commit_delay adds a time delay before a WAL flush is initiated. This can improve group commit throughput by allowing a larger number of transactions to commit via a single WAL flush, if system load is high enough that additional transactions become ready to commit within the given interval. However, it also increases latency by up to the
commit_delay for each WAL flush. Because the delay is just wasted if no other transactions become ready to commit, a delay is only performed if at least commit_siblings other transactions are active when a flush is about to be initiated. Also, no delays are performed if fsync is disabled. If this value is specified without units, it is taken as microseconds. The default
commit_delay is zero (no delay). Only superusers and users with the appropriate
SET privilege can change this setting.
In PostgreSQL releases prior to 9.3,
commit_delay behaved differently and was much less effective: it affected only commits, rather than all WAL flushes, and waited for the entire configured delay even if the WAL flush was completed sooner. Beginning in PostgreSQL 9.3, the first process that becomes ready to flush waits for the configured interval, while subsequent processes wait only until the leader completes the flush operation.