WIP: "More fair" LWLocks

From: Alexander Korotkov <a(dot)korotkov(at)postgrespro(dot)ru>
To: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: WIP: "More fair" LWLocks
Date: 2018-08-13 15:35:17
Message-ID: CAPpHfdvJhO1qutziOp=dy8TO8Xb4L38BxgKG4RPa1up1Lzh_UQ@mail.gmail.com
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This subject was already raised multiple times [1], [2], [3]. In
short, our LWLock implementation has pathological behavior when shared
lockers constitute a continuous flood. In this case exclusive lock
waiters are not guaranteed to eventually get the lock. When shared
lock is held, other shared lockers goes without any queue. This is
why despite individual shared lock durations are small, when flood of
shared lockers is high enough then there might be no gap to process
exclusive lockers. Such behavior is periodically reported on
different LWLocks. And that leads to an idea of making our LWLocks
"more fair", which would make infinite starvation of exclusive lock
waiters impossible.

This idea was a subject of critics. And I can summarize arguments of
this critics as following:
1) LWLocks are designed to be unfair. Their unfairness is downside of
high performance in majority of scenarios.
2) Attempt to make LWLocks "more fair" would lead to unacceptable
general performance regression.
3) If exclusive locks waiters are faced with infinite starvation, then
that's not a problem of tLWLocks implementation, but that's a problem
of particular use case. So, we need to fix LWLocks use cases, not
LWLocks themselves.

I see some truth in these arguments. But I can't agree that we
shouldn't try to fix LWLocks unfairness. And I see following
arguments for that:
1) It doesn't look like we can ever fix all the LWLocks use cases in
the way, which would make infinite starvation impossible. Usage of
NUMA systems is rising, and more LWLocks use cases are becoming
pathological. For instance, there been much efforts placed to reduce
ProcArrayLock contention, but on multicore machine with heavy readonly
workload it might be still impossible to login or commit transaction.
Or another recent example: buffer mapping lock becomes reason of
eviction blocking [3].
2) The situation of infinite exclusive locker starvation is much worse
than just bad overall DBMS performance. We are doing our best on
removing high contention points in PostgreSQL. It's very good, but
it's an infinite race, assuming that new hardware platforms are
arriving. But situation when you can't connect to the database when
the system have free resources is much worse than situation when
PostgreSQL doesn't scale well enough on your brand new hardware.
3) It's not necessary to make LWLocks completely fair in order to
exclude infinite starvation of exclusive lockers. So, it's not
necessary to put all the shared lockers into the queue. In the
majority of cases, shared lockers might still go through directly, but
on some event we might decide that it's too much and they should to
the queue.

So, taking into account all of above I made some experiments with
patches making LWLocks "more fair". I'd like to share some
intermediate results. I've written two patches for comparison.
1) lwlock-far-1.patch
Shared locker goes to the queue if there is already somebody in the
queue, otherwise obtains lock immediately.
2) lwlock-far-2.patch
New flag LW_FLAG_FAIR is introduced. This flag is set when first
shared locker in the row releases the lock. When LW_FLAG_FAIR is set
and there is already somebody in the queue, then shared locker goes to
the queue. Basically it means that first shared locker "holds the
door" for other shared lockers to go without queue.

I run pgbench (read-write and read-only benchmarks) on Amazon
c5d.18xlarge virtual machine, which has 72 VCPU (approximately same
power as 36 physical cores). The results are attached
(lwlock-fair-ro.png and lwlock-fair-rw.png).

We can see that for read-only scenario there is no difference between
master and both of patches. That's expected, because in this scenario
no exclusive lock is obtained, so all shared lockers anyway go without

For read-write scenario we can see regression in both of patches. 1st
version of patch gives dramatic regression in 2.5-3 times. 2nd
version of patch behaves better, regression is about 15%, but it's
still unacceptable. However, I think idea, that some event triggers
path of shared lockers to the queue, is promising. We should just
select this triggering event better.

I'm going to continue my experiments trying to make "more fair"
LWLocks (almost) without performance regression. Any feedback is

1. https://www.postgresql.org/message-id/0A3221C70F24FB45833433255569204D1F578E83%40G01JPEXMBYT05
2. https://www.postgresql.org/message-id/CAPpHfdsytkTFMy3N-zfSo+kAuUx=u-7JG6q2bYB6Fpuw2cD5DQ@mail.gmail.com
3. https://www.postgresql.org/message-id/CAPpHfdt_HFxNKFbSUaDg5QHxzKcvPBB5OhRengRpVDp6ubdrFg%40mail.gmail.com

Alexander Korotkov
Postgres Professional: http://www.postgrespro.com
The Russian Postgres Company

Attachment Content-Type Size
lwlock-fair-1.patch application/octet-stream 3.3 KB
lwlock-fair-2.patch application/octet-stream 7.4 KB
image/png 44.0 KB
image/png 47.4 KB


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