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buggy kernels / unexpected data beyond EOF in block xxxxxxx

Posted on 2009-07-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
We have the following problem on our database server when executing a (quite heavy) sql query.

############################
select count(*) from pqrs();
ERROR:  unexpected data beyond EOF in block xxxxxxx of relation "properties_xyz"
HINT:  This has been seen to occur with buggy kernels; consider updating your system.
CONTEXT:  SQL statement "UPDATE properties_xyz SET abc_option_id =  $1  WHERE id =  $2 "
PL/pgSQL function "pqrs" line 63 at SQL statement

********** Error **********

ERROR: unexpected data beyond EOF in block xxxxxxx of relation "properties_xyz"
SQL status:XX000
Aanwijzing:This has been seen to occur with buggy kernels; consider updating your system.
############################

The serverload becomes critical after some time.

System info:

- Postgres 8.2.12
- Linux: Red Hat 4.1.2-12 (64 bits)

Do you have any idea what causes this and how to solve it?
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Question by:R7AF
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by:cminear
cminear earned 500 total points
ID: 24871948
The best answer is likely as the HINT suggests: perform an upgrade of the kernel.  What kernel are you running? (Run 'uname -a' and paste results in.)  In external mailing lists, the problem has been resolved by moving from SLES 2.6.5-7.244 to 2.6.5-7.282 (which of course doesn't help you with Redhat kernel versions).  Redhat 4.7 seems to have a base kernel of 2.6.9-78, while Redhat 5.3 seems to have 2.6.18-128.  (I won't guarantee that either of these kernel versions have the specific fix for the kernel bug you are likely hitting, but they probably do.)

If you have a Redhat support contract, I would recommend that you work with them on the best option for upgrading the kernel.  If you do not, investigate an upgrade on a test server on your own.

If a system upgrade is totally out of the question, you may be able to rework the query so that it doesn't hit the bug.  However, this would be a hit or miss fix, and only temporary.  You would almost be better if you schedule the query only during low-load periods (although you seem to indicate that the query itself generates the load, so this may be a non-starter for a work-around).
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R7AF earned 0 total points
ID: 24893470
We moved the database to another server, upgraded that server to Postgresql 8.4, and now the problems seem to be disappeared!
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