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Hi, Paul

Josh helped my company with this issue -- PG doesn't use shared memory like 
Oracle, it depends more on the OS buffers.  Making shared mem
too large a fraction is disasterous and seriously impact performance. (though I 
find myself having to justify this to Oracle trained
DBA's) :)

What I found was the biggest performance improvement on the write side was to 
turn of file system journaling, and on the read side was
to feed postgres as many CPU's as you can.  What we found for a high use db 
(for example backending a web site) is that 8-400 g cpu's
outperforms 2 or 4 fast cpus.  The fast cpu's spend all of their time context 
switching as more connections are made.

Also make sure your txlog is on another spindle -- it might even be worth 
taking one out of the stripe to do this.

I am running solaris 9 on an e3500 also (though my disc setup is different)

Here's what I have things set to -- it's probably a pretty good starting point 
for you:

# - Memory -

shared_buffers = 65536          # min 16, at least max_connections*2, 8KB each
sort_mem = 12000                # min 64, size in KB
vacuum_mem = 64000              # min 1024, size in KB

# - Free Space Map -

max_fsm_pages = 100000          # min max_fsm_relations*16, 6 bytes each
#max_fsm_relations = 10000      # min 100, ~50 bytes each

# - Kernel Resource Usage -

#max_files_per_process = 1000   # min 25
#preload_libraries = ''


and the tail end of /etc/system:

* shared memory config for postgres
set shmsys:shminfo_shmmax=0xFFFFFFFF
set shmsys:shminfo_shmmin=1
set shmsys:shminfo_shmmni=256
set shmsys:shminfo_shmseg=256
set semsys:seminfo_semmap=256
set semsys:seminfo_semmni=512
set semsys:seminfo_semmsl=1000
set semsys:seminfo_semmns=512
* end of shared memory setting
* Set the hme card to force 100 full duplex and not to autonegotiate
* since hme does not play well with cisco
set hme:hme_adv_autoneg_cap=0
set hme:hme_adv_100fdx_cap=1
set hme:hme_adv_100hdx_cap=0
set hme:hme_adv_10fdx_cap=0
set hme:hme_adv_10hdx_cap=0
set hme:hme_adv_100T4_cap=0

Paul Johnson wrote:

Hi Josh, there are 8 internal disks - all are [EMAIL PROTECTED],000 RPM, fibre

The O/S is on 2 mirrored disks, the Postgres cluster is on the /data1
filesystem that is striped across the other 6 disks.

The shared_buffers value is a semi-educated guess based on having made 4GB
shared memory available via /etc/system, and having read all we could find
on various web sites.

Should I knock it down to 400MB as you suggest?

I'll check out that URL.




I would like to know what /etc/system and postgresql_conf values are

recommended to deliver as much system resource as possible to Postgres. We

use this Sun box solely for single user Postgres data warehousing


What's your disk system?

shared_buffers = 500000

This is highly unlikely to be optimal. That's 3GB. On test linux


up to 8GB, we've not seen useful values of shared buffers anywhere above

400mb. How did you arrive at that figure?

sort_mem = 2097152
vacuum_mem = 1000000

These could be fine on a single-user system. sort_mem is per *sort*


not per query, so you'd need to watch out for complex queries spillling


swap; perhaps set it a 0.5GB or 1GB?
Otherwise, start with the config guide at


Josh Berkus
Aglio Database Solutions
San Francisco

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