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Re: Machine available for community use

From: Greg Smith <gsmith(at)gregsmith(dot)com>
To: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Machine available for community use
Date: 2007-07-25 17:22:19
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Lists: pgsql-hackers
On Wed, 25 Jul 2007, Tom Lane wrote:

> Gentoo always leaves me wondering exactly what I'm running today,
> and I think reproducibility is an important attribute for a benchmarking
> machine.

At this point, there's enough performance variations even between 
individual Linux kernel releases that I'm not sure how much 
reproducibility you're ever going to get here.  Are the differences 
between Gentoo and RHEL any bigger than those, say, between RHEL and SuSE?

The idea of setting this up with a long-term stable distribution runs 
counter to one of the things that I think is important to explore here, 
which is testing how more recent Linux kernels have improved their 
scalability.  Do you really want to put a lot of time into identifying and 
working around the source of a problem with the typically older kernels 
that ship with the more stable releases if one answer is "that goes away 
if you use 2.6.21 or later because they fixed the bug that caused it"? 
I've watched that sort of thing happen with PG+Linux, and when involved in 
one of the recent roving talks Gavin mentioned I recall him mentioning a 
bit of that experience himself.  You'd be hard pressed to find a better 
platform for that kind of experimentation than Gentoo.

The best you can hope for, I think, is that you can walk away with some 
general benchmark expectations and "on Gavin's machine, this worked 
better"; then try to replicate that improvement elsewhere.  If you want to 
push bleeding edge performance, I'd expect it's impractical to do that and 
target long-term results stability at the same time.

* Greg Smith gsmith(at)gregsmith(dot)com Baltimore, MD

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