System Expansion Overview
System Expansion Overview
Data warehouses typically grow over time, often at a continuous pace, as additional data is gathered and the retention period increases for existing data. At times, it is necessary to increase database capacity to consolidate disparate data warehouses into a single database. The data warehouse may also require additional computing capacity (CPU) to accommodate added analytics projects. It is good to provide capacity for growth when a system is initially specified, but even if you anticipate high rates of growth, it is generally unwise to invest in capacity long before it is required. Database expansion, therefore, is a project that you should expect to have to execute periodically.
- Scalable capacity and performance. When you add resources to a Greenplum Database, the capacity and performance are the same as if the system had been originally implemented with the added resources.
- Uninterrupted service during expansion. Regular workloads, both scheduled and ad-hoc, are not interrupted. A short, scheduled downtime period is required to initialize the new servers, similar to downtime required to restart the system. The length of downtime is unrelated to the size of the system before or after expansion.
- Transactional consistency.
- Fault tolerance. During the expansion, standard fault-tolerance mechanisms, such as segment mirroring, remain active, consistent, and effective.
- Replication and disaster recovery. Any existing replication mechanisms continue to function during expansion. Restore mechanisms needed in case of a failure or catastrophic event remain effective.
- Transparency of process. The expansion process employs standard Greenplum Database mechanisms, so administrators can diagnose and troubleshoot any problems.
- Configurable process. Expansion can be a long running process, but it can be fit into a schedule of ongoing operations. Expansion control tables allow adminstrators to prioritize the order in which tables are redistributed and the expansion activity can be paused and resumed
The planning and physical aspects of an expansion project are a greater share of the work than expanding the database itself. It will take a multi-discipline team to plan and execute the project. Space must be acquired and prepared for the new servers. The servers must be specified, acquired, installed, cabled, configured, and tested. Consulting Greenplum Database platform engineers in the planning stages will help to ensure a successful expansion project. General guidelines for preparing hardware are included here. The Greenplum Database software distribution includes utilities that are helpful to test and burn-in the new servers before beginning the software phase of the expansion.
- There is a brief period of downtime while the new segment hosts are initialized and the
system is prepared for the expansion process. This downtime can be scheduled to occur
during a period of low activity to avoid disrupting ongoing business operations. During
the initialization process, the following tasks are performed:
- Greenplum Database software is installed.
- Databases and database objects are created on the new segment hosts.
- An expansion schema is created in the master database to control the expansion process.
- The distribution policy for each table is changed to DISTRIBUTED RANDOMLY.
- The system is restarted and applications resume.
- New segments are immediately available and participate in new queries and data loads.
- Because tables now have a random distribution policy, the optimizer creates query plans that are not dependent on distribution keys. Some queries will be less efficient because more data motion operators are needed.
- Using the expansion control tables as a guide, tables and partitions are redistributed.
For each table:
- An ALTER TABLE statement is issued to change the distribution policy back to the original policy. This causes an automatic data redistribution operation, which spreads data across all of the servers, old and new, according to the original distribution policy.
- The table's status is updated in the expansion control tables.
- The query optimizer creates more efficient execution plans by including the distribution key in the planning.
- When all tables have been redistributed, the expansion is complete.
Redistributing data, as described in step 3, is a long-running process that creates a large volume of network and disk activity. It can take days to redistribute some very large databases. To minimize the effects of the increased activity on business operations, system administrators can pause and resume expansion activity on an ad hoc basis, or according to a predetermined scheule. Datasets can be prioritized so that applications
Once initialized, the new segments are active and participate in all further transactions. The existing data, however, is skewed. It is concentrated on the original segments and must be redistributed across the new total number of primary segments. The distribution policy for all tables has changed to
System expansion consists of the following phases. Perform these operations with the system offline. The gpexpand utility shuts down the database during initialization if an administrator has not already done so.
- Adding and testing new hardware —Planning New Hardware Platforms describes general considerations for deploying new hardware. For more information about hardware platforms, consult Greenplum platform engineers. After you provision the new hardware platforms and set up their networks, run performance tests using Greenplum utilities.
- Initializing new segments — After you install Greenplum Database on new hardware, initialize new segments using gpexpand. gpexpand creates a data directory, copies user tables from all existing databases on the new segments, and captures metadata for each table in an expansion schema for status tracking. After this process completes, the expansion operation is committed and irrevocable.
Redistributing tables — At initialization, gpexpand
nullifies hash distribution policies on tables in all existing databases, except for parent
tables of a partitioned table, and sets the distribution policy for all tables to random
Users can access Greenplum Database after initialization completes and the system is back online, but they may experience performance degradation on systems that rely heavily on hash distribution of tables.
During redistribution, normal operations such as ETL jobs, user queries, and reporting can continue, though users might experience slower response times.
When a table has a random distribution policy, Greenplum Database cannot enforce unique constraints (such as PRIMARY KEY). This can affect your ETL and loading processes until table redistribution completes because duplicate rows do not issue a constraint violation error.
To complete system expansion, you must run gpexpand to redistribute data tables across the newly added segments. Depending on the size and scale of your system, redistribution can be accomplished in a single session during low-use hours, or you can divide the process into batches over an extended period. Each table or partition is unavailable for read or write operations during redistribution. As each table is redistributed across the new segments, database performance should incrementally improve until it exceeds pre-expansion performance levels.
In a typical operation, you run the gpexpand utility four times with different options during the complete expansion process.
- To interactively create an expansion input
gpexpand -f hosts_file
- To initialize segments and create the expansion
gpexpand -i input_file -D database_name
- To redistribute
gpexpand -d duration
- To remove the expansion schema:
You may need to run gpexpand several times to complete the expansion in large-scale systems that require multiple redistribution sessions. gpexpand can benefit from explicit table redistribution ranking; see Planning Table Redistribution.
For information about the gpexpand utility and the other utilities that are used for system expansion, see the Greenplum Database Utility Guide.