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Sequences in PostgreSQL are special single-row tables created to generate unique identifiers, often used for auto-incrementing primary key values. They provide a thread-safe way to generate unique sequential values across multiple sessions.

Key Features

  • Creation and Initialization: Use CREATE SEQUENCE to create a new sequence. Parameters such as increment value, start value, min/max values, and cache size can be specified.

  • Manipulation Functions

    • nextval('sequence_name'): Advances the sequence and returns the next value.
    • currval('sequence_name'): Returns the current value of the sequence for the current session.
    • setval('sequence_name', value): Sets the sequence’s current value.
    • lastval(): Returns the last value returned by nextval in the current session.
  • Ownership: Sequences can be linked to table columns using the OWNED BY clause. Dropping the table or column will automatically drop the associated sequence.

  • Cycling: Sequences can be set to cycle when they reach their maximum or minimum value using the CYCLE option. The default is NO CYCLE.

  • Caching: Sequence values can be preallocated using the CACHE option for improved performance.


  • Gaps: Sequences are not gapless. Aborted transactions or crashes can lead to gaps in the sequence values.
  • Concurrency: While sequences provide unique values across sessions, the values may be out of order when considering all sessions.
  • No Rollback: Changes to sequences are not rolled back if a transaction fails. This ensures unique values but can lead to gaps.
  • Crash Recovery: Unlogged sequences or sequences modified before a crash might not be properly restored to their previous state.

Practical Use

  • Default Behavior: By default, sequences increment by 1 and start at 1.
  • Custom Behavior: Custom start points, increments, min/max values, and cycling can be specified.
  • Associations: Commonly associated with table columns for auto-incrementing fields, making management of unique identifiers seamless.

Usage Example

import { pgSchema, pgSequence } from "drizzle-orm/pg-core";

// No params specified
export const customSequence = pgSequence("name");

// Sequence with params
export const customSequence = pgSequence("name", {
      startWith: 100,
      maxValue: 10000,
      minValue: 100,
      cycle: true,
      cache: 10,
      increment: 2

// Sequence in custom schema
export const customSchema = pgSchema('custom_schema');
export const customSequence = customSchema.sequence("name");