I think your best bet is a BRIN index in Postgres 9.5. See below.
Whatever else you do, you can save 8 bytes lost to padding due to alignment requirements per row by ording columns like this:
CREATE TABLE run.perception(
id bigint NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY
, run_id bigint NOT NULL
, frame bigint NOT NULL
, by_anyone bigint NOT NULL
, by_me bigint NOT NULL
, owning_p_id bigint NOT NULL
, subj_id bigint NOT NULL
, subj_state_frame bigint NOT NULL
, obj_type_set bigint
, by_s_id integer
, seq integer
, by varchar(45) NOT NULL -- or just use type text
Makes your table 79 GB smaller if none of the columns has NULL values. Details:
Also, you only have three columns that can be NULL. The NULL bitmap occupies 8 bytes for 9 - 72 columns. If only one integer column is NULL, there is a corner case for a storage paradox: it would be cheaper to use a dummy value instead: 4 bytes wasted but 8 bytes saved by not needing a NULL bitmap for the row. More details here:
Depending on your actual queries it might be more efficient to have these five partial indices instead of the one above:
CREATE INDEX perception_run_id266_idx ON run.perception(frame) WHERE run_id = 266;
CREATE INDEX perception_run_id266_idx ON run.perception(frame) WHERE run_id = 267;
CREATE INDEX perception_run_id266_idx ON run.perception(frame) WHERE run_id = 268;
CREATE INDEX perception_run_id266_idx ON run.perception(frame) WHERE run_id = 269;
CREATE INDEX perception_run_id266_idx ON run.perception(frame) WHERE run_id = 270;
Run one transaction for each.
run_id as index column this way saves 8 bytes per index entry - 32 instead of 40 bytes per row. Each index is also be cheaper to create, but creating five instead of just one takes substantially longer for a table that's too big to stay in cache (like @Jürgen and @Chris commented). So that may or may not be useful for you.
All constraints on all partitions of the master table are examined
during constraint exclusion, so large numbers of partitions are likely
to increase query planning time considerably. Partitioning using these
techniques will work well with up to perhaps a hundred partitions;
don't try to use many thousands of partitions.
Bold emphasis mine. Consequently, estimating 1000 different values for
run_id, you would make partitions spanning around 10 values each.
This new feature of the upcoming Postgres 9.5 is just what you are looking for. Much faster index creation, much smaller index, but queries are not as fast. The documentation for pg 9.5:
BRIN stands for Block Range Index. BRIN is designed for handling very
large tables in which certain columns have some natural correlation
with their physical location within the table. A block range is a
group of pages that are physically adjacent in the table; for each
block range, some summary info is stored by the index.
Read on, there is more.
Depesz ran a preliminiary test.
The optimum for your case: If you can write rows clustered on
run_id, your index becomes very small and creation much cheaper.
CREATE INDEX foo ON run.perception USING brin (run_id, frame)
WHERE run_id >= 266 AND run_id <= 270;
You might even just index the whole table.
I missed that you are already adjusting for
maintenance_work_mem in my first read. I'll leave quote and advice in my answer for reference. Per documentation:
Specifies the maximum amount of memory to be used by maintenance
operations, such as
CREATE INDEX, and
ALTER TABLE ADD FOREIGN KEY. It defaults to 64 megabytes (
64MB). Since only one of these
operations can be executed at a time by a database session, and an
installation normally doesn't have many of them running concurrently,
it's safe to set this value significantly larger than
settings might improve performance for vacuuming and for restoring
Note that when
autovacuum runs, up to
autovacuum_max_workers times this memory may be allocated, so be careful not to set the default
value too high. It may be useful to control for this by separately
I would only set it as high as needed - which depends on the unknown (to us) index size. And only locally for the executing session. As the quote explains, a too-high general setting can starve the server otherwise, because autovacuum may claim more RAM, too. Also, don't set it much higher than needed, even in the executing session, free RAM might be put to good use in caching data.
It could look like this:
SET LOCAL maintenance_work_mem = 10GB; -- depends on resulting index size
CREATE INDEX perception_run_frame_idx_run_266_thru_270 ON run.perception(run_id, frame)
WHERE run_id >= 266 AND run_id <= 270;
The effects of
SET LOCAL last only till the end of the current
transaction, whether committed or not.
To measure object sizes:
The server should generally be configured reasonably otherwise, obviously.