How can sort performance be so different

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How can sort performance be so different

Bob Jolliffe
The following is output from analyzing a simple query on a table of
13436 rows on postgresql 10, ubuntu 18.04.

 explain analyze select * from chart order by name;
                                                   QUERY PLAN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Sort  (cost=1470.65..1504.24 rows=13436 width=725) (actual
time=224340.949..224343.499 rows=13436 loops=1)
   Sort Key: name
   Sort Method: quicksort  Memory: 4977kB
   ->  Seq Scan on chart  (cost=0.00..549.36 rows=13436 width=725)
(actual time=0.015..1.395 rows=13436 loops=1)
 Planning time: 0.865 ms
 Execution time: 224344.281 ms
(6 rows)

The planner has predictably done a sequential scan followed by a sort.
Though it might have wished it hadn't and just used the index (there
is an index on name).  The sort is taking a mind boggling 224 seconds,
nearly 2 minutes.

This is on a cloud vps server.

Interesting when I run the same query on my laptop it completes in
well under one second.

I wonder what can cause such a massive discrepancy in the sort time.
Can it be that the VPS server has heavily over committed CPU.  Note I
have tried this with 2 different company's servers with similar
results.

I am baffled.  The sort seems to be all done in memory (only 5MB).
Tested when nothing else was going on at the time.  I can expect some
difference between the VPS and my laptop, but almost 1000x seems odd.
The CPUs are different but not that different.

Any theories?

Regards
Bob

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Pavel Stehule


út 29. 1. 2019 v 19:29 odesílatel Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> napsal:
The following is output from analyzing a simple query on a table of
13436 rows on postgresql 10, ubuntu 18.04.

 explain analyze select * from chart order by name;
                                                   QUERY PLAN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Sort  (cost=1470.65..1504.24 rows=13436 width=725) (actual
time=224340.949..224343.499 rows=13436 loops=1)
   Sort Key: name
   Sort Method: quicksort  Memory: 4977kB
   ->  Seq Scan on chart  (cost=0.00..549.36 rows=13436 width=725)
(actual time=0.015..1.395 rows=13436 loops=1)
 Planning time: 0.865 ms
 Execution time: 224344.281 ms
(6 rows)

The planner has predictably done a sequential scan followed by a sort.
Though it might have wished it hadn't and just used the index (there
is an index on name).  The sort is taking a mind boggling 224 seconds,
nearly 2 minutes.

This is on a cloud vps server.

Interesting when I run the same query on my laptop it completes in
well under one second.

I wonder what can cause such a massive discrepancy in the sort time.
Can it be that the VPS server has heavily over committed CPU.  Note I
have tried this with 2 different company's servers with similar
results.

I am baffled.  The sort seems to be all done in memory (only 5MB).
Tested when nothing else was going on at the time.  I can expect some
difference between the VPS and my laptop, but almost 1000x seems odd.
The CPUs are different but not that different.

Any theories?

I am sure so sort of 10K rows cannot be 224sec. Really looks like VPS issue.

Regards

Pavel



Regards
Bob

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Saurabh Nanda
In reply to this post by Bob Jolliffe
Run https://github.com/n-st/nench and benchmark the underlying vps first. 

On Tue 29 Jan, 2019, 11:59 PM Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email] wrote:
The following is output from analyzing a simple query on a table of
13436 rows on postgresql 10, ubuntu 18.04.

 explain analyze select * from chart order by name;
                                                   QUERY PLAN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Sort  (cost=1470.65..1504.24 rows=13436 width=725) (actual
time=224340.949..224343.499 rows=13436 loops=1)
   Sort Key: name
   Sort Method: quicksort  Memory: 4977kB
   ->  Seq Scan on chart  (cost=0.00..549.36 rows=13436 width=725)
(actual time=0.015..1.395 rows=13436 loops=1)
 Planning time: 0.865 ms
 Execution time: 224344.281 ms
(6 rows)

The planner has predictably done a sequential scan followed by a sort.
Though it might have wished it hadn't and just used the index (there
is an index on name).  The sort is taking a mind boggling 224 seconds,
nearly 2 minutes.

This is on a cloud vps server.

Interesting when I run the same query on my laptop it completes in
well under one second.

I wonder what can cause such a massive discrepancy in the sort time.
Can it be that the VPS server has heavily over committed CPU.  Note I
have tried this with 2 different company's servers with similar
results.

I am baffled.  The sort seems to be all done in memory (only 5MB).
Tested when nothing else was going on at the time.  I can expect some
difference between the VPS and my laptop, but almost 1000x seems odd.
The CPUs are different but not that different.

Any theories?

Regards
Bob

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Tom Lane-2
In reply to this post by Bob Jolliffe
Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> writes:
> I wonder what can cause such a massive discrepancy in the sort time.

Are you using the same locale (LC_COLLATE) setting on both machines?
Some locales sort way slower than C locale does.  That's not enough
to explain a 1000X discrepancy --- I concur with the other opinions
that there's something wrong with your VPS --- but it might account
for something like 10X of it.

                        regards, tom lane

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Bob Jolliffe
Hi Tom

After much performance measuring of VPS I believe you are right in
your suspicion about locale.

The database is full of Laos characters (it is a government system in
Laos).  When I tested on my VPS (en_US.UTF-8) I get the crazy slow
performance, whereas my laptop postgresql is C.UTF-8.

Modifying the query from :

explain analyze select * from chart order by name;

to

explain analyze select * from chart order by name COLLATE "C";

and the same query runs like a rocket.  Amazing, yes 1000 times faster.

What I don't know yet is
(i) whether the sort order makes sense for the Laos names; and
(ii) what the locale settings are on the production server where the
problem was first reported.

There will be some turnaround before I get this information.  I am
guessing that the database is using "en_US" rather than anything Laos
specific.  In which case "C" would probably be no worse re sort order.
But will know better soon.

This has been a long but very fruitful investigation.  Thank you all for input.

Regards
Bob

On Tue, 29 Jan 2019 at 18:47, Tom Lane <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> writes:
> > I wonder what can cause such a massive discrepancy in the sort time.
>
> Are you using the same locale (LC_COLLATE) setting on both machines?
> Some locales sort way slower than C locale does.  That's not enough
> to explain a 1000X discrepancy --- I concur with the other opinions
> that there's something wrong with your VPS --- but it might account
> for something like 10X of it.
>
>                         regards, tom lane

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Peter Geoghegan-4
On Wed, Jan 30, 2019 at 3:57 AM Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> (i) whether the sort order makes sense for the Laos names; and
> (ii) what the locale settings are on the production server where the
> problem was first reported.
>
> There will be some turnaround before I get this information.  I am
> guessing that the database is using "en_US" rather than anything Laos
> specific.  In which case "C" would probably be no worse re sort order.
> But will know better soon.
>
> This has been a long but very fruitful investigation.  Thank you all for input.

If you can find a way to use an ICU collation, it may be possible to
get Laotian sort order with performance that's a lot closer to the
performance you see with the C locale. The difference that you're
seeing is obviously explainable in large part by the C locale using
the abbreviated keys technique. The system glibc's collations cannot
use this optimization.

I believe that some locales have inherently more expensive
normalization processes (comparisons) than others, but if you can
effective amortize the cost per key by building an abbreviated key, it
may not matter that much. And, ICU may be faster than glibc anyway.

--
Peter Geoghegan

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Bob Jolliffe
Hi Peter

I did check out using ICU and the performance does indeed seem
comparable with C locale:

EXPLAIN ANALYZE select * from chart order by name COLLATE "lo-x-icu";
                                                    QUERY PLAN
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Sort  (cost=1470.65..1504.24 rows=13436 width=1203) (actual
time=82.752..85.723 rows=13436 loops=1)
   Sort Key: name COLLATE "lo-x-icu"
   Sort Method: quicksort  Memory: 6253kB
   ->  Seq Scan on chart  (cost=0.00..549.36 rows=13436 width=1203)
(actual time=0.043..12.634 rows=13436 loops=1)
 Planning time: 1.610 ms
 Execution time: 96.060 ms
(6 rows)

The Laos folk have confirmed that the sort order with C locale was not
correct.  So setting the ICU locale seems to be the way forward.

The problem is that this is a large java application with a great
number of tables and queries.  Also it is used in 60+ countries not
just Laos.  So we cannot simply modify the queries or table creation
scripts directly such as in the manner above.  I was hoping the
solution would just be to set a default locale on the database
(perhaps even und-x-icu) but I see now that this doesn't seem to be
currently possible with postgresql 10 ie. set the locale on database
creation to a *-icu locale.

Is this also a limitation on postgresql 11?  (Upgrading would be possible)

Any other workarounds worth trying?  The magnitude of this issue is
significant - 1000x slower on these basic sorts is crippling the
application, probably also in a number of other queries.

Regards
Bob

On Wed, 30 Jan 2019 at 23:54, Peter Geoghegan <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Wed, Jan 30, 2019 at 3:57 AM Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > (i) whether the sort order makes sense for the Laos names; and
> > (ii) what the locale settings are on the production server where the
> > problem was first reported.
> >
> > There will be some turnaround before I get this information.  I am
> > guessing that the database is using "en_US" rather than anything Laos
> > specific.  In which case "C" would probably be no worse re sort order.
> > But will know better soon.
> >
> > This has been a long but very fruitful investigation.  Thank you all for input.
>
> If you can find a way to use an ICU collation, it may be possible to
> get Laotian sort order with performance that's a lot closer to the
> performance you see with the C locale. The difference that you're
> seeing is obviously explainable in large part by the C locale using
> the abbreviated keys technique. The system glibc's collations cannot
> use this optimization.
>
> I believe that some locales have inherently more expensive
> normalization processes (comparisons) than others, but if you can
> effective amortize the cost per key by building an abbreviated key, it
> may not matter that much. And, ICU may be faster than glibc anyway.
>
> --
> Peter Geoghegan

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Merlin Moncure-2
On Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Hi Peter
>
> I did check out using ICU and the performance does indeed seem
> comparable with C locale:
>
> EXPLAIN ANALYZE select * from chart order by name COLLATE "lo-x-icu";
>                                                     QUERY PLAN
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  Sort  (cost=1470.65..1504.24 rows=13436 width=1203) (actual
> time=82.752..85.723 rows=13436 loops=1)
>    Sort Key: name COLLATE "lo-x-icu"
>    Sort Method: quicksort  Memory: 6253kB
>    ->  Seq Scan on chart  (cost=0.00..549.36 rows=13436 width=1203)
> (actual time=0.043..12.634 rows=13436 loops=1)
>  Planning time: 1.610 ms
>  Execution time: 96.060 ms
> (6 rows)
>
> The Laos folk have confirmed that the sort order with C locale was not
> correct.  So setting the ICU locale seems to be the way forward.
>
> The problem is that this is a large java application with a great
> number of tables and queries.  Also it is used in 60+ countries not
> just Laos.  So we cannot simply modify the queries or table creation
> scripts directly such as in the manner above.  I was hoping the
> solution would just be to set a default locale on the database
> (perhaps even und-x-icu) but I see now that this doesn't seem to be
> currently possible with postgresql 10 ie. set the locale on database
> creation to a *-icu locale.
>
> Is this also a limitation on postgresql 11?  (Upgrading would be possible)

yeah, probably.  Having said that, I'm really struggling that it can
take take several minutes to sort such a small number of rows even
with location issues.  I can sort rocks faster than that :-).

Switching between various european collations, I'm seeing subsecond
sort responses for 44k records on my test box.  I don't have the laos
collation installed unfortunately.   Are you seeing kind of penalty in
other conversions?

merlin

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Laurenz Albe
Merlin Moncure wrote:
> yeah, probably.  Having said that, I'm really struggling that it can
> take take several minutes to sort such a small number of rows even
> with location issues.  I can sort rocks faster than that :-).
>
> Switching between various european collations, I'm seeing subsecond
> sort responses for 44k records on my test box.  I don't have the laos
> collation installed unfortunately.   Are you seeing kind of penalty in
> other conversions?

I find that it makes a lot of difference what you sort:

CREATE TABLE sort(t text);

INSERT INTO sort SELECT 'ຕົວອັກສອນລາວ... ງ່າຍຂື້ນ' || i FROM generate_series(1, 100000) AS i;

SET work_mem = '1GB';

EXPLAIN (ANALYZE, BUFFERS) SELECT t FROM sort ORDER BY t COLLATE "C";
[...]
 Execution Time: 288.752 ms

EXPLAIN (ANALYZE, BUFFERS) SELECT t FROM sort ORDER BY t COLLATE "lo_LA.utf8";
[...]
 Execution Time: 47006.683 ms

EXPLAIN (ANALYZE, BUFFERS) SELECT t FROM sort ORDER BY t COLLATE "en_US.utf8";
[...]
 Execution Time: 73962.934 ms


CREATE TABLE sort2(t text);

INSERT INTO sort2 SELECT 'this is plain old English' || i FROM generate_series(1, 100000) AS i;

SET work_mem = '1GB';

EXPLAIN (ANALYZE, BUFFERS) SELECT t FROM sort2 ORDER BY t COLLATE "C";
[...]
 Execution Time: 237.615 ms

EXPLAIN (ANALYZE, BUFFERS) SELECT t FROM sort2 ORDER BY t COLLATE "lo_LA.utf8";
[...]
 Execution Time: 2467.848 ms

EXPLAIN (ANALYZE, BUFFERS) SELECT t FROM sort2 ORDER BY t COLLATE "en_US.utf8";
[...]
 Execution Time: 2927.667 ms


This is on my x86_64 Fedora 29 system, kernel 4.20.6, glibc 2.28.

Yours,
Laurenz Albe
--
Cybertec | https://www.cybertec-postgresql.com


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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Bob Jolliffe
In reply to this post by Merlin Moncure-2
Sorry Merlin for not replying earlier.  The difference is indeed hard
to understand but it is certainly there.  We altered the collation to
use on the name field in that table and the problem has gone.  Having
having solved the immediate problem we haven't investigated much
further yet.

Not sure what exactly you mean by "other conversions"?

On Tue, 5 Feb 2019 at 20:28, Merlin Moncure <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Thu, Jan 31, 2019 at 7:30 AM Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > Hi Peter
> >
> > I did check out using ICU and the performance does indeed seem
> > comparable with C locale:
> >
> > EXPLAIN ANALYZE select * from chart order by name COLLATE "lo-x-icu";
> >                                                     QUERY PLAN
> > -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >  Sort  (cost=1470.65..1504.24 rows=13436 width=1203) (actual
> > time=82.752..85.723 rows=13436 loops=1)
> >    Sort Key: name COLLATE "lo-x-icu"
> >    Sort Method: quicksort  Memory: 6253kB
> >    ->  Seq Scan on chart  (cost=0.00..549.36 rows=13436 width=1203)
> > (actual time=0.043..12.634 rows=13436 loops=1)
> >  Planning time: 1.610 ms
> >  Execution time: 96.060 ms
> > (6 rows)
> >
> > The Laos folk have confirmed that the sort order with C locale was not
> > correct.  So setting the ICU locale seems to be the way forward.
> >
> > The problem is that this is a large java application with a great
> > number of tables and queries.  Also it is used in 60+ countries not
> > just Laos.  So we cannot simply modify the queries or table creation
> > scripts directly such as in the manner above.  I was hoping the
> > solution would just be to set a default locale on the database
> > (perhaps even und-x-icu) but I see now that this doesn't seem to be
> > currently possible with postgresql 10 ie. set the locale on database
> > creation to a *-icu locale.
> >
> > Is this also a limitation on postgresql 11?  (Upgrading would be possible)
>
> yeah, probably.  Having said that, I'm really struggling that it can
> take take several minutes to sort such a small number of rows even
> with location issues.  I can sort rocks faster than that :-).
>
> Switching between various european collations, I'm seeing subsecond
> sort responses for 44k records on my test box.  I don't have the laos
> collation installed unfortunately.   Are you seeing kind of penalty in
> other conversions?
>
> merlin

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Merlin Moncure-2
On Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 9:49 AM Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Sorry Merlin for not replying earlier.  The difference is indeed hard
> to understand but it is certainly there.  We altered the collation to
> use on the name field in that table and the problem has gone.  Having
> having solved the immediate problem we haven't investigated much
> further yet.
>
> Not sure what exactly you mean by "other conversions"?


I hand tested similar query for other (generally western) collations.
Did not observe anything nearly so bad.   What I'm hoping is that this
is some kind of weird performance issue specific to your installation;
in the worst (unfortunately likely) case we are looking at something
specific to your specific sort collation :(.

merlin

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Bob Jolliffe
On Wed, 20 Feb 2019 at 21:35, Merlin Moncure <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 9:49 AM Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > Sorry Merlin for not replying earlier.  The difference is indeed hard
> > to understand but it is certainly there.  We altered the collation to
> > use on the name field in that table and the problem has gone.  Having
> > having solved the immediate problem we haven't investigated much
> > further yet.
> >
> > Not sure what exactly you mean by "other conversions"?
>
>
> I hand tested similar query for other (generally western) collations.
> Did not observe anything nearly so bad.   What I'm hoping is that this
> is some kind of weird performance issue specific to your installation;
> in the worst (unfortunately likely) case we are looking at something
> specific to your specific sort collation :(.
>

It seems not to be (completely) particular to the installation.
Testing on different platforms we found variable speed difference
between 100x and 1000x slower, but always a considerable order of
magnitiude.  The very slow performance comes from sorting Lao
characters using en_US.UTF-8 collation.

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Peter Geoghegan-4
On Wed, Feb 20, 2019 at 1:42 PM Bob Jolliffe <[hidden email]> wrote:
> It seems not to be (completely) particular to the installation.
> Testing on different platforms we found variable speed difference
> between 100x and 1000x slower, but always a considerable order of
> magnitiude.  The very slow performance comes from sorting Lao
> characters using en_US.UTF-8 collation.

I knew that some collations were slower, generally for reasons that
make some sense. For example, I was aware that ICU's use of Japanese
standard JIS X 4061 is particularly complicated and expensive, but
produces the most useful possible result from the point of view of a
Japanese speaker. Apparently glibc does not use that algorithm, and so
offers less useful sort order (though it may actually be faster in
that particular case).

I suspect that the reasons why the Lao locale sorts so much slower may
also have something to do with the intrinsic cost of supporting more
complicated rules. However, it's such a ridiculously large difference
that it also seems likely that somebody was disinclined to go to the
effort of optimizing it. The ICU people found that to be a tractable
goal, but they may have had to work at it. I also have a vague notion
that there are special cases that are more or less only useful for
sorting French. These complicate the implementation of UCA style
algorithms.

I am only speculating, based on what I've heard about other cases --
perhaps this explanation is totally wrong. I know a lot more about
this stuff than most people on this mailing list, but I'm still far
from being an expert.

--
Peter Geoghegan

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Re: How can sort performance be so different

Peter Geoghegan-4
On Wed, Feb 20, 2019 at 2:25 PM Peter Geoghegan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I suspect that the reasons why the Lao locale sorts so much slower may
> also have something to do with the intrinsic cost of supporting more
> complicated rules.

I strongly suspect that it has something to do with the issue
described here specifically:

http://userguide.icu-project.org/collation/concepts#TOC-Thai-Lao-reordering
--
Peter Geoghegan