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pg_plan_guarantee

Guarantee that your plans will never change.

Overview

You work very hard to tune your queries; to get the exact query execution plan that satisfies your performance needs.

But some time later, after either the data has changed suffiently, or the statistics have changed sufficiently, Postgres planner chooses to suddenly pick a query execution plan that makes your application look unresponsive. This shows up on your dashboard as an outage. Now you find yourself running against the clock, to rewrite the query, test it, change the application/ORM, and deploy the changes, and still just hoping that the production database accepts your offerings, and executes your query just acceptably enough, so you can go back to bed.

But if you use the pg_plan_guarantee extension, you will never face such a situation; we can guarantee that. This extension provides a mechanism, using which you can set your execution plan in stone; that is, Postgres will execute the plan you give it, or it will throw an error, but it will never try to guess a plan for you.

Because the data and/or statistics change gradually over time, you can be fairly confident that the guaraneed-plan will continue to serve your needs in a graceful manner. That is, your guaranted-plan will degrade gracefully, as opposed to suddenly, at the most inopportune time.

Note: the term pgpg in the text below, and in the code, stands for/is an acronym of the extension's name, PG_Plan_Guarantee.

Installation

Place the extension in the extensions directory under the Postgres installation directory. Then add the name of the extension, pg_plan_guarantee, to the share_preload_libraries variable in the postgresql.conf file.

Disabling the Extension

If you ever wish to disable the extension, you can do so by adding the parameter pg_plan_guarantee.enabled, and setting its value to false. This way you don't really have to remove the extension from the filesystem, or from the shared_preload_libraries parameter.

How to Use

The pg_plan_guarantee extension is designed to be used in two steps. In the first step, you ask the extension to generate the guaranteed-plan. In the second step, you use ask the extension to use the guaranteed-plan. Please see the Demo section, below, to see these steps in action.

To generate the guaranteed-plan, embed your query in the first string of the following SQL command:

select $pgpg$ your query $pgpg$
         as query,
       '' as plan;

The output of the above command will produce the guaranteed-plan in the second column of the result-set.

To use the guaranteed-plan produded by the first step, you embed the guaranteed-plan in the second string of the same SQL command, like so:

select  $pgpg$ your query $pgpg$
            as query,
        $pgpg$ guaranteed-plan $pgpg$
            as plan;

Demo

Generate the guaranteed-plan.

=# select $pgpg$select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class'$pgpg$
            as query,
        ''
            as plan;
-[ RECORD 1 ]-----
query | select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class'
plan  | {PLANNEDSTMT :commandType 1 :queryId 0 :hasReturning false :hasModifyingCTE false :canSetTag true :transientPlan false :dependsOnRole false :parallelModeNeeded false :jitFlags 0 :planTree {INDEXSCAN :startup_cost 0.27 :total_cost 8.29 :plan_rows 1 :plan_width 1 :parallel_aware false :parallel_safe true :async_capable false :plan_node_id 0 :targetlist ({TARGETENTRY :expr {VAR :varno 1 :varattno 17 :vartype 18 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 0 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 17 :location 7} :resno 1 :resname relkind :ressortgroupref 0 :resorigtbl 1259 :resorigcol 17 :resjunk false}) :qual <> :lefttree <> :righttree <> :initPlan <> :extParam (b) :allParam (b) :scanrelid 1 :indexid 2663 :indexqual ({OPEXPR :opno 93 :opfuncid 62 :opresulttype 16 :opretset false :opcollid 0 :inputcollid 950 :args ({VAR :varno -3 :varattno 1 :vartype 19 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 950 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 2 :location 35} {CONST :consttype 19 :consttypmod -1 :constcollid 950 :constlen 64 :constbyval false :constisnull false :location 45 :constvalue 64 [ 112 103 95 99 108 97 115 115 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ]}) :location 43}) :indexqualorig ({OPEXPR :opno 93 :opfuncid 62 :opresulttype 16 :opretset false :opcollid 0 :inputcollid 950 :args ({VAR :varno 1 :varattno 2 :vartype 19 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 950 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 2 :location 35} {CONST :consttype 19 :consttypmod -1 :constcollid 950 :constlen 64 :constbyval false :constisnull false :location 45 :constvalue 64 [ 112 103 95 99 108 97 115 115 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ]}) :location 43}) :indexorderby <> :indexorderbyorig <> :indexorderbyops <> :indexorderdir 1} :rtable ({RANGETBLENTRY :alias <> :eref {ALIAS :aliasname pg_class :colnames ("oid" "relname" "relnamespace" "reltype" "reloftype" "relowner" "relam" "relfilenode" "reltablespace" "relpages" "reltuples" "relallvisible" "reltoastrelid" "relhasindex" "relisshared" "relpersistence" "relkind" "relnatts" "relchecks" "relhasrules" "relhastriggers" "relhassubclass" "relrowsecurity" "relforcerowsecurity" "relispopulated" "relreplident" "relispartition" "relrewrite" "relfrozenxid" "relminmxid" "relacl" "reloptions" "relpartbound")} :rtekind 0 :relid 1259 :relkind r :rellockmode 1 :tablesample <> :lateral false :inh false :inFromCl true :requiredPerms 2 :checkAsUser 0 :selectedCols (b 9 24) :insertedCols (b) :updatedCols (b) :extraUpdatedCols (b) :securityQuals <>}) :resultRelations <> :appendRelations <> :subplans <> :rewindPlanIDs (b) :rowMarks <> :relationOids (o 1259) :invalItems <> :paramExecTypes <> :utilityStmt <> :stmt_location 0 :stmt_len 0}

Use the guaranteed plan.

 =# select $pgpg$select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class'$pgpg$
            as query,
        $pgpg${PLANNEDSTMT :commandType 1 :queryId 0 :hasReturning false :hasModifyingCTE false :canSetTag true :transientPlan false :dependsOnRole false :parallelModeNeeded false :jitFlags 0 :planTree {INDEXSCAN :startup_cost 0.27 :total_cost 8.29 :plan_rows 1 :plan_width 1 :parallel_aware false :parallel_safe true :async_capable false :plan_node_id 0 :targetlist ({TARGETENTRY :expr {VAR :varno 1 :varattno 17 :vartype 18 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 0 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 17 :location 7} :resno 1 :resname relkind :ressortgroupref 0 :resorigtbl 1259 :resorigcol 17 :resjunk false}) :qual <> :lefttree <> :righttree <> :initPlan <> :extParam (b) :allParam (b) :scanrelid 1 :indexid 2663 :indexqual ({OPEXPR :opno 93 :opfuncid 62 :opresulttype 16 :opretset false :opcollid 0 :inputcollid 950 :args ({VAR :varno -3 :varattno 1 :vartype 19 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 950 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 2 :location 35} {CONST :consttype 19 :consttypmod -1 :constcollid 950 :constlen 64 :constbyval false :constisnull false :location 45 :constvalue 64 [ 112 103 95 99 108 97 115 115 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ]}) :location 43}) :indexqualorig ({OPEXPR :opno 93 :opfuncid 62 :opresulttype 16 :opretset false :opcollid 0 :inputcollid 950 :args ({VAR :varno 1 :varattno 2 :vartype 19 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 950 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 2 :location 35} {CONST :consttype 19 :consttypmod -1 :constcollid 950 :constlen 64 :constbyval false :constisnull false :location 45 :constvalue 64 [ 112 103 95 99 108 97 115 115 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ]}) :location 43}) :indexorderby <> :indexorderbyorig <> :indexorderbyops <> :indexorderdir 1} :rtable ({RANGETBLENTRY :alias <> :eref {ALIAS :aliasname pg_class :colnames ("oid" "relname" "relnamespace" "reltype" "reloftype" "relowner" "relam" "relfilenode" "reltablespace" "relpages" "reltuples" "relallvisible" "reltoastrelid" "relhasindex" "relisshared" "relpersistence" "relkind" "relnatts" "relchecks" "relhasrules" "relhastriggers" "relhassubclass" "relrowsecurity" "relforcerowsecurity" "relispopulated" "relreplident" "relispartition" "relrewrite" "relfrozenxid" "relminmxid" "relacl" "reloptions" "relpartbound")} :rtekind 0 :relid 1259 :relkind r :rellockmode 1 :tablesample <> :lateral false :inh false :inFromCl true :requiredPerms 2 :checkAsUser 0 :selectedCols (b 9 24) :insertedCols (b) :updatedCols (b) :extraUpdatedCols (b) :securityQuals <>}) :resultRelations <> :appendRelations <> :subplans <> :rewindPlanIDs (b) :rowMarks <> :relationOids (o 1259) :invalItems <> :paramExecTypes <> :utilityStmt <> :stmt_location 0 :stmt_len 0}$pgpg$
            as plan;
 relkind
---------
 r
(1 row)

To see what's going on in the background, add the auto_explain extension to shared_preload_libraries, and set client_min_messages to log.

=# load 'auto_explain';
LOAD
=# set auto_explain.log_min_duration = 0;
SET
=# set client_min_messages = log;
SET

By default, our query uses Index Scan.

=# select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class';
LOG:  <redacted>
Query Text: <redacted>
Index Scan using pg_class_relname_nsp_index on pg_class  (cost=0.27..8.29 rows=1 width=1)
  Index Cond: (relname = 'pg_class'::name)
 relkind
---------
 r
(1 row)

Let's perform tuning to make it use a plan we want it to, say, sequential scan.

=# set enable_indexscan = off;
SET
=# set enable_bitmapscan = off;
SET
=# select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class';
LOG:  <redacted>
Query Text: <redacted>
Seq Scan on pg_class  (cost=0.00..19.05 rows=1 width=1)
  Filter: (relname = 'pg_class'::name)
 relkind
---------
 r
(1 row)

Now that we have our desired plan being generated by the Query Planner, let's generate a guaranteed-plan.

=# select   $pgpg$select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class'$pgpg$
                as query,
            ''
                as plan;
LOG:  <redacted>
Query Text: <redacted>
Result  (cost=0.00..0.01 rows=1 width=64)
-[ RECORD 1 ]-----------
query | select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class'
plan  | {PLANNEDSTMT :commandType 1 :queryId 0 :hasReturning false :hasModifyingCTE false :canSetTag true :transientPlan false :dependsOnRole false :parallelModeNeeded false :jitFlags 0 :planTree {SEQSCAN :startup_cost 0.00 :total_cost 19.05 :plan_rows 1 :plan_width 1 :parallel_aware false :parallel_safe true :async_capable false :plan_node_id 0 :targetlist ({TARGETENTRY :expr {VAR :varno 1 :varattno 17 :vartype 18 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 0 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 17 :location 7} :resno 1 :resname relkind :ressortgroupref 0 :resorigtbl 1259 :resorigcol 17 :resjunk false}) :qual ({OPEXPR :opno 93 :opfuncid 62 :opresulttype 16 :opretset false :opcollid 0 :inputcollid 950 :args ({VAR :varno 1 :varattno 2 :vartype 19 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 950 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 2 :location 35} {CONST :consttype 19 :consttypmod -1 :constcollid 950 :constlen 64 :constbyval false :constisnull false :location 45 :constvalue 64 [ 112 103 95 99 108 97 115 115 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ]}) :location 43}) :lefttree <> :righttree <> :initPlan <> :extParam (b) :allParam (b) :scanrelid 1} :rtable ({RANGETBLENTRY :alias <> :eref {ALIAS :aliasname pg_class :colnames ("oid" "relname" "relnamespace" "reltype" "reloftype" "relowner" "relam" "relfilenode" "reltablespace" "relpages" "reltuples" "relallvisible" "reltoastrelid" "relhasindex" "relisshared" "relpersistence" "relkind" "relnatts" "relchecks" "relhasrules" "relhastriggers" "relhassubclass" "relrowsecurity" "relforcerowsecurity" "relispopulated" "relreplident" "relispartition" "relrewrite" "relfrozenxid" "relminmxid" "relacl" "reloptions" "relpartbound")} :rtekind 0 :relid 1259 :relkind r :rellockmode 1 :tablesample <> :lateral false :inh false :inFromCl true :requiredPerms 2 :checkAsUser 0 :selectedCols (b 9 24) :insertedCols (b) :updatedCols (b) :extraUpdatedCols (b) :securityQuals <>}) :resultRelations <> :appendRelations <> :subplans <> :rewindPlanIDs (b) :rowMarks <> :relationOids (o 1259) :invalItems <> :paramExecTypes <> :utilityStmt <> :stmt_location 0 :stmt_len 0}

Now let's revert the configuration changes, and then show that despite changes in the tuning/configuration, the guranteed-plan is guaranteed to be used.

=# reset enable_indexscan;
RESET
=# reset enable_bitmapscan;
RESET

Show that the query now reverts to Index Scan.

=# select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class';
LOG:  <redacted>
Query Text: <redacted>
Index Scan using pg_class_relname_nsp_index on pg_class  (cost=0.27..8.29 rows=1 width=1)
  Index Cond: (relname = 'pg_class'::name)
 relkind
---------
 r
(1 row)

Now use the guaranteed-plan, and see how, despite all the changes in configuration, the pg_plan_guarantee extenstion forces the use of the guaranteed-plan.

=# select   $pgpg$ select relkind from pg_class where relname = 'pg_class' $pgpg$
                as query,
            $pgpg$ {PLANNEDSTMT :commandType 1 :queryId 0 :hasReturning false :hasModifyingCTE false :canSetTag true :transientPlan false :dependsOnRole false :parallelModeNeeded false :jitFlags 0 :planTree {SEQSCAN :startup_cost 0.00 :total_cost 19.05 :plan_rows 1 :plan_width 1 :parallel_aware false :parallel_safe true :async_capable false :plan_node_id 0 :targetlist ({TARGETENTRY :expr {VAR :varno 1 :varattno 17 :vartype 18 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 0 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 17 :location 7} :resno 1 :resname relkind :ressortgroupref 0 :resorigtbl 1259 :resorigcol 17 :resjunk false}) :qual ({OPEXPR :opno 93 :opfuncid 62 :opresulttype 16 :opretset false :opcollid 0 :inputcollid 950 :args ({VAR :varno 1 :varattno 2 :vartype 19 :vartypmod -1 :varcollid 950 :varlevelsup 0 :varnosyn 1 :varattnosyn 2 :location 35} {CONST :consttype 19 :consttypmod -1 :constcollid 950 :constlen 64 :constbyval false :constisnull false :location 45 :constvalue 64 [ 112 103 95 99 108 97 115 115 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ]}) :location 43}) :lefttree <> :righttree <> :initPlan <> :extParam (b) :allParam (b) :scanrelid 1} :rtable ({RANGETBLENTRY :alias <> :eref {ALIAS :aliasname pg_class :colnames ("oid" "relname" "relnamespace" "reltype" "reloftype" "relowner" "relam" "relfilenode" "reltablespace" "relpages" "reltuples" "relallvisible" "reltoastrelid" "relhasindex" "relisshared" "relpersistence" "relkind" "relnatts" "relchecks" "relhasrules" "relhastriggers" "relhassubclass" "relrowsecurity" "relforcerowsecurity" "relispopulated" "relreplident" "relispartition" "relrewrite" "relfrozenxid" "relminmxid" "relacl" "reloptions" "relpartbound")} :rtekind 0 :relid 1259 :relkind r :rellockmode 1 :tablesample <> :lateral false :inh false :inFromCl true :requiredPerms 2 :checkAsUser 0 :selectedCols (b 9 24) :insertedCols (b) :updatedCols (b) :extraUpdatedCols (b) :securityQuals <>}) :resultRelations <> :appendRelations <> :subplans <> :rewindPlanIDs (b) :rowMarks <> :relationOids (o 1259) :invalItems <> :paramExecTypes <> :utilityStmt <> :stmt_location 0 :stmt_len 0} $pgpg$
                as plan;
LOG:  <redacted>
Query Text: <redacted>
Seq Scan on pg_class  (cost=0.00..19.05 rows=1 width=1)
  Filter: (relname = 'pg_class'::name)
 relkind
---------
 r
(1 row)

Project Status

Alpha. The extension is under active development. All constructive feedback is welcome.

WARNING

The pg_plan_guarantee extension exposes internal data-structures of Postgres to the user. And the user has the ability to change the data-structure before feeding it back to the extension.

The extension code takes many measures to prevent malicious/accidental misuse of its capabilities. But this extension may be used, accidentally or otherwise, to create security holes in your applications. So please exercise caution when using this extension.

Development

Provided that you have Git, VirtualBox, and Vagrant installed, you can get started like so.

git clone git://git.postgresql.org/git/postgresql.git ~/dev/POSTGRES
cd ~/dev/POSTGRES
ln -s ../Postgres_Development_Vagrantfile ./Vagrantfile
    # ^^ See https://github.com/gurjeet/home/blob/wip/dev/Postgres_Development_Vagrantfile
vagrant up
vagrant ssh
# Now we're inside Vagrant/Virtualbox VM
cd ~/dev/POSTGRES
git clone git@github.com:gurjeet/pg_plan_guarantee.git contrib/pg_plan_guarantee
pgconfigure
pgmake -j4 all check install
pgmake -C contrib/pg_plan_guarantee all install
pgmake -C contrib/auto_explain all install
pgstart
pgsql #starts psql utility
--- do testing etc.
pgstop

The above instructions use my custom develoment environment; they include the shell functions from my pgd project, Vagrantfile for setting up Postgres development environment, and miscellaneous artifacts from my $HOME directory versioned in Git.

Controversial Idea

TODO: Show how/why the Postgres developer/hacker community is against such an idea.

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Postgres Query Optimizer Extension that guarantees your desired plan will not change

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