Is this a common issue among all RDBMSs or is it
something that is PostgreSQL specific?

Speaking from experience, this sort of thing affects MSSQL as well, although the maintenance routines are different.

Yes, this is true with MSSQL too, however sql server implements a defrag index that doesn't lock up the table..

"DBCC INDEXDEFRAG can defragment clustered and nonclustered indexes on tables and views. DBCC INDEXDEFRAG defragments the leaf level of an index so that the physical order of the pages matches the left-to-right logical order of the leaf nodes, thus improving index-scanning performance.

....Every five minutes, DBCC INDEXDEFRAG will report to the user an estimated percentage completed. DBCC INDEXDEFRAG can be terminated at any point in the process, and *any completed work is retained.*"


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