64.2. Implementation

There are four kinds of pages in a hash index: the meta page (page zero), which contains statically allocated control information; primary bucket pages; overflow pages; and bitmap pages, which keep track of overflow pages that have been freed and are available for re-use. For addressing purposes, bitmap pages are regarded as a subset of the overflow pages.

Both scanning the index and inserting tuples require locating the bucket where a given tuple ought to be located. To do this, we need the bucket count, highmask, and lowmask from the metapage; however, it's undesirable for performance reasons to have to have to lock and pin the metapage for every such operation. Instead, we retain a cached copy of the metapage in each backend's relcache entry. This will produce the correct bucket mapping as long as the target bucket hasn't been split since the last cache refresh.

Primary bucket pages and overflow pages are allocated independently since any given index might need more or fewer overflow pages relative to its number of buckets. The hash code uses an interesting set of addressing rules to support a variable number of overflow pages while not having to move primary bucket pages around after they are created.

Each row in the table indexed is represented by a single index tuple in the hash index. Hash index tuples are stored in bucket pages, and if they exist, overflow pages. We speed up searches by keeping the index entries in any one index page sorted by hash code, thus allowing binary search to be used within an index page. Note however that there is *no* assumption about the relative ordering of hash codes across different index pages of a bucket.

The bucket splitting algorithms to expand the hash index are too complex to be worthy of mention here. The split algorithm is crash safe and can be restarted if not completed successfully.