Maintaining indexes

During the course of database and application maturity there are times when we try hard to improve the performance of the database to meet customer expectations in accordance to the agreed standards. These are the times when we think lets add an index on that old table to make it work faster.

There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when you are looking at adding an index to your table. Ask yourself the question “will this really help in performance”? Consider a scenario where you have a table that is pretty busy with inserts all day. You have a requirement for a report from that table during the night and add an index to speed up that report. Well works perfect for your little report running during off hours. How about the inserts happening during the day on the table that is being used excessively. You will notice there is a fall in performance there. Reason being you added another index and that index also needs to be updated with every insert/update. Increasing the time it takes and reducing the performance.

Make sure you run the below query once a month to get a report on the unused indexes on your database. This can be pretty useful when trying to boost your database’s performance. Also you will find that you have freed up quite some space that was lying around not being used by the database.

I would recommend running this off of crontab and sending the output via email every month.

Unused indexes:


    indexrelid::regclass as index, relid::regclass as table 



    JOIN pg_index USING (indexrelid) 


    idx_scan = 0 and indisunique is false;

NOTE: don’t just blindly drop the indexes listed in here. Make sure they are useless first. Also, running this is useless after a fresh restore or after calling pg_stat_reset(). If your stats have reset run at least one business cycle on the database before running the sql queries.

Index maintenance also covers removing duplicates. A lot of times I have seen indexes on a table with a unique key and then the same column has a primary key constraint. Primary keys are unique. Run the below SQL and identify the duplicate indexes that can be removed from the database. This will also help in improving performance and reclaiming lost space.

Duplicate Indexes:

SELECT pg_size_pretty(sum(pg_relation_size(idx))::bigint) AS size,
       (array_agg(idx))[1] AS idx1, (array_agg(idx))[2] AS idx2,
       (array_agg(idx))[3] AS idx3, (array_agg(idx))[4] AS idx4
    SELECT indexrelid::regclass AS idx, (indrelid::text ||E'\n'|| indclass::text ||E'\n'|| indkey::text ||E'\n'||
                                         coalesce(indexprs::text,'')||E'\n' || coalesce(indpred::text,'')) AS KEY
    FROM pg_index) sub
ORDER BY sum(pg_relation_size(idx)) DESC;

If you ever thought about finding the foreign key columns that are missing indexes. Below is something that might help. Again check if you really need to add the index don’t just assume based on the query below:

Missing indexes:

select src_table, dst_table, fk_name, pg_size_pretty(s_size) as s_size, pg_size_pretty(d_size) as d_size, d
    from (
                distinct on (1,2,3,4,5)
                textin(regclassout(c.conrelid))  as src_table,
                textin(regclassout(c.confrelid)) as dst_table,
                c.conname                        as fk_name,
                pg_relation_size(c.conrelid)     as s_size,
                pg_relation_size(c.confrelid)    as d_size,
                array_upper(di.indkey::int[], 1) + 1 - array_upper(c.conkey::int[], 1) as d
        from pg_constraint c
        left join pg_index di on di.indrelid = c.conrelid
                and array_to_string(di.indkey, ' ') ~ ('^' || array_to_string(c.conkey, ' ') || '( |$)')
        join pg_stat_user_tables st on st.relid = c.conrelid
        where c.contype = 'f'
        order by 1,2,3,4,5,6 asc
    ) mfk
    where mfk.d is distinct from 0 and mfk.s_size > 1000000
    order by mfk.s_size desc, mfk.d desc;

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