Introduced in PostgreSQL 9.1, an [unlogged table] (https://www.postgresql.org/docs/devel/static/sql-createtable.html) offers the possibility to create a table whose definition is permanent on server, but its content is not WAL-logged making it not crash-safe, with data that cannot be accessed on a read-only stannby continuously replaying WAL at recovery. Postgres 9.5 offers an improvement in this area with the possibility to switch the persistency of an unlogged to permanent and vice-versa:
commit: f41872d0c1239d36ab03393c39ec0b70e9ee2a3c author: Alvaro Herrera <email@example.com> date: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:27:00 -0400 Implement ALTER TABLE .. SET LOGGED / UNLOGGED This enables changing permanent (logged) tables to unlogged and vice-versa. (Docs for ALTER TABLE / SET TABLESPACE got shuffled in an order that hopefully makes more sense than the original.) Author: Fabrízio de Royes Mello Reviewed by: Christoph Berg, Andres Freund, Thom Brown Some tweaking by Álvaro Herrera
Something to be careful: running this command actually rewrites entirely the table, generating new WAL in consequence, while taking an exclusive lock on it. Hence the table cannot be accessed by other operations during the rewrite in order to recreate a new relfilenode for the relation whose persistence is changed.
Now, this command is rather simple to use. Let’s use an unlogged table that has some data.
=# CREATE UNLOGGED TABLE tab_test AS SELECT generate_series(1,5) AS a; SELECT 5 =# SELECT oid,relfilenode FROM pg_class where oid = 'aa'::regclass; oid | relfilenode -------+------------- 16391 | 16397 (1 row)
This data cannot be requested on a standby and any query on it will fail like that:
=# SELECT pg_is_in_recovery(); pg_is_in_recovery ------------------- t (1 row) =# SELECT * FROM tab_test; ERROR: 0A000: cannot access temporary or unlogged relations during recovery LOCATION: get_relation_info, plancat.c:104
Now running the command [ALTER TABLE .. SET LOGGED] (https://www.postgresql.org/docs/devel/static/sql-altertable.html) results in the relation to become persistent:
=# ALTER TABLE tab_test SET LOGGED; ALTER TABLE =# SELECT oid,relfilenode FROM pg_class where oid = 'aa'::regclass; oid | relfilenode -------+------------- 16391 | 16397 (1 row)
And its data becomes as well available in WAL:
=# SELECT pg_is_in_recovery(); pg_is_in_recovery ------------------- t (1 row) =# select count(*) from tab_test; count ------- 5 (1 row)
The reverse operation is possible as well with UNLOGGED. A last thing to note: ALTER TABLE returns success and hte operation is ignored if LOGGED is run on a relation already permanent and if UNLOGGED is run on a relation already unlogged.