Thursday, June 5, 2014

Utilising caching contrib's pg_prewarm and pg_hibernator in PostgreSQL 9.4.

Numerous DBA's (counting me), put questions all the time to PostgreSQL hackers/developers/architects on mailing list:
  • Q1. Does PG has the ability to cache/warm a relation ?
  • Q2. Is it possible to return to prior state of cache where it was left before shutting down the database server because of maintenance ?

In earlier releases of PostgreSQL, there in no chance of warming a relation or storing a cache states, but from PostgreSQL 9.4 onwards each of the above queries(Q1,Q2) addressed with two contrib modules pg_prewarm and pg_hibernator. Despite the very fact that they're distinctive in practicality, however the combination appears to be extremely viable and useful in future for DBA's. In short about contrib's:
pg_prewarm contrib (Author: Robert Haas), provides the capability to load a relation data into OS buffer cache or PG buffer cache. It has the functionality of first or last block number to prewarm. (Note: It has no special protection on pre-warmed data from cache eviction and also if database instance restarted then re-warm needed on the relations).
pg_hibernator contrib (Author: Gurjeet Singh), provides the capability to automatically save the list of shared buffer contents to disk on database shutdown, and automatically restores the buffers on database startup, much the same as save/restore a snapshot of shared_buffers. It make use PG 9.3 module to register "background worker process" and spawns two process "Buffer Saver", "Buffer Reader" for save/restore. Interestingly, with a little hack, pg_hibernator can also allow standby slave to start serving queries with full speed with same contents of master, will see that in a minute :).
Lastly, we need pg_buffercache module to look inside the current contents of PostgreSQL shared_buffers. This module helps to understand what percentage buffer's occupied by a relation.

Let's put all these contrib's into play and see how they serve the purpose of two questions(Q1,Q2). Am going to use a table 'foo' of size 885MB on my local VM, along with a standard pg_buffercache query.
SELECT c.relname,
       count(*) AS buffers
FROM pg_class c
INNER JOIN pg_buffercache b ON b.relfilenode=c.relfilenode AND c.relname='foo'
INNER JOIN pg_database d ON (b.reldatabase=d.oid AND d.datname=current_database())
GROUP BY c.relname
ORDER BY 2 DESC LIMIT 10;
Usage of pg_prewarm contrib and warming 'foo' table.
postgres=# create extension pg_prewarm;
CREATE EXTENSION 
postgres=# \dt+
                    List of relations
 Schema | Name | Type  |  Owner   |  Size  | Description
--------+------+-------+----------+--------+-------------
 public | foo  | table | postgres | 885 MB |
(1 row)
postgres=# select pg_prewarm('foo');
 pg_prewarm
------------
     113278
(1 row)
--pg_buffercache query output
 relname | buffers
---------+---------
 foo     |  113278
(1 row)
Very simple and straightforward usage of pg_prewarm with a output of blocks warmed in shared_buffers for relation 'foo'. From pg_buffercache query output we can evaluate it that there are 113278 (113278 * 8 / 1024 = 884MB ) buffers of 8KB block size of relation 'foo' which matches with pg_prewarm output. Here, if Postgres server restarts because of some reason, shared_buffers are empty and DBA's need to re-warm again to come back to past warm stage. For a single table, re-warm is always simple except for a group of tables its agony.

At this point, we can make use of pg_hibernator contrib, because it has the flexibility to save the shared_buffer's contents and restore it back at startup. Let's enable pg_hibernator/pg_prewarm together and run a similar exercise by simply including one step of restart and see if the cache state return back as is or not. Am not going to cover installation of pg_hibernator, because on git its very well described, however I would directly jump to implementation part and start the server with pg_hibernator.
postgres 24623     1  0 02:06 pts/4    00:00:00 /usr/local/pgpatch/pg/bin/postgres -D /usr/local/pgpatch/pg/data_10407
postgres 24627 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: logger process
postgres 24631 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: checkpointer process
postgres 24632 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: writer process
postgres 24633 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: wal writer process
postgres 24634 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: autovacuum launcher process
postgres 24635 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: archiver process
postgres 24636 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: stats collector process
postgres 24637 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: bgworker: Buffer Saver
postgres 24638 24623 11 02:06 ?        00:00:01 postgres: bgworker: Block Reader 2

In database server logs at startup time:

-bash-4.1$ more postgresql-2014-06-02_083033.log
LOG:  database system was shut down at 2014-06-02 08:13:00 PDT
LOG:  starting background worker process "Buffer Saver"
LOG:  database system is ready to accept connections
LOG:  autovacuum launcher started
Since, its first time pg_hibernator in play, you can see two process and also logs with some information regarding start of "Buffer Saver". Now, lets prewarm relation 'foo' and restart the server, later check the buffer status whether pg_hibernator filled the buffer back where it was left.
-bash-4.1$ psql -p 10407
psql (9.4beta1)
Type "help" for help.

postgres=# select pg_prewarm('foo');
 pg_prewarm
------------
     113278
(1 row)

--pg_buffercache query output
 relname | buffers
---------+---------
 foo     |  113278
(1 row)
postgres=# \q

-bash-4.1$ /usr/local/pgpatch/pg/bin/pg_ctl -D /usr/local/pgpatch/pg/data_10407 stop
waiting for server to shut down.... done
server stopped

-bash-4.1$ ls -l $PGDATA/pg_hibernator/
total 12
-rw------- 1 postgres postgres  160 Jun  3 01:41 1.global.save
-rw------- 1 postgres postgres  915 Jun  3 01:41 2.postgres.save  

-bash-4.1$ /usr/local/pgpatch/pg/bin/pg_ctl -D /usr/local/pgpatch/pg/data_10407 start
server starting
We have restarted the database server, lets examine the logs
-bash-4.1$ more postgresql-2014-06-03_020601.log
LOG:  database system was shut down at 2014-06-03 02:05:57 PDT
LOG:  starting background worker process "Buffer Saver"
LOG:  database system is ready to accept connections
LOG:  autovacuum launcher started
LOG:  registering background worker "Block Reader 2"
LOG:  starting background worker process "Block Reader 2"
LOG:  Block Reader 2: restored 113433 blocks
LOG:  Block Reader 2: all blocks read successfully
LOG:  worker process: Block Reader 2 (PID 24638) exited with exit code 1
LOG:  unregistering background worker "Block Reader 2"
LOG:  registering background worker "Block Reader 1"
LOG:  starting background worker process "Block Reader 1"
LOG:  Block Reader 1: restored 20 blocks
LOG:  Block Reader 1: all blocks read successfully
LOG:  worker process: Block Reader 1 (PID 24664) exited with exit code 1
LOG:  unregistering background worker "Block Reader 1"
So, "Buffer Reader" has restored blocks of 113433 + 20, out of which 113278 belongs to relation 'foo'. Great, lets connect and see.
-bash-4.1$ psql -p 10407
psql (9.4beta1)
Type "help" for help.

--pg_buffercache query output
 relname | buffers
---------+---------
 foo     |  113278
(1 row)
Cool... pg_hibernator has brought back the cache warmed state without DBA's interference.

Another good thing about pg_hibernator, a newly created standby can have the same shared buffer contents as the master, so that the standby can start serving queries at full speed. To do this exercise, while taking a backup of $PGDATA directory, I have passed SIGTERM to "Buffer Saver" process so that it writes the current state shared_buffers content to disk($PGDATA/pg_hibernator directory) and then followed with standby setup.
postgres 24637 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: bgworker: Buffer Saver
postgres 24653 15179  0 02:06 ?        00:00:01 postgres: wal receiver process   streaming 1/6A000A10
postgres 24654 24623  0 02:06 ?        00:00:00 postgres: wal sender process postgres ::1(65011) streaming 1/6A000A10
After setup, my slave started with same content of primary
-bash-4.1$ psql -p 10477
psql (9.4beta1)
Type "help" for help.

postgres=# select pg_is_in_recovery();
 pg_is_in_recovery
-------------------
 t
(1 row)

--pg_buffercache query output
 relname | buffers
---------+---------
 foo     |  113278
(1 row)
Thanks to both the authors for a wonderful extension on caching.

--Raghav

1 comment :

Raju Angani said...

Was looking for something equivalent to oracle pinning. Good notes Thank you Raghav!

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