1465980 0 0 200 334 581 1914 63 14 23
1 0 0 1092 16556 198124 1466012 0 0 0 226 397 1069 30 4 66
0 0 0 1092 19096 198124 1466028 0 0 0 160 230 314 12 2 86
2 0 1 1092 16100 198128 1466748 0 0 28 1484 711 1578 23 12 65
0 0 0 1092 20140 198128 1466780 0 0 0 414 291 746 15 8 77

I'm guessing what I should look at is the io: bi & bo ? when I run some particularly large queries I see bo activity so I'm speculating that that means its reading pages from disk, correct?

DB maintenance wise, I don't believe they were running vacuum full until I told them a few months ago that regular vacuum analyze no longer cleans out dead tuples. Now normal vac is run daily, vac full weekly (supposedly). How can I tell from the output of vacuum if the vac fulls aren't being done, or not done often enough? Or from the system tables, what can I read?

In 7.4 you can do vacuum full verbose and it will tell you the stats at the end. For 7.3.x, its not there.

I suggest you vacuum full database once.(For large database, dumping restoring might work faster. Dump/restore and vacuum full both lock the database exclusively i.e. downtime. So I guess faster the better for you. But there is no tool/guideline to determine which way to go.)

Ok they had not done a full vacuum in a long time. I them run vacuumdb --full --analyze --verbose and dump it into a file. What should I look for to see if it was useful?

for example:
INFO: Pages 118200: Changed 74, reaped 117525, Empty 0, New 0; Tup 575298: Vac 11006, Keep/VTL 0/0, UnUsed 2454159, MinLen 68, MaxLen 1911; Re-using: Free/Avai
l. Space 774122944/774122944; EndEmpty/Avail. Pages 0/118200.
CPU 9.41s/1.33u sec elapsed 97.35 sec.

Is there any documentation on what those numbers represent?

Also do we need to use REINDEX on the indexes, or does vacuum full take case of that?

Is there anywhere else I can look for possible clues? I have access to the DB super-user, but not the system root/user.

Other than hardware tuning, find out slow/frequent queries. Use explain analyze to determine why they are so slow. Forgetting to typecast a where clause and using sequential scan could cost you lot more than mistuned postgresql configuration.

Right. One example I can think of is one particular query takes about 120 seconds to run (explain analyze), but if I set enable_seqscan to off, it takes about 10 seconds.

Thank you for your time. Please let me know any help or suggestions you may have. Unfortunately upgrading postgres, OS, kernel, or re-writing schema is most likely not an option.

I hope you can change your queries.

For the most part we're not having too much trouble, just some newer queries were building for some new features is what we're seeing trouble with.



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