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Re: Status of server side Large Object support?

From: Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: Thomas Hallgren <thhal(at)mailblocks(dot)com>
Cc: Joe Conway <mail(at)joeconway(dot)com>,Peter Eisentraut <peter_e(at)gmx(dot)net>,"pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org" <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>,bryan(at)bulten(dot)ca
Subject: Re: Status of server side Large Object support?
Date: 2004-11-28 23:17:07
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
Thomas Hallgren <thhal(at)mailblocks(dot)com> writes:
> What is the quality of the large object solution today. Does it have 
> known flaws that nobody cares about since it's discontinued or is it 
> considered a maintained and worthy part of the overall solution?

More the former than the latter, I think, at least in the minds of
the usual suspects for backend work.

The main problem I'd see with the idea of supporting over-2GB LOs is
that we store all LOs in a database in the same table (pg_largeobject)
and so you would run into the table size limit (around 16TB IIRC) with
not an amazingly large number of such LOs.  We used to store each LO in
its own table but that was not better, as a few thousand LOs could
easily bring the filesystem to its knees (on platforms where the
directory lookup mechanism doesn't scale to huge numbers of entries in
a single directory).  I don't think there'd be any point in upgrading
the LO support to 64 bits without some rethinking of the underlying
storage structure.

A generic issue with LOs is the extreme pain involved in dump/reload;
not only the difficulty of transporting the LOs themselves, but that
of updating references to them from the database.  Vacuuming
no-longer-referenced LOs is a serious problem too.  If LOs were
considered a first-class feature then I'd want to see more interest
in dealing with those problems.

Lesser issues with LOs are protection (there isn't any), user-accessible
locking (there isn't any), MVCC (there isn't any).  The latter has been
on the to-do list since
I think it could actually be fixed now without too much pain because
there is a mechanism for finding out the surrounding query's snapshot,
which functions could not do before 8.0.

			regards, tom lane

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