Testing autovacuum wraparound (including failsafe)

From: Andres Freund <andres(at)anarazel(dot)de>
To: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org, Peter Geoghegan <pg(at)bowt(dot)ie>
Subject: Testing autovacuum wraparound (including failsafe)
Date: 2021-04-23 20:43:06
Message-ID: 20210423204306.5osfpkt2ggaedyvy@alap3.anarazel.de
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I started to write a test for $Subject, which I think we sorely need.

Currently my approach is to:
- start a cluster, create a few tables with test data
- acquire SHARE UPDATE EXCLUSIVE in a prepared transaction, to prevent
autovacuum from doing anything
- cause dead tuples to exist
- restart
- run pg_resetwal -x 2000027648
- do things like acquiring pins on pages that block vacuum from progressing
- commit prepared transaction
- wait for template0, template1 datfrozenxid to increase
- wait for relfrozenxid for most relations in postgres to increase
- release buffer pin
- wait for postgres datfrozenxid to increase

So far so good. But I've encountered a few things that stand in the way of
enabling such a test by default:

1) During startup StartupSUBTRANS() zeroes out all pages between
oldestActiveXID and nextXid. That takes 8s on my workstation, but only
because I have plenty memory - pg_subtrans ends up 14GB as I currently do
the test. Clearly not something we could do on the BF.

2) FAILSAFE_MIN_PAGES is 4GB - which seems to make it infeasible to test the
failsafe mode, we can't really create 4GB relations on the BF. While
writing the tests I've lowered this to 4MB...

3) pg_resetwal -x requires to carefully choose an xid: It needs to be the
first xid on a clog page. It's not hard to determine which xids are but it
depends on BLCKSZ and a few constants in clog.c. I've for now hardcoded a
value appropriate for 8KB, but ...

I have 2 1/2 ideas about addressing 1);

- We could exposing functionality to do advance nextXid to a future value at
runtime, without filling in clog/subtrans pages. Would probably have to live
in varsup.c and be exposed via regress.so or such?

- The only reason StartupSUBTRANS() does that work is because of the prepared
transaction holding back oldestActiveXID. That transaction in turn exists to
prevent autovacuum from doing anything before we do test setup

Perhaps it'd be sufficient to set autovacuum_naptime really high initially,
perform the test setup, set naptime to something lower, reload config. But
I'm worried that might not be reliable: If something ends up allocating an
xid we'd potentially reach the path in GetNewTransaction() that wakes up the
launcher? But probably there wouldn't be anything doing so?

Another aspect that might not make this a good choice is that it actually
seems relevant to be able to test cases where there are very old still
running transactions...

- As a variant of the previous idea: If that turns out to be unreliable, we
could instead set nextxid, start in single user mode, create a blocking 2PC
transaction, start normally. Because there's no old active xid we'd not run
into the StartupSUBTRANS problem.

For 2), I don't really have a better idea than making that configurable

3) is probably tolerable for now, we could skip the test if BLCKSZ isn't 8KB,
or we could hardcode the calculation for different block sizes.

I noticed one minor bug that's likely new:

2021-04-23 13:32:30.899 PDT [2027738] LOG: automatic aggressive vacuum to prevent wraparound of table "postgres.public.small_trunc": index scans: 1
pages: 400 removed, 28 remain, 0 skipped due to pins, 0 skipped frozen
tuples: 14000 removed, 1000 remain, 0 are dead but not yet removable, oldest xmin: 2000027651
buffer usage: 735 hits, 1262 misses, 874 dirtied
index scan needed: 401 pages from table (1432.14% of total) had 14000 dead item identifiers removed
index "small_trunc_pkey": pages: 43 in total, 37 newly deleted, 37 currently deleted, 0 reusable
avg read rate: 559.048 MB/s, avg write rate: 387.170 MB/s
system usage: CPU: user: 0.01 s, system: 0.00 s, elapsed: 0.01 s
WAL usage: 1809 records, 474 full page images, 3977538 bytes

'1432.14% of total' - looks like removed pages need to be added before the
percentage calculation?


Andres Freund


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