Two serious security vulnerabilities (code named Meltdown and Spectre) were revealed a couple of weeks ago. Initial tests suggested the performance impact of mitigations (added in the kernel) might be up to ~30% for some workloads, depending on the syscall rate.
Those early estimates had to be done quickly, and so were based on limited amounts of testing. Furthermore, the in-kernel fixes evolved and improved over time, and we now also got retpoline which should address Spectre v2. This post presents data from more thorough tests, hopefully providing more reliable estimates for typical PostgreSQL workloads.
Spectre and Meltdown have caused severe alarm in recent days. You may have read about up to 30% impact on PostgreSQL databases, which I believe to be overstated because of misunderstandings in the media. Let's dig into this in more detail.
TL;DR Summary: no PostgreSQL patch required, -7% performance hit
In response to these new security threats various OS patches have been released. Various authors have published benchmarks around these and they have, in some cases, stated worst-case measurements as impact measurements. For example: stating a 30% hit when, in fact, we are seeing a 7% hit on a busy server. Regrettably, it looks to me like some people outside the PostgreSQL community have spread this news as a problem for PostgreSQL, without clearly stating the workload measured, or (more…)
Last year I wrote about a benchmark which I performed on the Parallel Aggregate feature that I worked on for PostgreSQL 9.6. I was pretty excited to see this code finally ship in September last year, however something stood out on the release announcement that I didn’t quite understand:
Scale Up with Parallel Query
Version 9.6 adds support for parallelizing some query operations, enabling utilization of several or all of the cores on a server to return query results faster. This release includes parallel sequential (table) scan, aggregation, and joins. Depending on details and available cores, parallelism can speed up big data queries by as much as 32 times faster.
It was the “as much as 32 times faster” that I was confused at. I saw no reason for this limit. Sure, if you (more…)
Although in the future most database servers (particularly those handling OLTP-like workloads) will use a flash-based storage, we're not there yet - flash storage is still considerably more expensive than traditional hard drives, and so many systems use a mix of SSD and HDD drives. That however means we need to decide how to split the database - what should go to the spinning rust (HDD) and what is a good candidate for the flash storage that is more expensive but much better at handling random I/O.
There are solutions that try to handle this automatically at the storage level by automatically using SSDs as a cache, automatically keeping the active part of the data on SSD. Storage appliances / SANs often do this internally, there are hybrid SATA/SAS drives with large HDD and small SSD in (more…)
A few days ago we released pglogical, a fully open-source logical replication solution for PostgreSQL, that’ll hopefully get included into the PostgreSQL tree in a not-too-distant future. I’m not going to discuss about all the things enabled by logical replication - the pglogical release announcement presents a quite good overview, and Simon also briefly explained the advantages of logical replication in another post a few days ago.
Instead I’d like to talk about one particular aspect mentioned in the announcement - performance comparison with existing solutions. The pglogical page mentions
... preliminary internal testing demonstrating a 5x increase in transaction throughput (OLTP workloads using pgBench ) over other replication methods like slony and londiste3. So let's see where the statement comes from.
As you may have noted from my previous blog, the last few months were busy in getting Postgres-XL up-to-date with the latest 9.5 release of PostgreSQL. Once we had a reasonably stable version of Postgres-XL 9.5, we shifted our attention to measure performance of this brand new version of Postgres-XL. Our choice of the benchmark is largely influenced by the ongoing work on the AXLE project, funded by the European Union under grant agreement 318633. Since we are using TPC BENCHMARK™ H to measure performance of all other work done under this project, we decided to use the same benchmark for evaluating Postgres-XL. It also suits Postgres-XL because TPC-H tries to measure OLAP workloads, something Postgres-XL should do well.
1. Postgres-XL Cluster Setup
Once the benchmark was decided, (more…)