A quick check on Postgres 10 Beta Analytics Performance vs version 9.6

Some weeks ago already the Beta 1 of upcoming Postgres 10 was released. Besides the very visible version numbering scheme change (no more X.Y.Z ) the release notes promised amongst other very cool and longawaited features – like builtin Logical Replication and Table Partitioning – also many performance improvements, especially in the area of analytics. Release notes stated up to +40% for cases with large number of rows (which could mean different things to different people of course), with an added note to test it out and report back. So now I found time to exactly do that and I’m again just laying out the numbers on running some analytical queries for you to evaluate.

Test Queries

Postgres has excellent analytical support, so making a choice on what to test exactly without going through the v10 Git changelog in details caused me halt for a moment, but I thought I’ll keep it simple this time (will hopefully go deeper for the final Release Candidate) and I conjured up 3 quite simple SELECT queries based on the hints from release notes and on the schema generated by our good old friend pgbench.

/* Sum up 50mio row as SUM function was mentioned in the release notes  */
SELECT sum(abalance) FROM pgbench_accounts CROSS JOIN generate_series(1, 5)

/* As unique columns joining improvements where mentioned. Clone-table set up by my script */
SELECT count(*) FROM pgbench_accounts JOIN pgbench_accounts_copy using (aid)

/* Grouping Sets functionality was mentioned */
SELECT count(*) FROM (SELECT aid, bid, count(*) FROM pgbench_accounts GROUP BY CUBE (aid, bid)) a;

For pbench „scale“ I chose 100, meaning 10 Million rows (1.3GB) will be populated into the pgbench_accounts table. This gives enough rows but still fits into memory so that runtimes are more predictable.

Hardware & Server Config

I spun up a modest c3.xlarge (4 cores, Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 @ 2.8GHz, 7.5GB RAM, RHEL 7.3) instance on AWS, but as we’re not testing hardware it should be fine. Also the disk doesn’t really matter here as it’s a read-only test and everything will fit into RAM. For additional testing fairness my test script also performed queries in turns between 9.6 and 10 Beta to try to suppress the effects of possible background load jitter of a shared virtual machine.

For running Postgres I used official Postgres packages from the YUM repo for both 9.6.3 and 10 Beta1, just changing the port to 5433 for 10 Beta.
Concerning server settings I left everything to defaults, except below changes on both clusters for reasons added as comments.

shared_buffers='2GB'		# to ensure buffers our dataset
work_mem='128MB'		# increase work_mem  as it helps a lot for analytical stuff
max_parallel_workers_per_gather=0	# test single core i.e. algorithm performance
shared_preload_libraries='pg_stat_statements'	# for storing/analyzing test results


After running my test script (1h of analytical queries for both clusters), which basically does all the work out of the box and can be found here, I got the below numbers. For generating the percentage differences btw, you could use this query here.

Query Instance Mean time (s) % Change Stddev time (s) % Change
SUM 9.6 9.74 3.86
SUM 10beta1 9.28 -5.0 2.05 -87.9
JOIN 9.6 5.05 2.13
JOIN 10beta1 5.98 +15.5 1.53 -39.0
CUBE 9.6 10.35 1.53
CUBE 10beta1 8.75 -18.3 1.93 21.0

So what do these numbers tell us? 2 queries out of 3 have improved – that’s good of course. Any significant changes? Not so much. Only maybe for the grouping sets query. But the advertised unique join feature improvement definitely did not show out, the opposite sadly. For consolation – at least it’s more predictably slow – standard deviation fell by 40% 🙂

But to sum it up – the general impression is still positive as aggregate runtimes over all queries still improved by 5%. One could think that 5% is not much – but the fact is that Postgres has matured over decades and is already using very good algorithms and big improvements can come only from venturing into the „parallel worlds“.

NB! Not to forget – it’s a BETA release and these numbers don’t mean too much in the long run.

A drop of tar on another front

After being done with the analytical queries I also got hungry for more and thought I’ll check out how do normal read queries perform? So I also ran a quick „pgbench –select-only“ (single index scans) tests for different client/scale settings… and actually noticed that on average the 10 Beta was consitently a couple of percent slower there when measured in TPS! Not a big difference of course, given that we’re still dealing with beta software here… but it made me a bit sceptical still. So if anyone has time, please test it out yourself (for example using my script here) and see if this was some setup glitch from my side or something else. Or just comment what you think of this test. Thanks a lot!

Kaarel Moppel
I’ve been interested with databases for the last 10 years, working last 6 years exclusively with PostgreSQL. And still I’m constantly surprised by it’s powerful set of features and the fast pace of development by the globally friendly community. On my spare time I enjoy playing soccer and travelling.