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Publish checkpoint timing and sync files summary data to pg_stat_bgwriter

From: Greg Smith <greg(at)2ndQuadrant(dot)com>
To: PostgreSQL-development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Publish checkpoint timing and sync files summary data to pg_stat_bgwriter
Date: 2012-01-16 06:28:29
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Lists: pgsql-hackers
One of the most useful bits of feedback on how well checkpoint I/O is 
going is the amount of time taken to sync files to disk.  Right now the 
only way to get that is to parse the logs.  The attached patch publishes 
the most useful three bits of data you could only get from 
log_checkpoints before out to pg_stat_bgwriter.  Easiest to just show an 

$ createdb pgbench
$ psql -c "select pg_stat_reset_shared('bgwriter')"
$ pgbench -i -s 10 pgbench
$ psql -c "checkpoint"

$ tail $PGLOG
LOG:  checkpoint complete: wrote 590 buffers (14.4%); 0 transaction log 
file(s) added, 0 removed, 0 recycled; write=0.002 s, sync=0.117 s, 
total=1.746 s; sync files=31, longest=0.104 s, average=0.003 s

$ psql -c "select write_ms,sync_ms,sync_files from pg_stat_bgwriter"
  write_ms | sync_ms | sync_files
         2 |     117 |         31

Like the other checkpoint statistics, these are updated in one lump when 
the checkpoint finishes.

This includes rough documentation and the code isn't very complicated; a 
cat version bump is required.  Some open concerns I still have about this:

-The total amount of time in the sync phase is not the same as the total 
of all sync wait times.  I have published the total elapsed sync time.  
The total of the times spent waiting on individual sync calls is also 
available at the point when the above data is collected, and it could be 
published as well.  I don't think that's necessary yet, since they are 
almost identical right now.  But any feature that staggers sync calls 
around might make that distinction important.

-The total checkpoint time is larger than the total of write+sync.  You 
can see that here:  2ms write + 117ms sync = 119ms; total checkpoint 
time is actually 1746ms though.  While I don't normally find the total 
useful from a tuning perspective, it may be sensible to publish it just 
to further reduce any perceived need for log scraping here.

-None of the debug1 level information about individual sync calls can be 
published this way usefully.  I'd like that to come out somewhere 
eventually, but really what's needed there is a performance event 
logging history collector, not pg_stats.  I'm content that this patch 
gets the big picture data out; it's sufficient to let you rule out 
checkpoint problems if they aren't happening.  If you only have to drill 
into the logs when long times start showing up in this data, that's not 
so bad to live with.

-I can't tell for sure if this is working properly when log_checkpoints 
is off.  This now collects checkpoint end time data in all cases, 
whereas before it ignored that work if log_checkpoints was off.  I think 
I will have to fake the logging in this area, make it log some things 
even when log_checkpoints is off, to confirm it gives the right 
results.  I haven't done that yet.

I would like to be able to tell people they need never turn on 
log_checkpoints if they monitor pg_stat_bgwriter instead, because that 
sets a good precedent for what direction the database is going.  It 
would be nice for pg_stat_bgwriter's format to settle down for a long 
period too.  In addition to my small list of concerns here, there seem 
to be an increasing number of write path feature patches floating around 
here lately.  That all works against this being stable.  The main 
consumer of this data I use regularly is the pg_stat_bgwriter graphs 
that Munin produces, and my expectation is that myself and/or Magnus 
will make sure it's compatible with any changes made here for 9.2.

Greg Smith   2ndQuadrant US    greg(at)2ndQuadrant(dot)com   Baltimore, MD
PostgreSQL Training, Services, and 24x7 Support

Attachment: publish-sync-stats-v1.patch
Description: text/x-patch (15.2 KB)


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