"Jim C. Nasby" <jim(at)nasby(dot)net> writes:
> On Tue, Nov 07, 2006 at 11:05:38AM -0500, Jerry Sievers wrote:
> > Admins; this is (I assume) a not uncommon scenario).
> > Suppose you are managing a BIG ugly DB that's in 24x7 production and
> > desperately in need of constraints of all types.
> > (Of course, you inherited this piece of crap and the irresponsible
> > designers are long gone :-)
> > You have verified that the application now honors the new constraints
> > because on your R&D DBs, the constraints are in place and no
> > constraint violations are occuring.
> > You can't however get business to sign off on proper constraint
> > addition via ALTER TABLE because the tables are huge and this locks
> > out concurrent activity for several hours.
> > My question;
> > Have any of you setup the constraints by doing manual catalog updates
> > and later (or maybe never), gone back and cleaned up the
> > non-conforming data using small batch updates or deletes?
> > Frobing of pg_constraint and pg_depend (at least) would be required.
> > I'm wondering what non-obvious pitfalls exist here?
> > Comments?
> Use the source, luke!
> Hmmm... interesting problem. For some constraints, I think you could
> probably handle things pretty well once we have non-blocking index
> creation (did that get into 8.2?). I guess the real key there would be
> if the constraint creation code will use indexes when checking the
> constraints. This would be especially useful for generic CHECK
> constraints... if you build an index that has a WHERE clause that
> matches the proposed constraint, the backend could just look to see if
> there are any entries in the index. If there aren't, you're good to
Right. The problem is that during production operation, we can't
afford the bulk updates/deletes to bring the data into conformance
with the to be added constraints. We also can't afford the exclusive
locks taken on both sides of the new FK relationship either due to the
Just the updates/deletes alone are likely to bump against client
activity due to the length of time some of these transactions may run.
We'll need to tiptoe around and make such that none of our
administrative activity results in any transaction that takes more
than a few seconds.
Here's the plan that I believe would solve the problem.
1. Clean illegal records from table using small group transactions or
single row deletes/updates. We want short running transactions
so's not to block client activity that may still be able to see and
update these rows. (App has been verified not to put illegal rows
in the DB with respect to nulls etc. but we're not sure the bad
rows can't still be managed by the app through updates and such.
2. Create new NOT NULL, CHECK and/or FK constraints by inserting them
into the catalogs directly. NOT NULL is the simplest and requires
only an update to pg_attribute table. CHECK constraints a bit more
tricky and requires figuring out what goes in the conbin field of
pg_constraint table. FK the most difficult as it requires adding
recs to all of pg_constraint, pg_trigger and pg_depend. The
trigger I guess can be created using standard CREATE TRIGGER
Having done this, we are NOT absolutely guaranteed that the new
constraints are expressed in the DB due to possible client activity
that ran during or after our bulk delete or updates in step #1. We
are however insured that new activity as of the constraint additions
3. Let the DB age beyond any transactions that may have been open
during our initial cleanup pass and repeat cleanup steps again.
Now, we should be up to snuff and fine going forward.
There remains still at least one "fly in the ointment"... new indexes
that may be needed on the child side of FK to allow fast validation on
parent side update/delete still going to require long running
operation that can't concur with live production.
Agreed that in 8.2 the concurrent index functionality can help here.
Finally, as this memo went out early this week and drew only 1 reply
(yours), I intuit that this sort of unorthodox tactics gets no
emotional support from the community!
(Best to don the politician hat and get the downtime authorized to get
this done properly.)
> In the mean time, I suggest using triggers to enforce your
> constraints, > since you can create one without verifying the
> underlying data. > -- > Jim Nasby jim(at)nasby(dot)net > EnterpriseDB
> http://enterprisedb.com 512.569.9461 (cell)
> ---------------------------(end of broadcast)---------------------------
> TIP 9: In versions below 8.0, the planner will ignore your desire to
> choose an index scan if your joining column's datatypes do not
Jerry Sievers 305 854-3001 (home) Production Database Administrator
305 321-1144 (mobil WWW E-Commerce Consultant
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