Set up PostgreSQL 9.5 Master-Slave Replication using repmgr

Replication is a process to create redundant resources those are consistent each other. The goal of replication is either to improve reliability, accessibility or fault-tolerance. There are some ways to do database replication:

  • Master-Master (multi-master) replication: all nodes can execute read-write queries.
    More complex in terms of resolving conflicts, so if we do it eagerly, it will be slower.
    In PostgreSQL, there are some tools: BDR (asynchronous) and Bucardo (asynchronous).
  • Master-Slave replication: one master node for writing and all nodes can execute read queries.
    Simple, but if you have heavy write access, it will have bottlenecks in the master node.
    In PostgreSQL, there are some tools: WAL (Write-Ahead-Log, built-in PostgreSQL feature, full database replication), repmgr (wrapper for WAL and built-in streaming replication), Slony-I and pglogical (selective replication).

In this article, I will explain how to set up master-slave replication using repmgr. repmgr can create a full database replication and be a hot standby (or streaming replicated) server.

Here, I will set up a single master node and a single slave replication. The slave database can be used as read replica. I will use Ubuntu 14.04 and PostgreSQL 9.5. Some parts of the documentation here are taken from the repmgr documentation with some additional missing steps.

Step 1: Install PostgreSQL 9.5 and repmgr to master and slave servers

In order to get the latest update for PostgreSQL, we need to add PostgreSQL Apt Repository and then install the database.

echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc)-pgdg main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list
wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get -y update
sudo apt-get -y install postgresql-${POSTGRES_VERSION} postgresql-${POSTGRES_VERSION}-repmgr

 Step 2: Allow nodes to SSH each other

In the next step, we will clone master database using repmgr. To do cloning, slave node must be able to SSH into its upstream (i.e. master) node. Here, we make postgres user in both server talk each other. You can use other method, but make sure each postgres user in all nodes can SSH each other.

In your local machine, create SSH key pairs:

mkdir -p /tmp/postgres_keypairs
cd /tmp/postgres_keypairs
ssh-keygen -f ./id_rsa -t rsa -N ''
cp authorized_keys
tar zcvf ../postgres_keypairs.tar.gz ./
scp ../postgres_keypairs.tar.gz ubuntu@repmgr_node1:~/
scp ../postgres_keypairs.tar.gz ubuntu@repmgr_node2:~/
cd ..
rm -r postgres_keypairs postgres_keypairs.tar.gz

Adjust scp commands so it will copy the key pairs into all your database cluster nodes, which is master and slave.

In the master node, run the following commands:

mkdir -p /tmp/postgres_keypairs
tar zxvf ~/postgres_keypairs.tar.gz -C /tmp/postgres_keypairs
sudo chown -R postgres:postgres /tmp/postgres_keypairs
sudo chmod go-rwx /tmp/postgres_keypairs/*
sudo -H -u postgres sh -c 'rm -rf ~/.ssh && mv /tmp/postgres_keypairs ~/.ssh'
rm ~/postgres_keypairs.tar.gz

In the slave node, do the same thing:

mkdir -p /tmp/postgres_keypairs
tar zxvf ~/postgres_keypairs.tar.gz -C /tmp/postgres_keypairs
sudo chown -R postgres:postgres /tmp/postgres_keypairs
sudo chmod go-rwx /tmp/postgres_keypairs/*
sudo -H -u postgres sh -c 'rm -rf ~/.ssh && mv /tmp/postgres_keypairs ~/.ssh'
rm ~/postgres_keypairs.tar.gz

In the master node, SSH to slave node using postgres user:

sudo -u postgres ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -A postgres@repmgr_node2 uptime

In the slave node, SSH to master node using postgres user:

sudo -u postgres ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -A postgres@repmgr_node1 uptime

Step 3: Configure Master – PostgreSQL configuration

As I said wrote before, repmgr basically is just a wrapper for built-in WAL and streaming replication. So, we need to activate both features by editing PostgreSQL configuration (it is in /etc/postgresql/9.5/main/postgresql.conf by default).

sudo -u postgres vim /etc/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main/postgresql.conf

Update postgresql.conf so it has the following configuration.

# Make PostgreSQL listen on all IP address.
# If you want to make it more secure, you can make your database listen to
# some specific IP addresses. But, make sure database cluster can connect
# to this server.
listen_addresses = '*'

# Ensure WAL files contain enough information to enable read-only queries
# on the standby
wal_level = 'hot_standby'

# Enable up to 10 replication connections
max_wal_senders = 10

# How much WAL to retain on the master to allow a temporarily
# disconnected standby to catch up again. The larger this is, the
# longer the standby can be disconnected. This is needed in
# prior to 9.4; from 9.4, replication slots can be used instead (see below).
# NOTE: A logfile segment might be take 16MB. Ensure you have enough
# free disk capacity by multiplying 16MB with this value.
wal_keep_segments = 100

# Enable read-only queries on a standby
# (Note: this will be ignored on a master but we recommend including
# it anyway)
hot_standby = on

# If archive_mode is enabled, check that 'archive_command' is non empty
# (however it's not practical to check that it actually represents a valid
# command).
# From PostgreSQL 9.5, archive_mode can be one of 'off', 'on' or 'always'
# so for ease of backwards compatibility, rather than explicitly check for an
# enabled mode, check that it's not "off".
archive_mode = on

# Set archive command to a script or application that will safely store
# you WALs in a secure place. /bin/true is an example of a command that
# ignores archiving. Use something more sensible, like wal-e to backup
# the archieves.
archive_command = '/bin/true'

# Replication slots were introduced with PostgreSQL 9.4 and
# are designed to ensure that any standby connected to the master
# using a replication slot will always be able to retrieve
# the required WAL files.
# This removes the need to manually manage WAL file retention by estimating
# the number of WAL files that need to be maintained on the master
# using wal_keep_segments.
# NOTE: Enable only in version 9.4 and above. Do however be aware that
# if a standby is disconnected, WAL will continue to accumulate on
# the master until either the standby reconnects or the replication slot
# is dropped.
max_replication_slots = 5

Step 4: Configure Master – Create a replication user

Create a dedicated PostgreSQL superuser account and a database for the repmgr metadata, e.g.

sudo -u postgres createuser -s repmgr
sudo -u postgres createdb repmgr -O repmgr

Ensure the repmgr user has appropriate permissions in pg_hba.conf and can connect in replication mode.

sudo -u postgres vim /etc/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main/pg_hba.conf

Put the following lines to the top of pg_hba.conf:

local   replication   repmgr                              trust
host    replication   repmgr            trust
host    replication   repmgr          trust

local   repmgr        repmgr                              trust
host    repmgr        repmgr            trust
host    repmgr        repmgr          trust

Adjust according to your network environment and authentication requirements. Restart PostgreSQL server.

sudo service postgresql restart

Step 5: Configure Master – repmgr configuration

Create repmgr configuration file in /etc/repmgr.conf.

sudo vim /etc/repmgr.conf

Add the following configuration into repmgr.conf:

# An arbitrary name for the replication cluster;
# This must be identical on all nodes
cluster = 'test'

# A unique integer identifying the node
node = 1

# A unique string identifying the node;
# Avoid names indicating the current replication role like 'master' or 'standby'
# as the server's role could change.
node_name = 'node1'

# A valid connection string for the repmgr database on the current server.
conninfo = 'host=repmgr_node1 user=repmgr dbname=repmgr'

# Use replication slot if you enable replication slots in
# PostgreSQL configuration.
use_replication_slots = 1

repmgr will create a schema named after the cluster and prefixed with repmgr_, e.g. repmgr_test; we also recommend that you set the repmgr user’s search path to include this schema name, e.g.

ALTER USER repmgr SET search_path TO repmgr_test, "$user", public;

Step 6: Configure Master – Initialise the master server

To enable repmgr to support a replication cluster, the master node must be registered with repmgr, which creates therepmgr database and adds a metadata record for the server:

sudo -u postgres repmgr -f /etc/repmgr.conf master register

Run the following queries to check the initialize process result.

SELECT * FROM repmgr_test.repl_nodes;

The metadata record looks like this:

 id |  type  | upstream_node_id | cluster | name  |                   conninfo                  |   slot_name   | priority | active 
  1 | master |                  | test    | node1 | host=repmgr_node1 user=repmgr dbname=repmgr | repmgr_slot_1 |      100 | t
(1 row)

Each server in the replication cluster will have its own record and will be updated when its status or role changes.

Step 7: Configure Slave – repmgr configuration

Create repmgr configuration file in /etc/repmgr.conf for slave.

sudo vim /etc/repmgr.conf

The configuration is slightly same as the master node. Add the following configuration into repmgr.conf:

cluster = 'test'
node = 2
node_name = 'node2'
conninfo = 'host=repmgr_node2 user=repmgr dbname=repmgr'
use_replication_slots = 1

 Step 8: Configure Slave – clone master database

We need to stop PostgreSQL server instance in the slave node and remove PostgreSQL data directory. After that, we can clone master database into the slave.

sudo service postgresql stop
sudo -u postgres rm -r /var/lib/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main
sudo -u postgres repmgr -h repmgr_node1 -U repmgr -d repmgr -D /var/lib/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main -f /etc/repmgr.conf standby clone
sudo mv /var/lib/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main/pg_hba.conf /etc/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main/pg_hba.conf
sudo mv /var/lib/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main/postgresql.conf /etc/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main/postgresql.conf 
sudo mv /var/lib/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main/pg_ident.conf /etc/postgresql/${POSTGRES_VERSION}/main/pg_ident.conf
sudo service postgresql start

Adjust repmgr_node1 into master’s IP address/domain name in the last command. If we run the last command, we will see log output something like:

[2016-04-28 10:28:51] [NOTICE] destination directory '/var/lib/postgresql/9.5/main' provided
[2016-04-28 10:28:51] [NOTICE] starting backup (using pg_basebackup)...
[2016-04-28 10:28:51] [HINT] this may take some time; consider using the -c/--fast-checkpoint option
NOTICE: pg_stop_backup complete, all required WAL segments have been archived
[2016-04-28 10:28:53] [NOTICE] copying configuration files from master
receiving incremental file list
 23,275 100% 22.20MB/s 0:00:00 (xfr#1, to-chk=0/1)
receiving incremental file list
 5,027 100% 4.79MB/s 0:00:00 (xfr#1, to-chk=0/1)
receiving incremental file list
 1,636 100% 1.56MB/s 0:00:00 (xfr#1, to-chk=0/1)
[2016-04-28 10:28:55] [NOTICE] standby clone (using pg_basebackup) complete
[2016-04-28 10:28:55] [NOTICE] you can now start your PostgreSQL server
[2016-04-28 10:28:55] [HINT] for example : pg_ctl -D /var/lib/postgresql/9.5/main start
[2016-04-28 10:28:55] [HINT] After starting the server, you need to register this standby with "repmgr standby register"

This will clone the PostgreSQL data directory files from the master at repmgr_node1 using PostgreSQL’s pg_basebackup utility. A recovery.conf file containing the correct parameters to start streaming from this master server will be created automatically, and unless otherwise the postgresql.conf and pg_hba.conf files will be copied from the master.

Step 9: Verify replication is running on master node

We need to ensure that our setup is correct, which is the replication is running properly. Run the following SQL query in the master database.

repmgr=# SELECT * FROM pg_stat_replication;
-[ RECORD 1 ]----+------------------------------
pid              | 7455
usesysid         | 16712
usename          | repmgr
application_name | node2
client_addr      |
client_hostname  | 
client_port      | 58687
backend_start    | 2016-04-28 10:03:55.103915-04
backend_xmin     | 
state            | streaming
sent_location    | 0/15000288
write_location   | 0/15000288
flush_location   | 0/15000288
replay_location  | 0/15000288
sync_priority    | 0
sync_state       | async

Step 10: Register Slave node

Register the slave node as standby server with:

sudo -u postgres repmgr -f /etc/repmgr.conf standby register
[2016-04-28 10:40:27] [NOTICE] standby node correctly registered for cluster test with id 2 (conninfo: host=repmgr_node2 user=repmgr dbname=repmgr)

Connect to the slave node’s repmgr database and check the repl_nodes table:

repmgr=# SELECT * FROM repmgr_test.repl_nodes ORDER BY id;
 id |  type   | upstream_node_id | cluster | name  |                   conninfo                  |   slot_name   | priority | active 
  1 | master  |                  | test    | node1 | host=repmgr_node1 user=repmgr dbname=repmgr | repmgr_slot_1 |      100 | t
  2 | standby |                1 | test    | node2 | host=repmgr_node2 user=repmgr dbname=repmgr | repmgr_slot_2 |      100 | t
(2 rows)

The standby server now has a copy of the records for all servers in the replication cluster. Note that the relationship between master and standby is explicitly defined via the upstream_node_id value, which shows here that the standby’s upstream server is the replication cluster master.

Now we already have a master-slave replication. Read more about repmgr in the Github repository ( Things you can do using repmgr:

In the next article series, I will tell you how to set up a scheduled binary backup using wal-e.