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Column And Table Redefinition With Minimal Locking

TLDR: Note to future self… (1) Read this before you modify a table on a live PostgreSQL database. If you do it wrong then your app might totally hang. There is a right way to do it which avoids that. (2) Especially remember the lock_timeout step. Many blog posts around the ‘net are missing this and it’s very important.

Recently I was chatting with some PostgreSQL users (who, BTW, were doing rather large-scale cool stuff in PG) and they asked a question about making schema changes with minimal impact to the running application. They were specifically curious about changing a primary key from INT to BIGINT.  (Oh, you are making all your new PK fields BIGINT right?)

Column And Table Redefinition With Minimal Locking

TLDR: Note to future self… (1) Read this before you modify a table on a live PostgreSQL database. If you do it wrong then your app might totally hang. There is a right way to do it which avoids that. (2) Especially remember the lock_timeout step. Many blog posts around the ‘net are missing this and it’s very important.

Recently I was chatting with some PostgreSQL users (who, BTW, were doing rather large-scale cool stuff in PG) and they asked a question about making schema changes with minimal impact to the running application. They were specifically curious about changing a primary key from INT to BIGINT.  (Oh, you are making all your new PK fields BIGINT right?)

Column And Table Redefinition With Minimal Locking

TLDR: Note to future self… (1) Read this before you modify a table on a live PostgreSQL database. If you do it wrong then your app might totally hang. There is a right way to do it which avoids that. (2) Especially remember the lock_timeout step. Many blog posts around the ‘net are missing this and it’s very important.

Recently I was chatting with some PostgreSQL users (who, BTW, were doing rather large-scale cool stuff in PG) and they asked a question about making schema changes with minimal impact to the running application. They were specifically curious about changing a primary key from INT to BIGINT.  (Oh, you are making all your new PK fields BIGINT right?)

This Week in PostgreSQL – May 31

Since last October I’ve been periodically writing up summaries of interesting content I see on the internet related to PostgreSQL (generally blog posts). My original motivation was just to learn more about PostgreSQL – but I’ve started sharing them with a few colleagues and received positive feedback.  Thought I’d try posting one of these digests here on the Ardent blog – who knows, maybe a few old readers will find it interesting? Here’s the update that I put together last week – let me know what you think!


Hello from California!

Part of my team is here in Palo Alto and I’m visiting for a few days this week. You know… for all the remote work I’ve done over the years, I still really value this in-person, face-to-face time. These little trips from Seattle to other locations where my teammates physically sit are important to me.

This Week in PostgreSQL – May 31

Since last October I’ve been periodically writing up summaries of interesting content I see on the internet related to PostgreSQL (generally blog posts). My original motivation was just to learn more about PostgreSQL – but I’ve started sharing them with a few colleagues and received positive feedback.  Thought I’d try posting one of these digests here on the Ardent blog – who knows, maybe a few old readers will find it interesting? Here’s the update that I put together last week – let me know what you think!


Hello from California!

Part of my team is here in Palo Alto and I’m visiting for a few days this week. You know… for all the remote work I’ve done over the years, I still really value this in-person, face-to-face time. These little trips from Seattle to other locations where my teammates physically sit are important to me.

This Week in PostgreSQL – May 31

Since last October I’ve been periodically writing up summaries of interesting content I see on the internet related to PostgreSQL (generally blog posts). My original motivation was just to learn more about PostgreSQL – but I’ve started sharing them with a few colleagues and received positive feedback.  Thought I’d try posting one of these digests here on the Ardent blog – who knows, maybe a few old readers will find it interesting? Here’s the update that I put together last week – let me know what you think!


Hello from California!

Part of my team is here in Palo Alto and I’m visiting for a few days this week. You know… for all the remote work I’ve done over the years, I still really value this in-person, face-to-face time. These little trips from Seattle to other locations where my teammates physically sit are important to me.

Understanding CPU on AIX Power SMT Systems

This month I worked with a chicagoland company to improve performance for eBusiness Suite on AIX. I’ve worked with databases running on AIX a number of times over the years now. Nevertheless, I got thrown for a loop this week.

TLDR: In the end, it came down to a fundamental change in resource accounting that IBM introduced with the POWER7 processor in 2010. The bottom line is twofold:

Understanding CPU on AIX Power SMT Systems

This month I worked with a chicagoland company to improve performance for eBusiness Suite on AIX. I’ve worked with databases running on AIX a number of times over the years now. Nevertheless, I got thrown for a loop this week.

TLDR: In the end, it came down to a fundamental change in resource accounting that IBM introduced with the POWER7 processor in 2010. The bottom line is twofold: