Scott Marlowe wrote:
There's an interesting conversation happening on the linux kernel
What's needed is a way for the application developer to explicitely say,
"This object is frequenly used, and I want it kept in memory."
hackers mailing list right about now that applies:
Thanks for the pointer. If you're a participant in that mailing list, maybe
you could forward this comment...
A fundamental flaw in the kernel, which goes WAY back to early UNIX implementations, is that
the nice(1) setting of a program only applies to CPU usage, not to other resources. In this
case, the file-system cache has no priority, so even if I set postmaster's nice(1) value to
a very high priority, any pissant process with the lowest priority possible can come along
with a "cat some-big-file >/dev/null" and trash my cached file-system pages.
It's essentially a denial-of-service mechanism that's built in to the kernel.
The kernel group's discussion on the heuristics of how and when to toss stale
cache pages should have a strong nice(1) component to it. A process with a low
priority should not be allowed to toss memory from a higher-priority process
unless there is no other source of memory.
Getting back to Postgres, the same points that the linux kernel group are discussing
apply to Postgres. There is simply no way to devise a heuristic that comes even close to
what the app developer can tell you. A mechanism that allowed an application to say,
"Keep this table in memory" is the only way. App developers should be advised
to use it sparingly, because most of the time the system is pretty good at memory
management, and such a mechanism hobbles the system's ability to manage. But when it's
needed, there is no substitute.
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