All database engines, even Postgres, occasionally present a seemingly intractable problem that will drive everyone insane while attempting to isolate it. All it takes is the perfect storm of situational circumstances, and even a perfectly running stack of software will grind to a screeching halt. It’s situations like this that we must turn to various Postgres forensic tools to track down the issue before management starts firing people in frustration.
Items in Category: Tech Talk
“Hey! That row shouldn’t be in that table! How the heck did that get there!? Alright, who wrote the application client filters, because you’re fired!”
Good application developers know never to trust client input, but not all realize that a single app is rarely the only vector into a database. Databases don’t just preserve data with various levels of paranoia, they’re also the central nexus of a constellation of apps, scripts, APIs, GUIs, BMIs, HMOs, and STDs. As such, unless every single one of those share a common ancestor that sanitizes, boils, renders, and formats content before storage, there’s bound to be inconsistencies. That’s just how things work.
Occasionally with a lot of similar-sounding terminology, there’s ample room for misunderstandings. This is especially relevant with overloaded terms like ‘index’, which can be anything from a data lookup to a term used in mutual funds. This is further complicated if a developer’s first experience with databases is with another variant with sufficiently divergent syntax, methodology, or assumptions. To prevent future code refactors born of misunderstandings, let’s build a basic Postgres glossary to act as an executive summary for app devs.
We’ve all had it happen. One day, we run a query or function and we wait for the result. And we wait. And we wait. Eventually, we realize something is wrong and find a DBA and yell at them.
“Hey Postgres dude!” we scream. “The database is slow!”
Or maybe we can’t even get a connection. Postgres just keeps saying something about too many clients. This application isn’t launching and there are ten managers breathing down our neck and we panic.
“Hey Postgres dude!” we cry. “The database is down or something!”
Is it, though?
The pure, unadulterated, presumptuous impudence of NoSQL. Engines like MongoDB recklessly discard concepts like ACID in some futile quest to achieve “web scale”, and end up accomplishing neither. RDBMS systems have literally decades of history to draw upon, and have long since conquered the pitfalls NoSQL platforms are just now encountering. There may be something to a couple of them, but by and large, they’re nothing we really need.
At least, that’s something I might have said a couple of weeks ago.