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Derek Buttineau|Compu-SOLVE <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
>> It seems to me a merge join might be more appropriate here than a
>> nestloop.

After some experimentation, I don't seem to be able to get the planner
to generate a mergejoin based on a backwards index scan.  I suspect
it's not considering the idea of a merge using descending order at all.
Might be a good enhancement, although we'd need to figure out how to
keep this from just uselessly doubling the number of mergejoin paths
considered :-(

In the meantime, the nestloop is the only hope for avoiding a

> I'm not entirely sure what's up with the row-count estimates, the tables 
> are updated quite frequently (and VACUUM is also run quite frequently),

They're probably not as bad as they look.  The estimates for the lower
nodes are made without regard to the LIMIT, but the actuals of course
reflect the fact that the LIMIT stopped execution of the plan early.

The problem with this query is that the "fast" plan depends on the
assumption that as we scan in backwards m.msg_date order, it won't take
very long to find 10 rows that join to mr rows with mr.subscription=89.
If that's true then the plan wins, if it's not true then the plan can
lose big.  That requires a pretty good density of rows with
subscription=89, and in particular a good density near the end of the
msg_date order.  The planner effectively assumes that the proportion of
rows with subscription=89 isn't changing over time, but perhaps it is
--- if there's been a lot recently that could explain why the "fast"
plan is fast.  In any case I suppose that the reason the larger server
doesn't want to try that plan is that its statistics show a much lower
density of rows with subscription=89, and so the plan doesn't look
promising compared to something that wins if there are few rows with
subscription=89 ... which the other plan does.

You could probably get your larger server to try the no-sort plan if
you said "set enable_sort = 0" first.  It would be interesting to
compare the EXPLAIN ANALYZE results for that case with the other

The contents of the pg_stats row for mr.subscription in each server
would be informative, too.  One rowcount estimate that does look
wrong is

               ->  Index Scan using maillog_received_subscription_idx on 
maillog_received mr  (cost=0.00..17789.73 rows=4479 width=43) (actual 
time=0.030..33554.061 rows=65508 loops=1)
                     Index Cond: (subscription = 89)

so the stats row is suggesting there are only 4479 rows with
subscription = 89 when really there are 65508.  (The preceding
discussion hopefully makes it clear why this is a potentially critical
mistake.)  This suggests that you may need to raise your statistics

                        regards, tom lane

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