So I ran a few days ago into a pretty weird deadlock error in my logs.
It took me some time to figure out the exact situation that was causing this deadlock, and so I decided to share what I've learned.
What better way to do that than through a blog.
Without further ado, let's dive in.
The general setting we are talking about is Java, Spring-Data, Hibernate, Postgres, though the main issue is the Postgres DB.
Let's start with the error. This would look something like that:
ERROR: deadlock detected DETAIL: Process 552 waits for ExclusiveLock on tuple (0,3) of relation 16393 of database 12002; blocked by process 4924. Process 4924 waits for ShareLock on transaction 689; blocked by process 552. HINT: See server log for query details.
Usually for me a deadlock error is a bad way to start the day.
These are usually hard to reproduce, and not simple to solve.
After reading a little about the different locks in Postgres and when they are used I came up with the following simple scenario which reproduces this error:
Given 2 tables, Parent and Child, we will try to add two children to the same parent from two different processes. After each insert we will also try to update the name of the parent.
(Assume the Parent has columns: ID, Name, and the Child has columns: ID, Parent_ID, Name)
BEGIN; INSERT INTO "Child" VALUES (1, 1, 'CHILD_A'); SELECT * from pg_sleep(5); UPDATE "Parent" SET "Name"='Parent_B' WHERE "ID"=1; END;
BEGIN; INSERT INTO "Child" VALUES (2, 1, 'CHILD_B'); SELECT * from pg_sleep(5); UPDATE "Parent" SET "Name"='Parent_C' WHERE "ID"=1; END;
Running these two simultaneously would result in the error above.
At first it seems a little weird that this scenario gives a deadlock.
I would just expect one of the processes to fail when trying to update the Parent row.
The deadlock comes from the fact that when inserting a new row to the Child table, Postres acquires a RowShareLock on the Parent row (because of the foreign key).
The insert from the second process also acquires a RowShareLock on the same row (acquiring two RowShareLocks is fine).
When both processes come to the update statement, things become interesting. An update required a RowExclusiveLock. This lock conflicts with the RowShareLock, and so each process waits for the second one to release the RowShareLock - thus the deadlock.
(You can read more about the different locks Postgres uses here)
The fact we are actually seeing a ShareLock on a transaction has to do with Postgres' deadlock detector, and the issue is explain here.
Now, in our case the solution was just synchronizing the code block which updates the entities and causes the deadlock.
The solution for your cases might be different, and is rather application specific.
Understanding the problem, though, will help you in choosing the right solution for your case.
That's it for today.
I hope this post will help someone debugging his Postgres deadlock - if it does, I did my good deed for the day.