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Re: concurrent snapshots

From: Ants Aasma <ants(dot)aasma(at)eesti(dot)ee>
To: Robert Haas <robertmhaas(at)gmail(dot)com>
Cc: PostgreSQL-development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: concurrent snapshots
Date: 2011-09-08 15:33:00
Message-ID: CA+CSw_twr8mkf6J3YY2ffhYmYXRfwGQ2zWkKe_WAZdyVjf47=Q@mail.gmail.com (view raw or flat)
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On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 5:28 PM, Robert Haas <robertmhaas(at)gmail(dot)com> wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 9:26 AM, Ants Aasma <ants(dot)aasma(at)eesti(dot)ee> wrote:
>> When go try to find the new csnmin
>> and discover that a backend has a csnmin that is too old, we go through
>> the snapshots of that backend and convert every snapshot under the
>> desired csnmin to a traditional snapshot.
>
> I thought about something along these lines (though I didn't flesh out
> the details as much as you have here), but rejected it because the
> step described above would require all snapshots to be stored in
> shared memory.  That's problematic for several reasons:
>
> 1. A backend can have lots of snapshots, potentially requiring an
> unbounded amount of shared memory.  We can't accommodate that.

If PostgreSQL gets POSIX shared memory capability at some point in the
future, would it be enough to accommodate snapshots in shared memory?

> 2. You'd need to protect all of those snapshots with spinlocks or
> something, which would be wicked expensive, because the owning process
> would need to take and release that spinlock every time it touched the
> snapshot.

It seems to me that converting a transactions type can be done
lock-free. The process that does the converting needs to ensure that
the new transaction type flag is visible before releasing any xids.
For visibility checking, the additional cost is a read barrier, two
volatile reads (recheck snapshot type and dense horizon) and occasional
retry after getting a visibility result.

Maybe I'm missing something. I'll take a deeper look at the snapshot
handling code tonight to see if anything else might have any
implications.

--
Ants Aasma

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