Citus Blog

Articles tagged: Postgres

Nazir Bilal Yavuz

Debugging PostgreSQL CI failures faster: 4 tips

Written byBy Nazir Bilal Yavuz | January 18, 2023Jan 18, 2023

Postgres is one of the most widely used databases and supports a number of operating systems. When you are writing code for PostgreSQL, it’s easy to test your changes locally, but it can be cumbersome to test it on all operating systems. A lot of times, you may encounter failures across platforms and it can get confusing to move forward while debugging. To make the dev/test process easier for you, you can use the Postgres CI.

When you test your changes on CI and see it fail, how do you proceed to debug from there? As a part of our work in the open source Postgres team at Microsoft, we often run into CI failures—and more often than not, the bug is not obvious, and requires further digging into.

In this blog post, you’ll learn about techniques you can use to debug PostgreSQL CI failures faster. We’ll be discussing these 4 tips in detail:

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For those of you looking to give a talk at a Postgres conference, some good news: the CFP is open for Citus Con: An Event for Postgres 2023. Citus Con is a free and virtual developer event happening next April, hosted by the Postgres and Citus teams at Microsoft.

Carpe diem, as the CFP will close on Feb 5, 2023 at 11:59pm PST.

Videos of all of the Citus Con talks will be published online for the world to see, including on YouTube—so the reach of your talk is not limited to the day of the event.

Because it’s a virtual event, you won’t need to travel to give your talk. And you don’t need to worry about the process of recording your talk: the organizers take care of the video recording and production—all you need is a decent webcam and microphone. You can see from the playlist of last year’s Citus Con talks that the production values of the videos are quite good.

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As you may have heard, we recently made PostgreSQL 15 generally available in Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL within just 1 week of the PostgreSQL 15 release. The Postgres 15 version is available for you whether you need to create a new cluster in Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL, or upgrade your existing cluster. (Note: you can do in-place major version upgrades in Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL.) And the PostgreSQL 15 support is available in all Azure regions that support Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL.

You may be surprised since it’s usually not the norm for a managed database service to start supporting the new major PostgreSQL version that early… This post will walk you through what’s going on behind the scenes that enables us to do such a feat. Some background before diving in:

Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL is powered by native Postgres and Citus open source—and enables you to run PostgreSQL at any scale, from a single node to a large, distributed cluster. Customers can also scale out as much as they want depending on their needs with many additional features. The Hyperscale (Citus) managed service recently moved into Azure Cosmos DB family (more info on the launch of Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL in this blog post) and with that introduced try Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL for free where you can try out PostgreSQL 15 with Citus 11.1.

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Thomas Munro

Reducing replication lag with IO concurrency in Postgres 15

Written byBy Thomas Munro | November 10, 2022Nov 10, 2022

Reducing replication lag with IO concurrency in Postgres 15

PostgreSQL 15 improves crash recovery and physical replication performance of some large and very busy databases by trying to minimise I/O stalls. A standby server might now have an easier time keeping up with the primary.

How? The change in PostgreSQL15 is that recovery now uses the maintenance_io_concurrency setting (default is 10, but you can increase it) to decide how many concurrent I/Os to try to initiate, rather than doing random read I/Os one at a time. With big and busy databases, when I/O concurrency increases, replication lag can be reduced.

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Nik Larin

News: Postgres 15 available in Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL

Written byBy Nik Larin | October 21, 2022Oct 21, 2022

Big news from the Postgres and Citus team here at Microsoft! Just 1 week after PostgreSQL 15 was released, PostgreSQL 15 GA is generally available in the portal for the Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL managed service—in all Azure regions. Whether you need to provision new clusters in Azure Cosmos DB for Postgres—or upgrade your existing database clusters—Postgres 15 is now a choice for you. Oh, and you can upgrade your existing cluster to Postgres 15 from any of the other supported major Postgres versions, using the in-place major version upgrade feature.

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Melih Mutlu

How to Add More Environments to the Postgres CI

Written byBy Melih Mutlu | September 30, 2022Sep 30, 2022

Have you ever played with Postgres source code and weren’t sure if you broke anything? Postgres has a quite comprehensive regression test suite that helps to ensure that nothing is broken. You can, of course, run those tests on your machine and check if your version of Postgres works properly. But it always works on your machine, right? What about other environments?

In this blog post, you will learn about how to enable and use the Postgres CI (plus how to contribute to it!) based on my experience and learnings creating my first patch to Postgres. Specifically, you’ll learn:

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Samay Sharma

Debugging Postgres autovacuum problems: 13 tips

Written byBy Samay Sharma | July 28, 2022Jul 28, 2022

If you’ve been running PostgreSQL for a while, you’ve heard about autovacuum. Yes, autovacuum, the thing which everybody asks you not to turn off, which is supposed to keep your database clean and reduce bloat automatically.

And yet—imagine this: one fine day, you see that your database size is larger than you expect, the I/O load on your database has increased, and things have slowed down without much change in workload. You begin looking into what might have happened. You run the excellent Postgres bloat query and you notice you have a lot of bloat. So you run the VACUUM command manually to clear the bloat in your Postgres database. Good!

But then you have to address the elephant in the room: why didn’t Postgres autovacuum clean up the bloat in the first place…? Does the above story sound familiar? Well, you are not alone. 😊

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David Rowley

Speeding up sort performance in Postgres 15

Written byBy David Rowley | May 19, 2022May 19, 2022

In recent years, PostgreSQL has seen several improvements which make sorting faster. In the PostgreSQL 15 development cycle—which ended in April 2022—Ronan Dunklau, Thomas Munro, Heikki Linnakangas, and I contributed some changes to PostgreSQL to make sorts go even faster.

Each of the improvements to sort should be available when PostgreSQL 15 is out in late 2022.

Why care about sort performance? When you run your application on PostgreSQL, there are several scenarios where PostgreSQL needs to sort records (aka rows) on your behalf. The main one is for ORDER BY queries. Sorting can also be used in:

  • Aggregate functions with an ORDER BY clause
  • GROUP BY queries
  • Queries with a plan containing a Merge Join
  • UNION queries
  • DISTINCT queries
  • Queries with window functions with a PARTITION BY and/or ORDER BY clause

If PostgreSQL is able to sort records faster, then queries using sort will run more quickly.

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One of the good things with a virtual event like Citus Con is that you have a lot of flexibility about where and when to watch the talks. From your home office, or a café, or the beach—or even the car, while you wait to pick up your kids. As long as you have an internet connection, you’re in.

But you still need to figure out which talks and livestreams you want to watch when the event goes live on Tuesday, April 12. To help you out, we’ve created this guide to Citus Con: An Event for Postgres. And just for kicks I’m calling it the “Ultimate Guide” to CitusCon. (Ha! Since this is a first time event maybe it will be the only guide to Citus Con. Therefore definitely “ultimate”.)

In working on this event—I’m a co-chair along with Teresa Giacomini, also head of the talk selection team—I realized I had “tagged and categorized” each and every talk both in my head and on a spreadsheet. So that’s what this blog post will give you… a framework for knowing which talks are in which categories.

Of course, if you want to see the abstracts for all the talks, just pop over to the Schedule & Sessions page for Citus Con.

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My main advice when running performance benchmarks for Postgres is: “Automate it!”

If you’re measuring database performance, you are likely going to have to run the same benchmark over and over again. Either because you want a slightly different configuration, or because you realized you used some wrong settings, or maybe some other reason. By automating the way you’re running performance benchmarks, you won’t be too annoyed when this happens, because re-running the benchmarks will cost very little effort (it will only cost some time).

However, building this automation for the database benchmarks can be very time-consuming, too. So, in this post I’ll share the tools I built to make it easy to run benchmarks against Postgres—specifically against the Citus extension to Postgres running in a managed database service on Azure called Hyperscale (Citus) in Azure Database for PostgreSQL.

Here’s your map for reading this post: each anchor link takes you to a different section. The first sections explore the different types of application workloads and their characteristics, plus the off-the-shelf benchmarks that are commonly used for each. After that you can dive into the “how to” aspects of using HammerDB with Citus and Postgres on Azure. And yes, you’ll see some sample benchmarking results, too.

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