Alvaro Herrera wrote:
> Log Message:
> -----------
> Reduce the size of memory allocations by lazy vacuum when processing a small
> table, by allocating just enough for a hardcoded number of dead tuples per
> page.  The current estimate is 200 dead tuples per page.

200 sounds like a badly chosen value. With a 8k block size, that's a bit
less than MaxHeapTuplesPerPage, which means that in the worst case you
don't allocate enough space to hold all dead tuples, and you end up
doing 2 index cleanups, no matter how large you set
maintenance_work_mem. Remember that having MaxHeapTuplesPerPage dead
tuples on a page just got much more likely with HOT, and with larger
block sizes 200 tuples isn't very much anyway.

At the other end of the spectrum, with a smaller block size 200 is more
than MaxHeapTuplesPerPage, so we're still allocating more than necessary.

Note that as the patch stands, the capping is not limited to small
tables. Doing extra index passes on a relatively big table with lots of
indexes might be cause a lot of real extra I/O.

How about just using MaxHeapTuplesPerPage? With the default 8K block
size, it's not that much more than 200, but makes the above gripes
completely go away. That seems like the safest option at this point.

> Per reports from Jeff Amiel, Erik Jones and Marko Kreen, and subsequent
> discussion.

Ok, I just read that discussion in the archives. A lot of good ideas
were suggested, like reducing the space required for the tid list, or
dividing maintenance_work_mem between workers. None of that is going to
happen for 8.3, so it seems likely that we're going to revisit this in
8.4. Let's keep it simple and safe for now.

  Heikki Linnakangas

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