Joey Smith <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
>  EXPLAIN ANALYZE SELECT message_idnr FROM messages WHERE mailbox_idnr
> = 1746::bigint AND status<2::smallint AND seen_flag = 0 AND unique_id
> != '' ORDER BY message_idnr ASC LIMIT 1;
>                                                                 QUERY PLAN
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  Limit  (cost=0.00..848.36 rows=1 width=8) (actual
> time=1173.949..1173.953 rows=1 loops=1)
>    ->  Index Scan using messages_pkey on messages 
> (cost=0.00..367338.15 rows=433 width=8) (actual
> time=1173.939..1173.939 rows=1 loops=1)
>          Filter: ((mailbox_idnr = 1746::bigint) AND (status <
> 2::smallint) AND (seen_flag = 0) AND ((unique_id)::text <> ''::text))
>  Total runtime: 1174.012 ms

The planner is correctly estimating that this plan is very expensive
overall --- but it is guessing that the indexscan will only need to be
run 1/433'd of the way to completion before the single required row is
found.  So that makes it look like a slightly better bet than the more
conventional indexscan-on-mailbox_idnr-and-then-sort plan.  If you ask
for a few more than one row, though, it stops looking like a good bet,
since each additional row is estimated to cost another 1/433'd of the
total cost.

Part of the estimation error is that there are only 56 matching rows
not 433, so the real cost-per-row ought to be 1/56'th of the total
indexscan cost.  I suspect also that there is some correlation between
message_idnr and mailbox_idnr, which results in having to scan much
more than the expected 1/56'th of the index before finding a matching
row.

The planner has no stats about intercolumn correlation so it's not going
to be able to recognize the correlation risk, but if you could get the
rowcount estimate closer to reality that would be enough to tilt the
scales to the better plan.  Increasing ANALYZE's stats target for
mailbox_idnr would be worth trying.  Also, I suspect that there is a
strong correlation between seen_flag and status, no?  This again is
something you can't expect the planner to realize directly, but you
might be able to finesse the problem (and save some storage as well)
if you could merge the seen_flag into the status column and do just one
comparison to cover both conditions.

                        regards, tom lane

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