How is transaction id wraparound prevented on write-only tables?

All we need is an easy explanation of the problem, so here it is.

We have a table where we store events. This is an append-only table with 4 billion rows/events in it. We never delete nor update the rows in this table, hence we never have dead_rows in it.

AFAIK transaction id wraparound is prevented by frequent runs of AUTOVACUUM.

However to my understanding, AUTOVACUUM never runs on write-only tables because they don’t have dead rows in them hence they never exceed the autovacuum_threshold.

How would transaction id wraparound be prevented in such a case?

How to solve :

I know you bored from this bug, So we are here to help you! Take a deep breath and look at the explanation of your problem. We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first method because it is tested & true method that will 100% work for you.

Method 1

By autovacuum_multixact_freeze_max_age, which defaults to 200 millions.

Once a table has an unfrozen live row that is more than autovacuum_multixact_freeze_max_age transactions old, autovacuum will launch an worker that performs an anti-wraparound vacuum on the table and freezes rows older than vacuum_freeze_min_age transactions.

Note that from PostgreSQL v13 on, autovacuum is not only triggered by dead tuples, but also by the number of rows inserted (based on autovacuum_vacuum_insert_threshold and autovacuum_vacuum_insert_scale_factor). That allows freezing rows earlier, and reduces the impact of an anti-wraparound vacuum. See my blog post for details.

Note: Use and implement method 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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