Why you see the LWLockTranche/buffer_mapping wait event in PostgreSQL


The LWLockTranche/buffer_mapping wait event in PostgreSQL is often associated with contention in accessing shared buffer pools. Here’s a detailed look at this wait event and the most likely reason for its occurrence.

Understanding LWLockTranche/buffer_mapping Wait Event

  • LWLocks (Lightweight Locks): These are lighter and more granular locks in PostgreSQL designed for short-term protection of data structures in shared memory, minimizing the overhead of lock management.
  • Buffer Mapping: This refers to the process where PostgreSQL maps a block of data in a relation to a specific buffer in the shared buffer pool.

Most Likely Reason for the Wait Event

  • High Contention on Shared Buffers: When multiple backend processes concurrently attempt to read or write to the same region of the shared buffer pool, they need to acquire buffer mapping locks. High contention for these locks can lead to the LWLockTranche/buffer_mapping wait event.
    • This scenario often occurs in a heavily-loaded database system where many processes are trying to access and modify data simultaneously.

Contributing Factors

  • Large Databases with Heavy Read/Write Operations: In large databases, especially those with high transaction rates, the frequency of accessing shared buffers increases, leading to potential lock contention.
  • Suboptimal Query Performance: Poorly optimized queries that result in extensive table scans or large data modifications can exacerbate the contention on shared buffers.
  • Insufficient Shared Buffers: If the shared_buffers parameter is set too low for the workload, it can increase the frequency of buffer replacements, leading to more contention.
  • Checkpointing and Dirty Buffer Management: Frequent checkpoints and heavy writes can lead to a surge in dirty buffer management activities, contributing to lock contention.

Addressing the Issue

  • Optimizing Queries: Ensure that your queries are well-optimized to minimize unnecessary access to shared buffers.
  • Adjusting Shared Buffers: Consider increasing the size of shared_buffers based on your system’s memory and workload, but also keep in mind the balance with other memory parameters.
  • Monitoring and Analysis: Regularly monitor your PostgreSQL instance for lock contention and analyze the workload to identify hotspots of buffer access.
  • Load Balancing: If possible, distribute the load more evenly across the database to reduce the intensity of buffer accesses at any given point.


In conclusion, the LWLockTranche/buffer_mapping wait event is primarily indicative of contention issues in the shared buffer pool, often arising from high transactional workloads and suboptimal configurations or queries. Addressing this requires a combination of query optimization, configuration tuning, and sometimes architectural changes to distribute the load more effectively.

You can read more about using Wait Events to tune PostgreSQL performance issues here.

About Shiv Iyer 444 Articles
Open Source Database Systems Engineer with a deep understanding of Optimizer Internals, Performance Engineering, Scalability and Data SRE. Shiv currently is the Founder, Investor, Board Member and CEO of multiple Database Systems Infrastructure Operations companies in the Transaction Processing Computing and ColumnStores ecosystem. He is also a frequent speaker in open source software conferences globally.