Investigating a Performance Problem

This section provides guidelines for identifying and troubleshooting performance problems in a Greenplum Database system.

This topic lists steps you can take to help identify the cause of a performance problem. If the problem affects a particular workload or query, you can focus on tuning that particular workload. If the performance problem is system-wide, then hardware problems, system failures, or resource contention may be the cause.

Parent topic: Managing Performance

Checking System State

Use the gpstate utility to identify failed segments. A Greenplum Database system will incur performance degradation when segment instances are down because other hosts must pick up the processing responsibilities of the down segments.

Failed segments can indicate a hardware failure, such as a failed disk drive or network card. Greenplum Database provides the hardware verification tool gpcheckperf to help identify the segment hosts with hardware issues.

Checking Database Activity

Checking for Active Sessions (Workload)

The pg_stat_activity system catalog view shows one row per server process; it shows the database OID, database name, process ID, user OID, user name, current query, time at which the current query began execution, time at which the process was started, client address, and port number. To obtain the most information about the current system workload, query this view as the database superuser. For example:

SELECT * FROM pg_stat_activity;

Note that the information does not update instantaneously.

Checking for Locks (Contention)

The pg_locks system catalog view allows you to see information about outstanding locks. If a transaction is holding a lock on an object, any other queries must wait for that lock to be released before they can continue. This may appear to the user as if a query is hanging.

Examine pg_locks for ungranted locks to help identify contention between database client sessions. pg_locks provides a global view of all locks in the database system, not only those relevant to the current database. You can join its relation column against pg_class.oid to identify locked relations (such as tables), but this works correctly only for relations in the current database. You can join the pid column to the pg_stat_activity.procpid to see more information about the session holding or waiting to hold a lock. For example:

SELECT locktype, database, c.relname, l.relation, 
l.transactionid,, l.mode, l.granted, 
        FROM pg_locks l, pg_class c, pg_stat_activity a 
        WHERE l.relation=c.oid AND 
        ORDER BY c.relname;

If you use resource groups, queries that are waiting will also show in pg_locks. To see how many queries are waiting to run in a resource group, use thegp_resgroup_statussystem catalog view. For example:

SELECT * FROM gp_toolkit.gp_resgroup_status;

Similarly, if you use resource queues, queries that are waiting in a queue also show in pg_locks. To see how many queries are waiting to run from a resource queue, use thegp_resqueue_statussystem catalog view. For example:

SELECT * FROM gp_toolkit.gp_resqueue_status;

Checking Query Status and System Utilization

You can use system monitoring utilities such as ps, top, iostat, vmstat, netstat and so on to monitor database activity on the hosts in your Greenplum Database array. These tools can help identify Greenplum Database processes (postgres processes) currently running on the system and the most resource intensive tasks with regards to CPU, memory, disk I/O, or network activity. Look at these system statistics to identify queries that degrade database performance by overloading the system and consuming excessive resources. Greenplum Database's management tool gpssh allows you to run these system monitoring commands on several hosts simultaneously.

You can create and use the Greenplum Database session_level_memory_consumption view that provides information about the current memory utilization and idle time for sessions that are running queries on Greenplum Database. For information about the view, see Viewing Session Memory Usage Information.

You can enable a dedicated database, gpperfmon, in which data collection agents running on each segment host save query and system utilization metrics. Refer to the gperfmon_install management utility reference in the Greenplum Database Management Utility Reference Guide for help creating the gpperfmon database and managing the agents. See documentation for the tables and views in the gpperfmon database in the Greenplum Database Reference Guide.

The optional Greenplum Command Center web-based user interface graphically displays query and system utilization metrics saved in the gpperfmon database. See the Greenplum Command Center Documentation web site for procedures to enable Greenplum Command Center.

Troubleshooting Problem Queries

If a query performs poorly, look at its query plan to help identify problems. The EXPLAIN command shows the query plan for a given query. See Query Profiling for more information about reading query plans and identifying problems.

When an out of memory event occurs during query execution, the Greenplum Database memory accounting framework reports detailed memory consumption of every query running at the time of the event. The information is written to the Greenplum Database segment logs.

Investigating Error Messages

Greenplum Database log messages are written to files in the pg_log directory within the master's or segment's data directory. Because the master log file contains the most information, you should always check it first. Log files roll over daily and use the naming convention: gpdb-YYYY-MM-DD_hhmmss.csv. To locate the log files on the master host:


Log lines have the format of:

<timestamp> | <user> | <database> | <statement_id> | <con#><cmd#> 
|:-<LOG_LEVEL>: *log\_message

You may want to focus your search for WARNING, ERROR, FATAL or PANIC log level messages. You can use the Greenplum utility gplogfilter to search through Greenplum Database log files. For example, when you run the following command on the master host, it checks for problem log messages in the standard logging locations:

$ gplogfilter -t

To search for related log entries in the segment log files, you can run gplogfilter on the segment hosts using gpssh. You can identify corresponding log entries by the statement_id or con# (session identifier). For example, to search for log messages in the segment log files containing the string con6 and save output to a file:

gpssh -f seg_hosts_file -e 'source 
/usr/local/greenplum-db/ ; gplogfilter -f 
con6 /gpdata/*/pg_log/gpdb*.csv' > seglog.out

Gathering Information for VMware Customer Support

The Greenplum Magic Tool (GPMT) utility can run diagnostics and collect information from a Greenplum Database system. You can then send the information to VMware Customer Support to aid in the diagnosis of Greenplum Database errors or system failures.

The gpmt utility command is available in the bin directory of your Greenplum Database installation. See gpmt for usage information.

check-circle-line exclamation-circle-line close-line
Scroll to top icon