Re: Built-in connection pooler

From: Tomas Vondra <tomas(dot)vondra(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com>
To: Konstantin Knizhnik <k(dot)knizhnik(at)postgrespro(dot)ru>
Cc: Ryan Lambert <ryan(at)rustprooflabs(dot)com>, Thomas Munro <thomas(dot)munro(at)gmail(dot)com>, PostgreSQL Hackers <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>, Bruce Momjian <bruce(at)momjian(dot)us>, Dimitri Fontaine <dim(at)tapoueh(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Built-in connection pooler
Date: 2019-07-26 20:24:37
Message-ID: 20190726202437.2svtvcisiujqaoky@development
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Hi Konstantin,

I've started reviewing this patch and experimenting with it, so let me
share some initial thoughts.

1) not handling session state (yet)

I understand handling session state would mean additional complexity, so
I'm OK with not having it in v1. That being said, I think this is the
primary issue with connection pooling on PostgreSQL - configuring and
running a separate pool is not free, of course, but when people complain
to us it's when they can't actually use a connection pool because of
this limitation.

So what are your plans regarding this feature? I think you mentioned
you already have the code in another product. Do you plan to submit it
in the pg13 cycle, or what's the plan? I'm willing to put some effort
into reviewing and testing that.

FWIW it'd be nice to expose it as some sort of interface, so that other
connection pools can leverage it too. There are use cases that don't
work with a built-in connection pool (say, PAUSE/RESUME in pgbouncer
allows restarting the database) so projects like pgbouncer or odyssey
are unlikely to disappear anytime soon.

I also wonder if we could make it more permissive even in v1, without
implementing dump/restore of session state.

Consider for example patterns like this:

SET LOCAL enable_nestloop = off;


EXECUTE x(100000);

or perhaps even

CREATE FUNCTION f() AS $$ ... $$
SET enable_nestloop = off;

In all those cases (and I'm sure there are other similar examples) the
connection pool considers the session 'tainted' it marks it as tainted
and we never reset that. So even when an application tries to play nice,
it can't use pooling.

Would it be possible to maybe track this with more detail (number of
prepared statements, ignore SET LOCAL, ...)? That should allow us to do
pooling even without full support for restoring session state.

2) configuration

I think we need to rethink how the pool is configured. The options
available at the moment are more a consequence of the implementation and
are rather cumbersome to use in some cases.

For example, we have session_pool_size, which is (essentially) the
number of backends kept in the pool. Which seems fine at first, because
it seems like you might say

max_connections = 100
session_pool_size = 50

to say the connection pool will only ever use 50 connections, leaving
the rest for "direct" connection. But that does not work at all, because
the number of backends the pool can open is

session_pool_size * connection_proxies * databases * roles

which pretty much means there's no limit, because while we can specify
the number of proxies, the number of databases and roles is arbitrary.
And there's no way to restrict which dbs/roles can use the pool.

So you can happily do this

max_connections = 100
connection_proxies = 4
session_pool_size = 10

pgbench -c 24 -U user1 test1
pgbench -c 24 -U user2 test2
pgbench -c 24 -U user3 test3
pgbench -c 24 -U user4 test4

at which point it's pretty much game over, because each proxy has 4
pools, each with ~6 backends, 96 backends in total. And because
non-tainted connections are never closed, no other users/dbs can use the
pool (will just wait indefinitely).

To allow practical configurations, I think we need to be able to define:

* which users/dbs can use the connection pool
* minimum/maximum pool size per user, per db and per user/db
* maximum number of backend connections

We need to be able to close connections when needed (when not assigned,
and we need the connection for someone else).

Plus those limits need to be global, not "per proxy" - it's just strange
that increasing connection_proxies bumps up the effective pool size.

I don't know what's the best way to specify this configuration - whether
to store it in a separate file, in some system catalog, or what.

3) monitoring

I think we need much better monitoring capabilities. At this point we
have a single system catalog (well, a SRF) giving us proxy-level
summary. But I think we need much more detailed overview - probably
something like pgbouncer has - listing of client/backend sessions, with
various details.

Of course, that's difficult to do when those lists are stored in private
memory of each proxy process - I think we need to move this to shared
memory, which would also help to address some of the issues I mentioned
in the previous section (particularly that the limits need to be global,
not per proxy).

4) restart_pooler_on_reload

I find it quite strange that restart_pooler_on_reload binds restart of
the connection pool to reload of the configuration file. That seems like
a rather surprising behavior, and I don't see why would you ever want
that? Currently it seems like the only way to force the proxies to close
the connections (the docs mention DROP DATABASE), but why shouldn't we
have separate functions to do that? In particular, why would you want to
close connections for all databases and not just for the one you're
trying to drop?

5) session_schedule

It's nice we support different strategies to assign connections to
worker processes, but how do you tune it? How do you pick the right
option for your workload? We either need to provide metrics to allow
informed decision, or just not provide the option.

And "load average" may be a bit misleading term (as used in the section
about load-balancing option). It kinda suggests we're measuring how busy
the different proxies were recently (that's what load average in Unix
does) - by counting active processes, CPU usage or whatever. But AFAICS
that's not what's happening at all - it just counts the connections,
with SSL connections counted as more expensive.

6) issues during testin

While testing, I've seen a couple of issues. Firstly, after specifying a
db that does not exist:

psql -h localhost -p 6543 xyz

just hangs and waits forever. In the server log I see this:

2019-07-25 23:16:50.229 CEST [31296] FATAL: database "xyz" does not exist
2019-07-25 23:16:50.258 CEST [31251] WARNING: could not setup local connect to server
2019-07-25 23:16:50.258 CEST [31251] DETAIL: FATAL: database "xyz" does not exist

But the client somehow does not get the message and waits.

Secondly, when trying this

pgbench -p 5432 -U x -i -s 1 test
pgbench -p 6543 -U x -c 24 -C -T 10 test

it very quickly locks up, with plenty of non-granted locks in pg_locks,
but I don't see any interventions by deadlock detector so I presume
the issue is somewhere else. I don't see any such issues whe running
without the connection pool or without the -C option:

pgbench -p 5432 -U x -c 24 -C -T 10 test
pgbench -p 6543 -U x -c 24 -T 10 test

This is with default postgresql.conf, except for

connection_proxies = 4


Tomas Vondra
PostgreSQL Development, 24x7 Support, Remote DBA, Training & Services

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