On Wed, May 27, 2009 at 8:54 PM, Jeff Davis <pgsql(at)j-davis(dot)com> wrote:
> If you're putting a LIMIT on it, why does it return millions of results?
It *doesn't* return millions of results with the LIMIT on it. It just does
a sequential scan of the table and doesn't find any results until it gets to
the last quarter of the table. Sequentially scanning through 3/4 of the huge
table before it gets a single match takes a very long time.
As I said, in my original post, Postgres's approach would be completely
reasonable in this case,* if* the rows that it was looking for were
sprinkled randomly throughout the table. But they're *not* in this case --
they're all at the end.
Can you pick out an interesting query and give some specifics, like:
> * the query
> * the EXPLAIN ANALYZE output (or EXPLAIN without ANALYZE if it takes too
> long to even run once)
> * EXPLAIN ANALYZE output if you force the index scan
> * the statistics for the relevant columns, such as histogram and
As I mentioned, the situation is very simple, and easy to understand what is
going on. There's absolutely no mystery as to why Postgres is doing what
it's doing. 25% of the table matches the query. Postgres *knows* this due
to the statistics histogram for the column. Postgres is deciding to do a
sequential scan because it knows that 25% of the rows match the query.
Unfortunately, in this case, that's a poor approach.
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