Expand description

An abstraction presenting as a durable time-varying collection (aka shard)


Persist is an implementation detail of STORAGE. Its “public” API is used only by STORAGE and code outside of STORAGE should be talking to STORAGE, not persist. However, having this strong API boundary between the two allows for the two teams to execute independently.

Persist’s primary abstraction is a “shard”, which is a durable and definite Time-Varying Collection (TVC). Persist requires that the collection’s “data” is key-value structured (a () unit value is fine) but otherwise allows the key, value, time, and diff to be abstract in terms of the Codec and Codec64 encode/decode traits. As a result, persist is independent of Materialize’s internal data formats: Row etc.

Along with talking to the outside world, STORAGE pilots persist shards around to present a “STORAGE collection”, which is a durable TVC that handles reshardings and version upgrades. A persist shard is exactly a storage shard and they can be used interchangeably.

More details available in the persist design doc.

FAQ: What is persist’s throughput?

In general, with proper usage and hardware (and once we finish tuning), persist should be able to saturate 75% or more of the available network bandwidth on both writes and reads.

Experimentally, the s3_pg configuration has sustained 64 MiB/s of goodput for 10+ hours in an open loop benchmark. This is nowhere near our max, but should easily be sufficient for M1. TODO: Add numbers under contention.

cargo run -p mz-persist-client --bin persist_open_loop_benchmark --blob_uri=... --consensus_uri=...

FAQ: What is persist’s latency?

Materialize is not an OLTP database, so our initial tunings are for throughput over latency. There are some tricks we can play in the future to get these latencies down, but here’s a quick idea of where we’re starting.

The vertical axis:

  • mem_mem uses im-memory implementations of “external durability”. These exist for testing but here they’re nice because they show the overhead of persist itself.
  • file_pg uses files for blob and Postgres for consensus. This is what you might expect in local development or in CI. (These numbers, like the rest, are from a persist-benchmarking ./bin/scratch box. Maybe this one should be from a laptop?)
  • s3_pg uses s3 for blob and AWS Postgres Aurora for consensus. This is what you might expect in production.

The horizontal axis:

  • write is an un-contended small write (append/compare_and_append).
  • wtl (write_to_listen) is the total latency between the beginning of a small write and it being emitted by a listener. Think of this as persist’s contribution to the latency between INSERT-ing a row into Materialize and getting it back out with SELECT.
  • The (est) variant is whatever Criterion uses to select its “best estimate” and (p95) is the higher end of Criterion’s confidence interval (not actually a p95 but sorta like one).
  • TODO: Real p50/p95/p99/max.
write (est)write (p95)wtl (est)wtl (p95)
mem_mem< 1ms<1ms5.1ms5.2ms

These numbers are from our micro-benchmarks.

cargo bench -p mz-persist-client --bench=benches

Larger writes are expected to take the above latency floor plus however long it takes to write the extra data to e.g s3. TODO: Get real numbers for larger batches.

Memory Usage

Note: This is provisional and based on mental modeling, it is yet to be empirically tested.

A persist writer uses at most B * (2N+1) memory per BatchBuilder (available for direct use and also used internally in the batch, compare_and_append, and append sugar methods). This is true even when writing data that is far bigger than this cap.

A persist reader uses as most 3B memory per Listen and per Subscribe.

  • B is blob_target_size
  • We have one part fetched that is being iterated
  • In the future, we’ll pipeline the fetch of a second part. Like writing there is a moment where both a ColumnarRecords and its encoded representation are in memory.

Both of these might have small additive and multiplicative constants. This is true even when reading data that is far bigger than this cap.

OpenTelemetry Tracing Spans

Persist offers introspection into performance and behavior through integration with the tracing crate.

Materialize defaults to logs (tracing events) at “info” and above and opentelemetry (tracing spans) at “debug” and above. This is because our stderr log formatter includes any spans that are active at the time of the log event AND that match the log (not opentelemetry) filter. Example of what this looks like:

2022-06-02T21:18:48.220658Z  INFO my_span{my_field=foo}: my_crate::my_module: Hello, world!

So in practice, with the default flag settings, spans at:

  • info: Exported to opentelemetry AND included in any event logs that happen while the span is active as described above. Nothing in persist meets this bar.
  • debug: Exported to opentelemetry (but not included in logs).
  • trace: Completely disabled.

There are many policies we could adopt for what is instrumented and at what level. At the same time, it’s early enough that there are lots of unknowns around what will be most useful for debugging real problems and what knobs are wanted to opt into additional detail. As a result, we adopt a common idiom of spans at the API boundary between persist and the rest of mz (as well as persist’s API boundary with external systems such as s3 and aurora, which we wouldn’t do if they themselves offered tracing integration). In detail:

  • All persist spans have a shard field and no other fields.
  • Every method in the persist public API is traced at debug level. However, this excludes “sugar” methods (e.g. append and snapshot) that are implemented entirely in terms of other public persist API methods, which are traced at trace level.
  • All writes to external systems are traced at debug level. Reads from S3 are also traced at debug level. Reads from Aurora are traced at trace level (too spammy).
  • Additional debugging information is traced at trace level.

We’ll tune this policy over time as we gain experience debugging persist in production.


Async runtime extensions.
A handle to a batch of updates
A cache of PersistClients indexed by PersistLocations.
Errors for the crate
Fetching batches of data from persist’s backing store
CLI introspection tools for persist
internal 🔒
An implementation of the public crate interface.
Read capabilities and handles
Introspection of storage utilization by persist
Write capabilities and handles


Prometheus monitoring metrics.
A handle for interacting with the set of persist shard made durable at a single PersistLocation.
The tunable knobs for persist.
A location in s3, other cloud storage, or otherwise “durable storage” used by persist.
An opaque identifier for a persist durable TVC (aka shard).
Wrapper for Antichain that represents a Since
Wrapper for Antichain that represents an Upper