Timestamp-based snapshots v5
The timestamp-based snapshots allow reading data in a consistent manner by using a user-specified timestamp rather than the usual MVCC snapshot. You can use this to access data on different PGD nodes at a common point in time. For example, you can use this as a way to compare data on multiple nodes for data-quality checking.
This feature doesn't currently work with write transactions.
Enable the use of timestamp-based snapshots using the
parameter. This parameter accepts either a timestamp value or
a special value,
'current', which represents the current timestamp (now). If
snapshot_timestamp is set, queries use that timestamp to determine
visibility of rows rather than the usual MVCC semantics.
For example, the following query returns the state of the
customers table at
2018-12-08 02:28:30 GMT:
Without PGD, this works only with future timestamps or the special 'current' value, so you can't use it for historical queries.
PGD works with and improves on that feature in a multi-node environment. First,
PGD makes sure that all connections to other nodes replicate any
outstanding data that was added to the database before the specified
timestamp. This ensures that the timestamp-based snapshot is consistent across the whole
multi-master group. Second, PGD adds a parameter called
bdr.timestamp_snapshot_keep. This specifies a window of time when you can execute
queries against the recent history on that node.
You can specify any interval, but be aware that VACUUM (including autovacuum) doesn't clean dead rows that are newer than up to twice the specified interval. This also means that transaction ids aren't freed for the same amount of time. As a result, using this can leave more bloat in user tables. Initially, we recommend 10 seconds as a typical setting, although you can change that as needed.
Once the query is accepted for execution, the query might run
for longer than
bdr.timestamp_snapshot_keep without problem, just as normal.
Also, information about how far the snapshots were kept doesn't survive server restart. The oldest usable timestamp for the timestamp-based snapshot is the time of last restart of the PostgreSQL instance.
You can combine the use of
bdr.timestamp_snapshot_keep with the
postgres_fdw extension to get a consistent read across multiple nodes in a
PGD group. You can use this to run parallel queries across nodes, when used with foreign tables.
There are no limits on the number of nodes in a multi-node query when using this feature.
Use of timestamp-based snapshots doesn't increase inter-node traffic or bandwidth. Only the timestamp value is passed in addition to query data.