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README.md

PostgreSQL Global Temporary Tables

Description

pgtt is a PostgreSQL extension to create, manage and use Oracle-style Global Temporary Tables and the others RDBMS.

The objective of this extension it to propose an extension to provide the Global Temporary Table feature waiting for an in core implementation. The main interest of this extension is to mimic the Oracle behavior with GTT when you can not or don't want to rewrite the application code when migrating to PostgreSQL. In all other case best is to rewrite the code to use standard PostgreSQL temporary tables.

This version of the GTT extension use a regular unlogged table as "template" table and an internal rerouting to a temporary table. See chapter "How the extension really works?" for more details. A previous implementation of this extension using Row Security Level is still available here.

PostgreSQL native temporary tables are automatically dropped at the end of a session, or optionally at the end of the current transaction. Global Temporary Tables (GTT) are permanent, they are created as regular tables visible to all users but their content is relative to the current session or transaction. Even if the table is persistent a session or transaction can not see rows written by an other session.

Usually this is not a problem, you have learn to deal with the temporary table behavior of PostgreSQL but the problem comes when you are migrating an Oracle database to PostgreSQL. You have to rewrite the SQL and PlPgSQL code to follow the application logic and use PostgreSQL temporary table, that mean recreating the temporary table everywhere it is used.

The other advantage of this kind of object is when your application creates and drops a lot of temporary tables, the PostgreSQL catalogs becomes bloated and the performances start to fall. Usually Global Temporary Tables prevent catalog bloating, but with this implementation and even if we have a permanent table, all DML are rerouted to a regular temporary table created at first access. See below chapter "How the extension really works?" for more information.

DECLARE TEMPORARY TABLE statement is not supported by PostgreSQL and by this extension. However this statement defines a temporary table for the current connection / session, it creates tables that do not reside in the system catalogs and are not persistent. It cannot be shared with other sessions. This is the equivalent of PostgreSQL standard CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE so you might just have to replace the DECLARE keyword by CREATE.

All Oracle's GTT behavior are respected with the different clauses minus what is not supported by PostgreSQL:

ON COMMIT {DELETE | PRESERVE} ROWS

Specifies the action taken on the global temporary table when a COMMIT operation is performed.

  • DELETE ROWS: all rows of the table will be deleted if no holdable cursor is open on the table.
  • PRESERVE ROWS: the rows of the table will be preserved after the COMMIT.

LOGGED or NOT LOGGED [ ON ROLLBACK {DELETE | PRESERVE} ROWS ]

Specifies whether operations for the table are logged. The default is NOT LOGGED ON ROLLBACK DELETE ROWS.

  • NOT LOGGED: Specifies that insert, update, or delete operations against the table are not to be logged, but that the creation or dropping of the table is to be logged. During a ROLLBACK or ROLLBACK TO SAVEPOINT operation:

    • If the table had been created within a transaction, the table is dropped
    • If the table had been dropped within a transaction, the table is recreated, but without any data
  • ON ROLLBACK: Specifies the action that is to be taken on the not logged created temporary table when a ROLLBACK or ROLLBACK TO SAVEPOINT operation is performed. The default is DELETE ROWS.

    • DELETE ROWS: if the table data has been changed, all the rows will be deleted.
    • PRESERVE ROWS: rows of the table will be preserved.
  • LOGGED: specifies that insert, update, or delete operations against the table as well as the creation or dropping of the table are to be logged.

With PostgreSQL only NOT LOGGED ON ROLLBACK DELETE ROWS can be supported. Creation or dropping of the Global Temporary Table are logged, see below "How the extension really works?" for the details.

Installation

To install the pgtt extension you need at least a PostgreSQL version 9.5. Untar the pgtt tarball anywhere you want then you'll need to compile it with pgxs. The pg_config tool must be in your path.

Depending on your installation, you may need to install some devel package. Once pg_config is in your path, do

make
sudo make install

If the extension will be used by a non-superuser role, you need to add the library to the $libdir/plugins/ directory.

export libdir=$(pg_config --pkglibdir)
sudo mkdir $libdir/plugins/
cd $libdir/plugins/
sudo ln -s ../pgtt.so

To run test execute the following command as superuser:

make installcheck

An additional standalone test is provided to test the use of the extension in a dedicated schema "SESSION". The requisite is to remove these two lines from the pgtt.control file:

schema = 'pgtt_schema'
relocatable = false

Then the tests can be executed using:

mkdir results
createdb gtt_relocation
psql -d gtt_relocation -f test/relocation.sql > results/relocation.out 2>&1
diff results/relocation.out test/expected/relocation.out
dropdb gtt_relocation

Configuration

  • pgtt.enabled

The extension can be enable / disable using this GUC, default is enabled. To disable the extension use:

SET pgtt.enabled TO off;

You can disable or enable the extension at any moment in a session.

Use of the extension

In all database where you want to use Global Temporary Tables you will have to create the extension using:

CREATE EXTENSION pgtt;

As a superuser you can load the extension using:

LOAD 'pgtt';

non-superuser must load the library using the plugins/ directory as follow:

LOAD '$libdir/plugins/pgtt';

Take care to follow installation instruction above to create the symlink from the plugins/ directory to the extension library file.

The pgtt extension use a dedicated schema to store related objects, by default: pgtt_schema. The extension take care that this schema is always at end of the search_path.

gtt_testdb=# LOAD '$libdir/plugins/pgtt';
LOAD
gtt_testdb=# SHOW search_path;
    search_path     
--------------------
 public,pgtt_schema
(1 row)

gtt_testdb=# SET search_path TO appschema,public;
SET
gtt_testdb=# SHOW search_path;
	  search_path           
--------------------------------
 appschema, public, pgtt_schema
(1 row)

The pgtt schema is automatically added to the search_path when you load the extension and if you change the search_path later.

Create a Global Temporary Table

To create a GTT table named "test_table" use the following statement:

CREATE GLOBAL TEMPORARY TABLE test_gtt_table (
	id integer,
	lbl text
) ON COMMIT { PRESERVE | DELETE } ROWS;

The GLOBAL keyword is obsolete but can be used safely, the only thing is that it will generate a warning:

WARNING:  GLOBAL is deprecated in temporary table creation

If you don't want to be annoyed by this warning message you can use it like a comment instead:

CREATE /*GLOBAL*/ TEMPORARY TABLE test_gtt_table (
	LIKE other_table LIKE
	INCLUDING DEFAULTS
	INCLUDING CONSTRAINTS
	INCLUDING INDEXES
) ON COMMIT { PRESERVE | DELETE } ROWS;

the extension will detect the GLOBAL keyword.

As you can see in the example above the LIKE clause is supported, as well as the AS clause WITH DATA or WITH NO DATA (default):

CREATE /*GLOBAL*/ TEMPORARY TABLE test_gtt_table
AS SELECT * FROM source_table WITH DATA;

In case of WITH DATA, the extension will fill the GTT with data returned from the SELECT statement for the current session only.

PostgreSQL temporary table clause ON COMMIT DROP is not supported by the extension, GTT are persistent over transactions. If the clause is used an error will be raised.

Temporary table rows are deleted or preserved at transactions commit following the clause:

ON COMMIT { PRESERVE | DELETE } ROWS

Drop a Global Temporary Table

To drop a Global Temporary Table you just proceed as for a normal table:

DROP TABLE test_gtt_table;

A Global Temporary Table can be dropped even if it is used by other session.

Create index on Global Temporary Table

You can create indexes on the global temporary table:

CREATE INDEX ON test_gtt_table (id);

just like with any other tables.

Constraints on Global Temporary Table

You can add any constraint on a Global Temporary Table except FOREIGN KEYS.

CREATE GLOBAL TEMPORARY TABLE t2 (
	c1 serial PRIMARY KEY,
	c2 VARCHAR (50) UNIQUE NOT NULL,
	c3 boolean DEFAULT false
)

The use of FOREIGN KEYS in a Global Temporary Table is not allowed.

CREATE GLOBAL TEMPORARY TABLE t1 (c1 integer, FOREIGN KEY (c1) REFERENCES source (id));
ERROR:  attempt to create referential integrity constraint on global temporary table

ALTER TABLE t2 ADD FOREIGN KEY (c1) REFERENCES source (id);
ERROR:  attempt to create referential integrity constraint on global temporary table

Even if PostgreSQL allow foreign keys on temporary table, the pgtt extension try to mimic as much as possible the same behavior of Oracle and other RDBMS like DB2, SQL Server or MySQL.

ORA-14455: attempt to create referential integrity constraint on temporary table.  

Partitioning

Partitioning on Global Temporary Table is not supported, again not because PostgreSQL do not allow partition on temporary table but because other RDBMS like Oracle, DB2 and MySQL do not support it. SQL Server supports partition on global temporary table.

How the extension really works

Global Temporary Table use

When pgtt.enabled is true (default) and the extension have been loaded (LOAD 'pgtt';) the first access to the table using a SELECT, UPDATE or DELETE statement will produce the creation of a temporary table using the definition of the "template" table created during the call to CREATE GLOBAL TEMPORARY TABLE statement.

Once the temporary table is created at the first access, the original SELECT, UPDATE or DELETE statement is automatically rerouted to the new regular temporary table. All other access will use the new temporary table, the pg_temp* schema where the table is created is always looked first in the search path this is why the "template" table is not concerned by subsequent access.

Creating, renaming and removing a GTT is an administration task it shall not be done in an application session.

Note that rerouting is active even if you add a namespace qualifier to the table. For example looking at the internal unlogged template table:

bench=# LOAD 'pgtt';
LOAD
bench=# CREATE /*GLOBAL*/ TEMPORARY TABLE test_tt (id int, lbl text) ON COMMIT PRESERVE ROWS;
CREATE TABLE
bench=# INSERT INTO test_tt VALUES (1, 'one'), (2, 'two'), (3, 'three');
INSERT 0 3
bench=# SELECT * FROM pgtt_schema.test_tt;
 id |  lbl  
----+-------
  1 | one
  2 | two
  3 | three
(3 rows)

will actually result in the same as looking at the associated temporary table like follow:

bench=# SELECT * FROM test_tt;
 id |  lbl  
----+-------
  1 | one
  2 | two
  3 | three
(3 rows)

or

bench=# SELECT * FROM pg_temp.test_tt;
 id |  lbl  
----+-------
  1 | one
  2 | two
  3 | three
(3 rows)

If you want to really look at the template table to be sure that it contains no rows, you must disable the extension rerouting:

bench=# SET pgtt.enabled TO off;
SET
bench=# SELECT * FROM pgtt_schema.test_tt;
 id | lbl 
----+-----
(0 rows)

bench=# SET pgtt.enabled TO on;
SET
bench=# SELECT * FROM pgtt_schema.test_tt;
 id |  lbl  
----+-------
  1 | one
  2 | two
  3 | three
(3 rows)

Look at test file for more examples.

This also mean that you can relocated the extension in a dedicated namespace. Can be useful if your application's queries use the schema qualifier with the table name to access to the GTT and you can't change it. See t/sql/relocation.sql for an example. By default the extension is not relocatable in an other schema, there is some configuration change to perform to be able to use this feature.

If you use the CREATE AS form with the WITH DATA clause like in this example:

CREATE /*GLOBAL*/ TEMPORARY TABLE test_gtt_table
AS SELECT * FROM source_table WITH DATA;

the extension will first create the template unlogged table and will create immediately the associated temporary table filled with all data returned by the SELECT statement. The first access will not have to create the table it already exists with data.

Table creation

The extension intercept the call to CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE ... statement and look if there is the keyword GLOBAL or the comment /*GLOBAL*/. When it is found, instead of creating the temporary table, it creates a "template" unlogged persistent table following the temporary table definition. When the template is created it registers the table into a "catalog" table pg_global_temp_tables.

Both objects are created in the extension schema pgtt_schema.

When pgtt.enabled is false nothing is done.

Here is the description of the catalog table:

          Table « pgtt_schema.pg_global_temp_tables »
  Colonne  |  Type   | Collationnement | NULL-able | Par défaut 
-----------+---------+-----------------+-----------+------------
 relid     | integer |                 | not null  | 
 nspname   | name    |                 | not null  | 
 relname   | name    |                 | not null  | 
 preserved | boolean |                 |           | 
 code      | text    |                 |           | 
Index :
    "pg_global_temp_tables_nspname_relname_key" UNIQUE CONSTRAINT, btree (nspname, relname)
  • relid: Oid of the "template" unlogged table.
  • nspname: namespace of the extension pgtt_schema by default.
  • relname: name of the GTT relation.
  • preserved: true or false for ON COMMIT { PRESERVE | DELETE}.
  • code: code used at Global Temporary Table creation time.

#### Table removing

The extension intercept the call to DROP TABLE and look in the pg_global_temp_tables table to see if it is declared. When it is found it drops the template unlogged table and the corresponding entry from the pgtt catalog table pg_global_temp_tables.

When pgtt.enabled is false nothing is done.

Dropping a GTT that is in use, when the temporary table has already been created, will raise an error. This is not allowed.

Table renaming

The extension intercept the call to ALTER TABLE ... RENAME and look in the pg_global_temp_tables table to see if it is declared. When it is found it renames the "template" table and update the name of the relation in the pg_global_temp_tables table. If the GTT has already been used in the session the corresponding temporary table exists, in this case the extension will refuse to rename it. It must be inactive to be renamed.

When pgtt.enabled is false nothing is done.

Renaming a GTT that is in use, when the temporary table has already been created, will raise an error. This is not allowed.

pg_dump / pg_restore

When dumping a database using the pgtt extension, the content of the "catalog" table pg_global_temp_tables will be dumped as well as all template unlogged tables. Restoring the dump will recreate the database in the same state.

Performances

Overhead of loading the extension but without using it in a pgbench tpcb-like scenario.

  • Without loading the extension
$ pgbench -h localhost bench -c 20 -j 4 -T 60 -f test/bench/bench_noload.sql
starting vacuum...end.
transaction type: test/bench/bench_noload.sql
scaling factor: 1
query mode: simple
number of clients: 20
number of threads: 4
duration: 60 s
number of transactions actually processed: 51741
latency average = 23.201 ms
tps = 862.038042 (including connections establishing)
tps = 862.165341 (excluding connections establishing)
  • With loading the extension
$ pgbench -h localhost bench -c 20 -j 4 -T 60 -f test/bench/bench_load.sql
starting vacuum...end.
transaction type: test/bench/bench_load.sql
scaling factor: 1
query mode: simple
number of clients: 20
number of threads: 4
duration: 60 s
number of transactions actually processed: 51171
latency average = 23.461 ms
tps = 852.495877 (including connections establishing)
tps = 852.599010 (excluding connections establishing)

Now a test between using a regular temporary table and a PGTT in the pgbench tpcb-like scenario.

  • Using a regular Temporary Table
$ pgbench -h localhost bench -c 20 -j 4 -T 60 -f test/bench/bench_use_rtt.sql 
starting vacuum...end.
transaction type: test/bench/bench_use_rtt.sql
scaling factor: 1
query mode: simple
number of clients: 20
number of threads: 4
duration: 60 s
number of transactions actually processed: 17153
latency average = 70.058 ms
tps = 285.477860 (including connections establishing)
tps = 285.514186 (excluding connections establishing)
  • Using a Global Temporary Table

Created using:

CREATE GLOBAL TEMPORARY TABLE test_tt (id int, lbl text)
		ON COMMIT DELETE ROWS;
$ pgbench -h localhost bench -c 20 -j 4 -T 60 -f test/bench/bench_use_gtt.sql 
starting vacuum...end.
transaction type: test/bench/bench_use_gtt.sql
scaling factor: 1
query mode: simple
number of clients: 20
number of threads: 4
duration: 60 s
number of transactions actually processed: 17540
latency average = 68.495 ms
tps = 291.993502 (including connections establishing)
tps = 292.028832 (excluding connections establishing)

Even if this last test shows a significant performances improvement comparing to regular temporary tables, most of the time this will not be the case.

Authors

Gilles Darold gilles@darold.net

License

This extension is free software distributed under the PostgreSQL Licence.

    Copyright (c) 2018-2020, Gilles Darold

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PostgreSQL extension to create, manage and use Oracle-style Global Temporary Tables and the others RDBMS

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