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I'm using PostgreSQL 9.3.5 on a CentOS system. I have a very large table (twenty million rows, 50+ column) that aggregates data from a few hundred systems. Several times a day each of the systems sends me update for that table, and one of those updates is a list of ids for which I need to set a new value in one column. I'm doing that by putting the list of ids in a smaller table and using a join. Most of the time this is pretty fast (under 1 second), but about 10% of the time the update will take anywhere from 3-180 seconds. I'm trying to figure out how to reduce or eliminate those outliers.

remotedata is the very large table; valid_remotedata is the one used for updates.

Table "remotedata"
      Column      |            Type             |                              Modifiers                              
------------------+-----------------------------+---------------------------------------------------------------------
 system_id        | character varying(32)       | not null default ''::character varying
 id               | bigint                      | not null default 0::bigint
(50 more columns of varying types)
 expire_confirmed | character(1)                | default 'f'::bpchar
Indexes:
    "remotedata_pkey" PRIMARY KEY, btree (system_id, id)

        Table "valid_remotedata"
   Column   |         Type          | Modifiers 
------------+-----------------------+-----------
 system_id  | character varying(32) | not null
 id         | bigint                | not null
Indexes:
    "valid_remotedata_pkey" PRIMARY KEY, btree (system_id, id)
    "valid_remote_system" btree (system_id)

Update statement:

UPDATE remotedata r SET expire_confirmed='t' 
FROM valid_remotedata vr 
WHERE vr.id=r.id and vr.system_id=r.system_id 
AND vr.system_id='223344';

explain analyze output:

                                                                   QUERY PLAN                                                                    
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Update on remotedata r  (cost=353.49..25563.39 rows=11 width=1701) (actual time=8861.469..8861.469 rows=0 loops=1)
   ->  Nested Loop  (cost=353.49..25563.39 rows=11 width=1701) (actual time=15.734..1638.006 rows=71233 loops=1)
         ->  Bitmap Heap Scan on valid_remotedata vr  (cost=352.93..7430.16 rows=2113 width=27) (actual time=15.684..54.007 rows=71233 loops=1)
               Recheck Cond: ((system_id)::text = '223344'::text)
               ->  Bitmap Index Scan on valid_remote_system  (cost=0.00..352.40 rows=2113 width=0) (actual time=15.585..15.585 rows=71233 loops=1)
                     Index Cond: ((system_id)::text = '223344'::text)
         ->  Index Scan using remotedata_pkey on remotedata r  (cost=0.56..8.57 rows=1 width=1695) (actual time=0.020..0.020 rows=1 loops=71233)
               Index Cond: (((system_id)::text = '223344'::text) AND (id = vb.id))
 Total runtime: 8861.651 ms
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  • Hi, Can you tell, Is there any other queries are running at the same time (I believe a heavy one) ? AND Is there any other index (except to the primary key) that cover the updated column remotedata.expire_confirmed ? – itzik Paz Nov 5 '14 at 20:39
  • This happens fairly often, so I haven't checked all of the occurrences, but I haven't seen any major queries running at the same time as the slowdown. There are no indices that include the expire_confirmed column. – Adina Nov 6 '14 at 14:02
  • can you create new index that includes the primary key columns (keys) + the remotedata.expire_confirmed ? then run the query again, and see if there is any improvement . – itzik Paz Nov 6 '14 at 15:02
  • I don't understand. expire_confirmed isn't part of the query, so why would indexing it make any difference? In fact, wouldn't indexing it make the update slower because the index would have to be updated? – Adina Nov 6 '14 at 16:32

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