PostgreSQL version:

maintenance_work_mem

Specifies the maximum amount of memory to be used by maintenance operations, such as VACUUM, CREATE INDEX, and ALTER TABLE ADD FOREIGN KEY. It defaults to 64 megabytes (64MB). Since only one of these operations can be executed at a time by a database session, and an installation normally doesn't have many of them running concurrently, it's safe to set this value significantly larger than work_mem. Larger settings might improve performance for vacuuming and for restoring database dumps.

Note that when autovacuum runs, up to autovacuum_max_workers times this memory may be allocated, so be careful not to set the default value too high. It may be useful to control for this by separately setting autovacuum_work_mem.

Recommendations

Sets the limit for the amount that autovacuum, manual vacuum, bulk index build and other maintenance routines are permitted to use. Setting it to a moderately high value will increase the efficiency of vacuum and other operations. Applications which perform large ETL operations may need to allocate up to 1/4 of RAM to support large bulk vacuums. Note that each autovacuum worker may use this much, so if using multiple autovacuum workers you may want to decrease this value so that they can't claim over 1/8 or 1/4 of available RAM.

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