3.1.1 PostgreSQL 7.4, the LRU list In PostgreSQL 7.4 the free space in the shared buffer was managed using a simple last recently used list. When a page is first request from disk the buffer manager puts it into the first buffer in the free LRU list. If the first buffer is used by another page the list is shifted by one unity and the eventual last page in the list is discarded.
The PostgreSQL memory at first sight looks simple. If compared with the complex structures implemented in the other DBMS to a careless reader could seem rudimentary. However, the memory and in particular the shared buffers implementation is complex and sophisticated. This chapter will dig down deep into the PostgreSQL’s memory. 3.1 The shared buffer The shared buffer is a segment allocated at cluster’s startup. Its size is determined by the GUC parameter shared_buffers and the size can be changed only restarting the cluster.
2.4 The background writer Before the spread checkpoints the only solution to ease down the IO spike caused by the checkpoint was to tweak the background writer. This process were introduced with the revolutionary PostgreSQL 8.0. The writer, as the name suggests, works in the background searching for dirty buffers to write on the data files. The writer works in rounds. When the process awakes scans the shared buffer for dirty buffers.