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Stats collector performance improvement

From: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
Cc: Michael Fuhr <mike(at)fuhr(dot)org>, Merlin Moncure <merlin(dot)moncure(at)rcsonline(dot)com>, Carlos Benkendorf <carlosbenkendorf(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)br>, PostgreSQL-patches <pgsql-patches(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Stats collector performance improvement
Date: 2006-01-02 18:40:40
Message-ID: 200601021840.k02Ieed21704@candle.pha.pa.us (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackerspgsql-patchespgsql-performance
Tom Lane wrote:
> Michael Fuhr <mike(at)fuhr(dot)org> writes:
> > Further tests show that for this application
> > the killer is stats_command_string, not stats_block_level or
> > stats_row_level.
> 
> I tried it with pgbench -c 10, and got these results:
> 	41% reduction in TPS rate for stats_command_string
> 	9% reduction in TPS rate for stats_block/row_level (any combination)
> 
> strace'ing a backend confirms my belief that stats_block/row_level send
> just one stats message per transaction (at least for the relatively
> small number of tables touched per transaction by pgbench).  However
> stats_command_string sends 14(!) --- there are seven commands per
> pgbench transaction and each results in sending a <command> message and
> later an <IDLE> message.
> 
> Given the rather lackadaisical way in which the stats collector makes
> the data available, it seems like the backends are being much too
> enthusiastic about posting their stats_command_string status
> immediately.  Might be worth thinking about how to cut back the
> overhead by suppressing some of these messages.

I did some research on this because the numbers Tom quotes indicate there
is something wrong in the way we process stats_command_string
statistics.

I made a small test script:
	
	if [ ! -f /tmp/pgstat.sql ]
	then	i=0
		while [ $i -lt 10000 ]
		do
			i=`expr $i + 1`
			echo "SELECT 1;"
		done > /tmp/pgstat.sql
	fi
	
	time sql test </tmp/pgstat.sql >/dev/null

This sends 10,000 "SELECT 1" queries to the backend, and reports the
execution time.  I found that without stats_command_string defined, it
ran in 3.5 seconds.  With stats_command_string defined, it took 5.5
seconds, meaning the command string is causing a 57% slowdown.  That is
way too much considering that the SELECT 1 has to be send from psql to
the backend, parsed, optimized, and executed, and the result returned to
the psql, while stats_command_string only has to send a string to a
backend collector.  There is _no_ way that collector should take 57% of
the time it takes to run the actual query.

With the test program, I tried various options.  The basic code we have
sends a UDP packet to a statistics buffer process, which recv()'s the
packet, puts it into a memory queue buffer, and writes it to a pipe()
that is read by the statistics collector process which processes the
packet.

I tried various ways of speeding up the buffer and collector processes. 
I found if I put a pg_usleep(100) in the buffer process the backend
speed was good, but packets were lost.  What I found worked well was to
do multiple recv() calls in a loop.  The previous code did a select(),
then perhaps a recv() and pipe write() based on the results of the
select().  This caused many small packets to be written to the pipe and
the pipe write overhead seems fairly large.  The best fix I found was to
loop over the recv() call at most 25 times, collecting a group of
packets that can then be sent to the collector in one pipe write.  The
recv() socket is non-blocking, so a zero return indicates there are no
more packets available.  Patch attached.

This change reduced the stats_command_string time from 5.5 to 3.9, which
is closer to the 3.5 seconds with stats_command_string off.

A second improvement I discovered is that the statistics collector is
calling gettimeofday() for every packet received, so it can determine
the timeout for the select() call to write the flat file.  I removed
that behavior and instead used setitimer() to issue a SIGINT every
500ms, which was the original behavior.  This eliminates the
gettimeofday() call and makes the code cleaner.  Second patch attached.

-- 
  Bruce Momjian                        |  http://candle.pha.pa.us
  pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us               |  (610) 359-1001
  +  If your life is a hard drive,     |  13 Roberts Road
  +  Christ can be your backup.        |  Newtown Square, Pennsylvania 19073

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