>> a) quickly relieve the immediate pain
> Set autovacuum_cost_limit to a smaller value. (Change the
> postgresql.conf file and do a reload.) I would start by cutting the
> current value in half.
Thanks -- would not have known how to start. But for now, in
observance of your idea on XID wraparound, I am letting
everything run (this is actually a low point in regular traffic for this
site and I am not seeing firect proof that autovac is in fact doing
anything out of the ordinary).
>> b) prevent such issues in the future (other than going to manual
>> vacuuming on a schedule).
> If it is suddenly doing this on lots of big tables at once, it seems
> somewhat likely that you've hit the transaction wraparound
> protection threshold. Because the vacuum necessary for this can be
> painful, and they tend to come at the worst possible time (the more
> your workload looks like a really heavy OLTP workload at any given
> moment, the higher the probability that this is about to happen), I
> always follow a bulk load (like from restoring pg_dump output) with
> a VACUUM FREEZE ANALYZE.
> You might also want to consider running off-hours vacuums to
> supplement autovacuum. Upgrading to a more recent version of
> PostgreSQL is likely to help some, too.
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