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How To Speed Up Django Tests on Postgresql

I had a problem with a Django project that took forever to run its unit tests. The test database took an enormous amount of time to run, upwards of ten to fifteen minutes each. I didn't have a lot of ways around this, because I had to use a base Model that pulled in lots of cascading requirements and I couldn't avoid the dozens of applications it needed to build tables for. This was really hindering my ability to develop, as I rely heavily on constantly running tests in my own pathetic attempt at Continuous Integration.

After some poking around the PG forums, I eventually worked out this script, which I now run on startup.


#!/usr/bin/env bash
service postgresql stop
mount -t tmpfs -o size=500m tmpfs /mnt/pg_data_mem/
cp -R /var/lib/postgresql/8.4/main/ /mnt/pg_data_mem/
mount --bind /var/lib/postgresql/8.4/main/pg_xlog /mnt/pg_data_mem/main/pg_xlog
chown -R postgres:postgres /mnt/pg_data_mem/
sudo -u postgres /usr/lib/postgresql/8.4/bin/pg_resetxlog -f /mnt/pg_data_mem/main/service postgresql start

I also set data_directory = '/mnt/pg_data_mem/main' in postgresql.conf.

This works in development, where I don't need my DB to persist between reboots. If I did want to keep it around, I could just copy from /mnt/pg_data_mem/main/ to /var/lib/postgresql/8.4/main/ and keep it on disc. For now, my one-way solution works.

Comments

Stephen Lacy said…
On most modern Linux systems, you already have a tmpfs volume mounted on /dev/shm. Just make a directory there (/dev/shm/postgres), or put your directory right in /dev/shm. That should make your setup a bit easier.
akaihola said…
Also make sure you have "fsync = off" in your postgresql.conf. Makes a big difference.
stefantalpalaru said…
I agree with akaihola, "fsync = off" provides roughly the same speed up at the same price (the risk of data corruption on hardware failure).
gorsky said…
@akaihola - brilliant tip; easy to do, speedup is significant. Thanks!

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