Wednesday, August 16

Spring 2011 PostgreSQL Conferences, US/Canada

Greg's PlanetPostgreSQL, PostgreSQL, United States News
This week's water falling from the skies isn't turning into snow.  And on days when it's clear, my car is covered with tree pollen.  While they means something different to most people, to me these are the signs that the spring conference season is about to start.  There's a conference in North America during each of the next three months containing serious PostgreSQL content, and this year I'm making each of them.PgEast 2011 takes place in New York City starting just over two weeks from now.  If you're nearby, it's not too late to make travel plans.  The location is so easy to reach via train.  The conference venue is right on top of New York's Penn Station, a major train hub.  All the major East Coast cities from Boston to Richmond are easy rides from (more…)

2ndQuadrant Deutschland – Special Training Opening Bargain

International News, PostgreSQL
We are proud to announce that 2ndQuadrant Deutschland (Germany) officially is registered.As opening bargain ...We offer 11 different German PostgreSQL trainings, workshops and crash courses between March and July in Bielefeld for special prises.Topics are about PostgreSQL Administration, Performance tuning, Replication, Advanced Development, SQL and Database Basics. Our special PostgreSQL for MySQLer training is on the list too.Please contact [email protected] for getting details, schedules and prises.Of course besides trainings we offer the whole 2ndQuadrant portfolio.You want that somebody will visit you and help you with your PostgreSQL System?Then 2ndQuadrant is the right address for you, Just contact us.You want to migrate from another DBMS to PostgreSQL and need help / (more…)

Linux filesystems and PostgreSQL checkpoint benchmarks

Greg's PlanetPostgreSQL, PostgreSQL, United States News
Following up on last month's Tuning Linux for low PostgreSQL Latency, there's now been a giant pile of testing done on two filesystems, three patches, and two sets of kernel tuning parameters run.  The result so far is some interesting new data, and one more committed improvements in this area that are in PostgreSQL 9.1 now (making three total, the other two are monitoring patches).  I'll be speaking about recommended practice next month during one of my talks at PostgreSQL East, and I've submitted something in this area for May's PGCon too.  Here I'll talk a bit more about the dead ends too, while those memories are still fresh.The basic problem here is that the way PostgreSQL uses the operating system cache when writing allows large amounts of data to accumulate.  The (more…)

PostgreSQL training for MySQLers

International News, PostgreSQL
Lots of PostegreSQLer also use MySQL.Lots of MySQLer want to use PostgreSQL too.You are MySQLer and want to get more knowledge about PostgreSQL?2ndQuadrant and me are planning to offer special PostgreSQL trainings forMySQLers / MySQL Administrators.Depending on attendees the training will be in English or German.It is planned to do the first training in Bielefeld area (Germany).Also we are thinking about Amsterdam.Other locations might follow.If you have interests to attend the training just contact me for getting more details.

Data generation and hardware quality

Greg's PlanetPostgreSQL, PostgreSQL, United States News
One of the challenges when dealing with a new database design is that you don't know things like how big the tables will end up being until they're actually populated with a fair amount of data.  But if the design has to factor in the eventual scalability concerns, you can't deploy it to obtain that data until the estimation is done.  One way around this is to aggressively prototype things.  Use staging hardware for this purpose that new applications can live on temporarily while sorting details like this out.  You can just factor in that you'll need to move the app and possibly redesign it after a few months, when you have a better idea what data is going to show up in it.The other way to get around this chicken/egg problem is to write a data generator.  Construct (more…)

Hinting at PostgreSQL

Greg's PlanetPostgreSQL, PostgreSQL, United States News
This week's flame war on the pgsql-performance list once again revolves around the fact that PostgreSQL doesn't have the traditional hint syntax available in other databases.  There are a mix of technical and pragmatic reasons behind why that is: Introducing hints is a common source of later problems, because fixing a query place once in a special case isn't a very robust approach.  As your data set grows, and possibly changes distribution as well, the idea you hinted toward when it was small can become an increasingly bad idea.Adding a useful hint interface would complicate the optimizer code, which is difficult enough to maintain as it is.  Part of the reason PostgreSQL works as well as it does running queries is because feel-good code ("we can check off hinting on our (more…)

Tuning Linux for low PostgreSQL latency

Greg's PlanetPostgreSQL, United States News
One of the ugly parts of Linux with PostgreSQL is that the OS will happily cache up to around 5% of memory before getting aggressive about writing it out.  I've just updated a long list of pgbench runs showing how badly that can turn out, even on a server with a modest 16GB of RAM.  Note that I am intentionally trying to introduce the bad situation here, so this is not typical performance.  The workload that pgbench generates is not representative of any real-world workload, it's as write-intensive as it's possible to be.Check out test set 5, which is running a stock development version PostgreSQL 9.1.  Some the pauses where the database is unresponsive during checkpoints, as shown by the max_latency figure there (which is in milliseconds), regularly exceed 40 seconds.& (more…)

Reducing the postgresql.conf, parameter at a time

Greg's PlanetPostgreSQL, PostgreSQL, United States News
One of the more useful bits of PostgreSQL documentation I ever worked on is Tuning Your PostgreSQL Server.  When that was written in the summer of 2008, a few months after the release of PostgreSQL 8.3, it was hard to find any similar guide that was both (relatively) concise and current. Since then, myself and many other PostgreSQL contributors have helped keep that document up to date as changes to PostgreSQL were made. The interesting and helpful trend during that period is that parameters keep disappearing from the set of ones you need to worry about. In PostgreSQL 8.2, there was a long list of parameters you likely needed to adjust for good performance on a PostgreSQL server: shared_buffers, effective_cache_size, checkpoint_segments, autovacuum, max_fsm_pages, (more…)

How not to build PostgreSQL 9.0 extensions on RPM platforms

Greg's PlanetPostgreSQL, PostgreSQL, United Kingdom News, United States News
For a long time, adding packages to RedHat derived Linux systems has been called "RPM Hell", for good reason.  Particularly before the yum utility came about to help, getting RPM to do the right thing has often been a troublesome task.  I was reminded of this again today, while trying to compile a PostgreSQL extension on two nearly identical CentOS systems.PostgreSQL provides an API named PGXS that lets you build server extensions that both leverage the code library of the server and communicate with it.  We use PGXS to install our repmgr utility, and having that well defined API let the program be developed externally from the main server core.  Many popular pieces of PostgreSQL add-ons rely on PGXS to build themselves.  In fact, the contrib modules that come with (more…)

Updates to PostgreSQL testing tools with benchmark archive

Greg's PlanetPostgreSQL, PostgreSQL
I maintain a number of project whose purpose in life is to make testing portions of PostgreSQL easier.  All of these got a decent upgrade over this last week.stream-scaling tests how memory speed increases on servers as more cores are brought into play.  It's fascinating data, enough of it there to start seeing some real trends.  It now works correctly on systems with large amounts of CPU cache, because they have many cores.  It was possible before for it to be so aggressive with sizing the test set to avoid cache impact that it used more memory than could be allocated with the current design of the stream code.  That's been scaled back.  If you have a 48 core server or larger, I could use some more testing of this new code to see if the new way I handle this (more…)