PostgreSQL version:

constraint_exclusion

Controls the query planner's use of table constraints to optimize queries. The allowed values of constraint_exclusion are on (examine constraints for all tables), off (never examine constraints), and partition (examine constraints only for inheritance child tables and UNION ALL subqueries). partition is the default setting. It is often used with inheritance and partitioned tables to improve performance.

When this parameter allows it for a particular table, the planner compares query conditions with the table's CHECK constraints, and omits scanning tables for which the conditions contradict the constraints. For example:CREATE TABLE parent(key integer, ...);CREATE TABLE child1000(check (key between 1000 and 1999)) INHERITS(parent);CREATE TABLE child2000(check (key between 2000 and 2999)) INHERITS(parent);...SELECT * FROM parent WHERE key = 2400; With constraint exclusion enabled, this SELECT will not scan child1000 at all, improving performance.

Currently, constraint exclusion is enabled by default only for cases that are often used to implement table partitioning. Turning it on for all tables imposes extra planning overhead that is quite noticeable on simple queries, and most often will yield no benefit for simple queries. If you have no partitioned tables you might prefer to turn it off entirely.

Refer to ddl-partitioning-constraint-exclusion for more information on using constraint exclusion and partitioning.

Recommendations

Default of “partition” is fine for most users. Setting it to “on” can allow optimization of UNION queries as well, but deserves testing before production deployment.

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