This was touched on in recent discussion on dev list:
and then more recently on the user list:
Lucene's "point in time" searching currently relies on how the
underlying storage handles deletion files that are held open for
This is highly variable across filesystems. For example, UNIX-like
filesystems usually do "close on last delete", and Windows filesystem
typically refuses to delete a file open for reading (so Lucene retries
later). But NFS just removes the file out from under the reader, and
for that reason "point in time" searching doesn't work on NFS
With the lockless commits changes (
LUCENE-701 ), it's quite simple to
re-implement "point in time searching" so as to not rely on filesystem
semantics: we can just keep more than the last segments_N file (as
well as all files they reference).
This is also in keeping with the design goal of "rely on as little as
possible from the filesystem". EG with lockless we no longer re-use
filenames (don't rely on filesystem cache being coherent) and we no
longer use file renaming (because on Windows it can fails). This
would be another step of not relying on semantics of "deleting open
files". The less we require from filesystem the more portable Lucene
Where it gets interesting is what "policy" we would then use for
removing segments_N files. The policy now is "remove all but the last
one". I think we would keep this policy as the default. Then you
could imagine other policies:
- Keep past N day's worth
- Keep the last N
- Keep only those in active use by a reader somewhere (note: tricky
how to reliably figure this out when readers have crashed, etc.)
- Keep those "marked" as rollback points by some transaction, or
marked explicitly as a "snaphshot".
- Or, roll your own: the "policy" would be an interface or abstract
class and you could make your own implementation.
I think for this issue we could just create the framework
(interface/abstract class for "policy" and invoke it from
IndexFileDeleter) and then implement the current policy (delete all
but most recent segments_N) as the default policy.
In separate issue(s) we could then create the above more interesting
I think there are some important advantages to doing this:
- "Point in time" searching would work on NFS (it doesn't now
because NFS doesn't do "delete on last close"; see
and any other Directory implementations that don't work
- Transactional semantics become a possibility: you can set a
snapshot, do a bunch of stuff to your index, and then rollback to
the snapshot at a later time.
- If a reader crashes or machine gets rebooted, etc, it could choose
to re-open the snapshot it had previously been using, whereas now
the reader must always switch to the last commit point.
- Searchers could search the same snapshot for follow-on actions.
Meaning, user does search, then next page, drill down (Solr),
drill up, etc. These are each separate trips to the server and if
searcher has been re-opened, user can get inconsistent results (=
lost trust). But with, one series of search interactions could
explicitly stay on the snapshot it had started with.