Alex Turner wrote:
This is possible with Oracle utilizing the keep pool

alter table t_name storage ( buffer_pool keep);

If Postgres were to implement it's own caching system, this seems like
it would be easily to implement (beyond the initial caching effort).


On 10/24/05, Craig A. James <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
Jim C. Nasby" <jnasby ( at ) pervasive ( dot ) com> wrote:
Stefan Weiss wrote:
... IMO it would be useful to have a way to tell
PG that some tables were needed frequently, and should be cached if
possible. This would allow application developers to consider joins with
these tables as "cheap", even when querying on columns that are
not indexed.
Why do you think you'll know better than the database how frequently
something is used? At best, your guess will be correct and PostgreSQL
(or the kernel) will keep the table in memory. Or, your guess is wrong
and you end up wasting memory that could have been used for something

It would probably be better if you describe why you want to force this
table (or tables) into memory, so we can point you at more appropriate
Or perhaps we could explain why we NEED to force these tables into memory, so 
we can point you at a more appropriate implementation.  ;-)

Ok, wittiness aside, here's a concrete example.  I have an application with one 
critical index that MUST remain in memory at all times.  The index's tablespace 
is about 2 GB.  As long as it's in memory, performance is excellent - a user's 
query takes a fraction of a second.  But if it gets swapped out, the user's 
query might take up to five minutes as the index is re-read from memory.

Now here's the rub.  The only performance I care about is response to queries 
from the web application.  Everything else is low priority.  But there is other 
activity going on.  Suppose, for example, that I'm updating tables, performing 
queries, doing administration, etc., etc., for a period of an hour, during 
which no customer visits the site.  The another customer comes along and 
performs a query.

At this point, no heuristic in the world could have guessed that I DON'T CARE 
ABOUT PERFORMANCE for anything except my web application.  The performance of 
all the other stuff, the administration, the updates, etc., is utterly 
irrelevant compared to the performance of the customer's query.

What actually happens is that the other activities have swapped out the critical index, and my 
customer waits, and waits, and waits... and goes away after a minute or two.  To solve this, we've 
been forced to purchase two computers, and mirror the database on both.  All administration and 
modification happens on the "offline" database, and the web application only uses the 
"online" database.  At some point, we swap the two servers, sync the two databases, and 
carry on.  It's a very unsatisfactory solution.
We have a similar problem with vacuum being the equivalent of "continuously flush all system caches for a long time". Our database is about 200GB in size and vacuums take hours and hours. The performance is acceptable still, but only because we've hidden the latency in our application.

I've occasionally thought it would be good to have the backend doing a vacuum or analyze also call priocntl() prior to doing any real work to lower its priority. We'll be switching to the 8.1 release ASAP just because the direct IO capabilities are appearing to be a win on our development system.

-- Alan

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