Richard Rowell wrote:
I'm trying to port our application from MS-SQL to Postgres.  We have
implemented all of our rather complicated application security in the
database.  The query that follows takes a half of a second or less on
MS-SQL server and around 5 seconds on Postgres.  My concern is that this
data set is rather "small" by our applications standards.  It is not
unusual for the da_answer table to have 2-4 million records.  I'm
worried that if this very small data set is taking 5 seconds, then a
"regular sized" data set will take far too long.

I originally thought the NOT EXISTS on the
"da_data_restrict_except_open" table was killing performance, but the
query took the exact same amount of time after I deleted all rows from
this table.  Note that the hard-coded 999999999.0, and 4000 parameters,
as well as the parameter to svp_getparentproviders are the three
variables that change from one run of this query to the next.

I'm using Postgres 7.4.5 as packaged in Debian.  shared_buffers is set
to 57344 and sort_mem=4096.

That shared_buffers value sounds too large for 1GB RAM - rewind to 10000 say. Also make sure you've read the "performance tuning" article at:

I have included an EXPLAIN ANALYZE, relevant table counts, and relevant
indexing information.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve
performance....  TIA!

I think it's the function call(s).

SELECT tab.answer_id, client_id, question_id, recordset_id,
date_effective, virt_field_name
SELECT a.uid AS answer_id, a.client_id, a.question_id, recordset_id,
FROM da_answer a
WHERE a.date_effective <= 9999999999.0
AND a.inactive != 1
5000 = 4000 OR
(EXISTS (SELECT * FROM svp_getparentproviderids(1) WHERE
svp_getparentproviderids = a.provider_id))
 ->  Function Scan on svp_getparentproviderids  (cost=0.00..15.00 rows=5 
width=4) (actual time=0.203..0.203 rows=0 loops=21089)
       Filter: (svp_getparentproviderids = $1)

Here it's running 21,089 loops around your function. Each one isn't costing much, but it's the total that's killing you I think. It might be possible to mark the function STABLE or such, depending on what it does - see

  Richard Huxton
  Archonet Ltd

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