FAQ

On 10 June 2013 07:06, Noah Misch wrote:
On Sun, Jun 09, 2013 at 10:51:43AM +0100, Simon Riggs wrote:
On 9 June 2013 02:12, Noah Misch wrote:
On Sat, Jun 08, 2013 at 08:20:42PM -0400, Robert Haas wrote:
On Sat, Jun 8, 2013 at 5:41 PM, Noah Misch wrote:
Likewise; I don't see why we couldn't perform an optimistic check ASAP and
schedule a final after-statement check when an early check fails. That
changes performance characteristics without changing semantics.
...this seems like it might have some promise; but what if the action
we're performing isn't idempotent? And how do we know?
The action discussed so far is RI_FKey_check_ins(). It acquires a KEY SHARE
lock (idempotent by nature) on a row that it finds using B-tree equality
(presumed IMMUTABLE, thus idempotent). RI_FKey_check_upd() is nearly the same
action, so the same argument holds. Before treating any other operation in
the same way, one would need to conduct similar analysis.
As long as we are talking about FKs only, then this approach can work.
All we are doing is applying the locks slightly earlier than before.
Once locked they will prevent any later violations, so we are safe
from anybody except *ourselves* from making changes that would
invalidate the earlier check. Trouble is, there are various ways I
can see that as possible, so making a check early doesn't allow you to
avoid making the check later as well.
This UPDATE or DELETE that invalidates the check by modifying the PK row will
fire the usual RI_FKey_*_{upd,del} trigger on the PK table. That will (a)
fail the transaction, (b) CASCADE to delete the new FK row, or (c) update the
new FK row's key column to NULL/DEFAULT. If (a) happens we're of course fine.
If (b) or (c) happens, the FK's AFTER check already today becomes a no-op due
to the visibility test in RI_FKey_check(). Consequently, I don't think later
actions of the SQL statement can put us in a position to need a second check.
AFAICS there are weird cases where changing the way FKs execute will
change the way complex trigger applications will execute. I don't see
a way to avoid that other than "do nothing". Currently, we execute the
checks following the normal order of execution rules for triggers.
Every idea we've had so far changes that in some way; variously in
major or minor ways, but changed nonetheless.
I've tried to envision a trigger-creates-missing-references scenario that
would notice the difference. The trigger in question would, I'm presuming, be
an AFTER ROW INSERT trigger named such that it fires before the FK trigger.
The initial optimistic FK check would fail, so we would queue a traditional FK
AFTER trigger. From that point, the scenario proceeds exactly as it proceeds
today. Could you detail a problem scenario you have in mind?
Even the approach of deferring checks to allow them to be applied in a
batch mean we might change the way applications execute in detail.
However, since the only possible change there would be to decrease the
number of self-induced failures that seems OK.

So the question is how much change do we want to introduce? I'll guess
"not much", rather than "lots" or "none".
The batch would need to fire at the trigger firing position of the *last*
queue entry it covers. If you run a final FK check earlier than that, other
AFTER triggers that expect to run before the FK check and affect its outcome
may not yet have run. In contrast, an FK check running later than usual is
mostly fine; whether a tuple has been locked does not affect the semantics of
later ordinary actions in the transaction. (I say "ordinary" to exclude a
function like pgrowlocks() that makes a point to discern. Also note that the
reasoning about timing only applies to definitive FK checks that can throw
errors; a tentative, soft-failure check is acceptable anytime after the new
row is in place.)

One can, however, at least construct problem cases. When a query calls
functions that perform non-transactional actions, changing the timing of an
ERROR with respect to those calls changes application behavior. Taking locks
in a different order affects the incidence of deadlocks. Does compatibility
to that degree have much value? I'd be happy to file those in the "not much
change" category.
Proposal: Have a WHEN clause that accumulates values to be checked in
a hash table up to work_mem in size, allowing us to eliminate the most
common duplicates (just not *all* duplicates). If the value isn't a
duplicate (or at least the first seen tuple with that value), we will
queue up a check for later. That approach gives us *exactly* what we
have now and works with the two common cases: i) few, mostly
duplicated values, ii) many values, but clustered together. Then apply
changes in batches at end of statement.
I'm still fine with this proposal, but it does not dramatically sidestep these
sorts of tricky situations. Suppose a COPY inserts rows with fkcol=1 at TIDs
(0,3), (0,5) and (0,6). You queue the (0,3) check and omit the rest. This
works great so long as (0,3) still satisfies SnapshotSelf by the time the
check actually happens. If (0,3) is dead to SnapshotSelf, the check should
instead happen at the timing of (0,5). If that's dead, at the timing of
(0,6). If that too is dead, the check must not happen at all. By the time
you store enough logistics data to rigorously mirror current behavior, you've
recreated today's trigger queue.
Your earlier comments argue that it is OK to make an early check. The
above seems to argue the opposite, not sure.

IIUYC we can do this:

* search hash table for a value, if found, skip check and continue
* if entry in hash not found make an immediate FK check
* if the check passes, store value in hash table, if it fits
* if check does not pass or value doesn't fit, queue up an after
trigger queue entry

except we want to batch things a little, so same algo just with a
little batching.

* search hash table for a value, if found, skip check and continue
* if entry in hash not found add to next batch of checks and continue
* when batch full make immediate FK checks for whole batch in one SQL stmt
* if a check passes, store value in hash table, if it fits
* if check does not pass or value doesn't fit, queue up an after
trigger queue entry
* when executing queue, use batches to reduce number of SQL stmts

Which hopefully is the amalgam of all the good ideas so far

--
  Simon Riggs http://www.2ndQuadrant.com/
  PostgreSQL Development, 24x7 Support, Training & Services

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