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Re: Index corruption

From: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: Marc Munro <marc(at)bloodnok(dot)com>
Cc: pgsql-hackers(at)postgreSQL(dot)org
Subject: Re: Index corruption
Date: 2006-06-30 01:47:17
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
Marc Munro <marc(at)bloodnok(dot)com> writes:
> If there's anything we can do to help debug this we will.  We can apply
> patches, different build options, etc.

One easy thing that would be worth trying is to build with
--enable-cassert and see if any Asserts get provoked during the
failure case.  I don't have a lot of hope for that, but it's
something that would require only machine time not people time.

A couple other things to try, given that you can provoke the failure
fairly easily:

1. In studying the code, it bothers me a bit that P_NEW is the same as
InvalidBlockNumber.  The intended uses of P_NEW appear to be adequately
interlocked, but it's fairly easy to see how something like this could
happen if there are any places where InvalidBlockNumber is
unintentionally passed to ReadBuffer --- that would look like a P_NEW
call and it *wouldn't* be interlocked.  So it would be worth changing
P_NEW to "(-2)" (this should just take a change in bufmgr.h and
recompile) and adding an "Assert(blockNum != InvalidBlockNumber)"
at the head of ReadBufferInternal().  Then rebuild with asserts enabled
and see if the failure case provokes that assert.

2. I'm also eyeing this bit of code in hio.c:

         * If the FSM knows nothing of the rel, try the last page before
         * we give up and extend.  This avoids one-tuple-per-page syndrome
         * during bootstrapping or in a recently-started system.
        if (targetBlock == InvalidBlockNumber)
            BlockNumber nblocks = RelationGetNumberOfBlocks(relation);

            if (nblocks > 0)
                targetBlock = nblocks - 1;

If someone else has just extended the relation, it's possible that this
will allow a process to get to the page before the intended extender has
finished initializing it.  AFAICT that's not harmful because the page
will look like it has no free space ... but it seems a bit fragile.
If you dike out the above-mentioned code, can you still provoke the

A different line of attack is to see if you can make a self-contained
test case so other people can try to reproduce it.  More eyeballs on the
problem are always better.

Lastly, it might be interesting to look at the WAL logs for the period
leading up to a failure.  This would give us an idea of what was
happening concurrently with the processes that seem directly involved.

			regards, tom lane

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