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Re: Online base backup from the hot-standby

From: Fujii Masao <masao(dot)fujii(at)gmail(dot)com>
To: Simon Riggs <simon(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com>
Cc: Steve Singer <ssinger_pg(at)sympatico(dot)ca>, Jun Ishiduka <ishizuka(dot)jun(at)po(dot)ntts(dot)co(dot)jp>, magnus(at)hagander(dot)net, heikki(dot)linnakangas(at)enterprisedb(dot)com, pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org, robertmhaas(at)gmail(dot)com, cedric(dot)villemain(dot)debian(at)gmail(dot)com
Subject: Re: Online base backup from the hot-standby
Date: 2012-01-25 08:16:40
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 7:54 PM, Simon Riggs <simon(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 9:51 AM, Fujii Masao <masao(dot)fujii(at)gmail(dot)com> wrote:
>>> I'll proceed to commit for this now.
>> Thanks a lot!
> Can I just check a few things?


> You say
> /*
> +        * Update full_page_writes in shared memory and write an
> +        * XLOG_FPW_CHANGE record before resource manager writes cleanup
> +        * WAL records or checkpoint record is written.
> +        */
> why does it need to be before the cleanup and checkpoint?

Because the cleanup and checkpoint need to see FPW in shared memory.
If FPW in shared memory is not updated there, the cleanup and (end-of-recovery)
checkpoint always use an initial value (= false) of FPW in shared memory.

> You say
> /*
> +        * Currently only non-exclusive backup can be taken during recovery.
> +        */
> why?

At first I proposed to allow exclusive backup to be taken during recovery. But
Heikki disagreed with the proposal because he thought that the exclusive backup
procedure which I proposed was too fragile. No one could come up with any good
user-friendly easy-to-implement procedure. So we decided to allow only
non-exclusive backup to be taken during recovery. In non-exclusive backup,
the complicated procedure is performed by pg_basebackup, so a user doesn't
need to care about that.

> You mention in the docs
> "The backup history file is not created in the database cluster backed up."
> but we need to explain the bad effect, if any.

Users cannot know various information (e.g., which WAL files are required for
backups, backup starting/ending time, etc) about backups which have been taken
so far. If they need such information, they need to record that manually.

Users cannot pass the backup history file to pg_archivecleanup. Which might make
the usage of pg_archivecleanup more difficult.

After a little thought, pg_basebackup would be able to create the backup history
file in the backup, though it cannot be archived. We shoud implement
that feature
to alleviate the bad effect?

> You say
> "If the standby is promoted to the master during online backup, the
> backup fails."
> but no explanation of why?
> I could work those things out, but I don't want to have to, plus we
> may disagree if I did.

If the backup succeeds in that case, when we start an archive recovery from that
backup, the recovery needs to cross between two timelines. Which means that
we need to set recovery_target_timeline before starting recovery. Whether
recovery_target_timeline needs to be set or not depends on whether the standby
was promoted during taking the backup. Leaving such a decision to a user seems

pg_basebackup -x ensures that all required files are included in the backup and
we can start recovery without restoring any file from the archive. But
if the standby
is promoted during the backup, the timeline history file would become
an essential
file for recovery, but it's not included in the backup.

> There are some good explanations in comments of other things, just not
> everywhere needed.
> What happens if we shutdown the WALwriter and then issue SIGHUP?

SIGHUP doesn't affect full_page_writes in that case. Oh, you are concerned about
the case where smart shutdown kills walwriter but some backends are
still running?
Currently SIGHUP affects full_page_writes and running backends use the changed
new value of full_page_writes. But in the patch, SIGHUP doesn't affect...

To address the problem, we should either postpone the shutdown of walwriter
until all backends have gone away, or leave the update of full_page_writes to
checkpointer process instead of walwriter. Thought?

> Are we sure we want to make the change of file format mandatory? That
> means earlier versions of clients such as pg_basebackup will fail
> against this version.

Really? Unless I'm missing something, pg_basebackup doesn't care about the
file format of backup_label. So I don't think that earlier version of

> There are no docs to explain the new feature is available in the main
> docs, or to explain the restrictions.
> I expect you will add that later after commit.

Okay. Will do.


Fujii Masao
NTT Open Source Software Center

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