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Django Capacity Planning -- Reading the Meta Model

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Django Capacity Planning -- Reading the Meta Model

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I find that some people spend way too much time doing "meta" programming. I prefer to use someone's framework rather than (a) write my own or (b) extend theirs. I prefer to learn their features (and quirks).

Having disclaimed an interest in meta programming, I do have to participate in capacity planning.

Capacity planning, generally, means canvassing applications to track down disk storage requirements.

Back In The Day

Back in the day, when we wrote SQL by hand, we were expected to carefully plan all our table and index use down to the kilobyte. I used to have really sophisticated spreadsheets for estimating -- to the byte -- Oracle storage requirements.

Since then, the price of storage has fallen so far that I no longer have to spend a lot of time carefully modelling the byte-by-byte storage allocation. The price has fallen so fast that some people still spend way more time on this than it deserves.

Django ORM

The Django ORM obscures the physical database design. This is a good thing.

For capacity planning purposes, however, it would be good to know row sizes so that we can multiply by expected number of rows and cough out a planned size.

Here's some meta-data programming to extract Table and Column information for the purposes of size estimation.
import sys
from django.conf import settings
from django.db.models.base import ModelBase

class Table( object ):
def __init__( self, name, comment="" ):
self.name= name
self.comment= comment
self.columns= {}
def add( self, column ):
self.columns[column.name]= column
def row_size( self ):
return sum( self.columns[c].size for c in self.columns ) + 1*len(self.columns)

class Column( object ):
def __init__( self, name, type, size ):
self.name= name
self.type= type
self.size= size

sizes = {
'integer': 4,
'bool': 1,
'datetime': 32,
'text': 255,
'smallint unsigned': 2,
'date': 24,
'real': 8,
'integer unsigned': 4,
'decimal': 40,
def get_size( db_type, max_length ):
if max_length is not None:
return max_length
return sizes[db_type]

def get_schema():
tables = {}
for app in settings.INSTALLED_APPS:
print app
__import__( app + ".models" )
mod= sys.modules[app + ".models"]
if mod.__doc__ is not None:
print mod.__doc__.splitlines()[:1]
for name in mod.__dict__:
obj = mod.__dict__[name]
if isinstance( obj, ModelBase ):
t = Table( obj._meta.db_table, obj.__doc__ )
for fld in obj._meta.fields:
c = Column( fld.attname, fld.db_type(), get_size(fld.db_type(), fld.max_length) )
t.add( c )
tables[t.name]= t
except AttributeError, e:
print e
return tables

if __name__ == "__main__":
tables = get_schema()
for t in tables:
print t, tables[t].row_size()
This shows how we can get table and column information without too much pain. This will report an estimated row size for each DB table that's reasonably close.

You'll have to add storage for indexes, also. Further, many databases leave free space within each physical block, making the actual database much larger than the raw data.

Finally, you'll need extra storage for non-database files, logs and backups.

Published at DZone with permission of Steven Lott, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.


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