[postgis-users] How does PostGIS / PostgreSQL distribute parallel work to cores for GIS type data?

Darafei "Komяpa" Praliaskouski me at komzpa.net
Sun Mar 1 02:15:23 PST 2020


Can you please be more specific with the question?

Parallelism is tuple level. All load balancing is provided by Postgres
- different Parallel Scan types have different ordering properties and
different tuple passing graph.
Parallel index scan pushes out each tuple to next free worker,
essentially balancing it out. Parallel Seq Scan divides table in equal
size and gives each part to its own worker.

It is expected that any nuance in parallel scan is offset by multiple
queries running at the same time.
Also, proper index usage beats parallel scan most of the time.


On Sat, Feb 29, 2020 at 1:06 AM Marco Boeringa <marco at boeringa.demon.nl> wrote:
> Hi all,
> With some of the recent discussions related to PostgreSQL 12.x / PostGIS
> 3.x query execution performance and parallel query processing, I have
> been wondering how PostGIS / PostgreSQL actually distribute parallel
> work for GIS type data? Is there any form of load balancing to different
> cores?
> GIS type data fundamentally differs from "traditional" data with simple
> text or numeric fields in one crucial aspect: the size distribution of
> geometries is vastly greater than any difference in size of other basic
> field types in a database.
> E.g. polygon geometries may vary from very simple 3 vertex triangle
> shapes, to vast country boundary polygons having over 1M vertexes. This
> has a *huge* impact on processing time per record as well. With
> geometries over 100k vertices, you quickly end up with processing times
> - per record! - that may extend in the minutes or even hours and in bad
> cases a day for a single geometry.
> This means that simply distributing parallel work by distributing e.g.
> 100M records over 10M chunks for 10 parallel workers, each worker simply
> getting the next set of available records to process until all have been
> assigned to a core / parallel worker, can end up very bad in terms of
> load balancing.
> Let's assume for example that the table indeed has multiple records with
> geometries over 1M vertexes in size, and that all of them happen to be
> in the first 10M chunk of records, whereas the rest of the records has
> vastly smaller geometries. This could mean a single parallel worker
> ending up needing to process the bulk of the data in terms of sheer
> vertex count, and it might as well be processing for days on it! Whereas
> the other parallel workers, maybe needing to process only 10% percent of
> all vertex complexity in the table, finish in a few hours.
> I actually personally developed a Python multi-threaded generalization
> option that circumvents such issues: it uses the geometry's vertex count
> as returned by the PostGIS 'ST_NPoints' function to distribute records
> evenly across all parallel threads. By sorting the records by vertex
> count, and than interleaving all records from the highest to the lowest
> vertex count to all parallel threads, all threads end up processing
> approximately the same number of vertexes. This leads to pretty nice
> load balancing, with all threads finishing in approximately the same
> timespan, and all cores of my server maxed out.
> I realize PostGIS is dependent on PostgreSQL for parallel query
> execution, and that something like described above may not be directly
> feasible in a PostgreSQL / PostGIS default installation. Nonetheless I
> have wondered how the current mechanism for parallel query with GIS data
> is implemented, and if there is any load balancing based on geometry
> complexity?
> Marco Boeringa
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Darafei Praliaskouski
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