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New server to improve performance on our large and busy DB - advice?

From: "Carlo Stonebanks" <stonec(dot)register(at)sympatico(dot)ca>
To: pgsql-performance(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: New server to improve performance on our large and busy DB - advice?
Date: 2010-01-14 19:17:13
Message-ID: hinqih$1o1l$ (view raw or flat)
Lists: pgsql-performance
My client just informed me that new hardware is available for our DB server.

. Intel Core 2 Quads Quad
. 48 GB RAM
. 4 Disk RAID drive (RAID level TBD)

I have put the ugly details of what we do with our DB below, as well as the 
postgres.conf settings. But, to summarize: we have a PostgreSQL 8.3.6 DB 
with very large tables and the server is always busy serving a constant 
stream of single-row UPDATEs and INSERTs from parallel automated processes.

There are less than 10 users, as the server is devoted to the KB production 

My questions:

1) Which RAID level would you recommend
2) Which Windows OS would you recommend? (currently 2008 x64 Server)
3) If we were to port to a *NIX flavour, which would you recommend? (which 
support trouble-free PG builds/makes please!)
4) Is this the right PG version for our needs?



The details of our use:

. The DB hosts is a data warehouse and a knowledgebase (KB) tracking the 
professional information of 1.3M individuals.
. The KB tables related to these 130M individuals are naturally also large
. The DB is in a perpetual state of serving TCL-scripted Extract, Transform 
and Load (ETL) processes
. These ETL processes typically run 10 at-a-time (i.e. in parallel)
. We would like to run more, but the server appears to be the bottleneck
. The ETL write processes are 99% single row UPDATEs or INSERTs.
. There are few, if any DELETEs
. The ETL source data are "import tables"
. The import tables are permanently kept in the data warehouse so that we 
can trace the original source of any information.
. There are 6000+ and counting
. The import tables number from dozens to hundreds of thousands of rows. 
They rarely require more than a pkey index.
. Linking the KB to the source import date requires an "audit table" of 500M 
rows, and counting.
. The size of the audit table makes it very difficult to manage, especially 
if we need to modify the design.
. Because we query the audit table different ways to audit the ETL processes 
decisions, almost every column in the audit table is indexed.
. The maximum number of physical users is 10 and these users RARELY perform 
any kind of write
. By contrast, the 10+ ETL processes are writing constantly
. We find that internal stats drift, for whatever reason, causing row seq 
scans instead of index scans.
. So far, we have never seen a situation where a seq scan has improved 
performance, which I would attribute to the size of the tables
. We believe our requirements are exceptional, and we would benefit 
immensely from setting up the PG planner to always favour index-oriented 
decisions - which seems to contradict everything that PG advice suggests as 
best practice.

Current non-default conf settings are:

autovacuum = on
autovacuum_analyze_scale_factor = 0.1
autovacuum_analyze_threshold = 250
autovacuum_naptime = 1min
autovacuum_vacuum_scale_factor = 0.2
autovacuum_vacuum_threshold = 500
bgwriter_lru_maxpages = 100
checkpoint_segments = 64
checkpoint_warning = 290
datestyle = 'iso, mdy'
default_text_search_config = 'pg_catalog.english'
lc_messages = 'C'
lc_monetary = 'C'
lc_numeric = 'C'
lc_time = 'C'
log_destination = 'stderr'
log_line_prefix = '%t '
logging_collector = on
maintenance_work_mem = 16MB
max_connections = 200
max_fsm_pages = 204800
max_locks_per_transaction = 128
port = 5432
shared_buffers = 500MB
vacuum_cost_delay = 100
work_mem = 512MB

In response to


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Next:From: Carlo StonebanksDate: 2010-01-14 19:20:30
Subject: Re: Massive table (500M rows) update nightmare
Previous:From: Greg SmithDate: 2010-01-14 18:49:58
Subject: Re: Slow "Select count(*) ..." query on table with 60 Mio. rows

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