Install Operator Using Bash

A full installation of the Operator includes the following steps:

  • create a project structure
  • configure your environment variables
  • configure Operator templates
  • create security resources
  • deploy the operator
  • install pgo CLI (end user command tool)

Operator end-users are only required to install the pgo CLI client on their host and can skip the server-side installation steps. pgo CLI clients are provided for Linux, Mac, and Windows clients.

The Operator can be deployed by multiple methods including:

  • default installation
  • Ansible playbook installation
  • Openshift Console installation using OLM

Default Installation - Create Project Structure

The Operator follows a golang project structure, you can create a structure as follows on your local Linux host:

mkdir -p $HOME/odev/src/ $HOME/odev/bin $HOME/odev/pkg
cd $HOME/odev/src/
git clone
cd postgres-operator
git checkout v4.2.2

This creates a directory structure under your HOME directory name odev and clones the current Operator version to that structure.

Default Installation - Configure Environment

Environment variables control aspects of the Operator installation. You can copy a sample set of Operator environment variables and aliases to your .bashrc file to work with.

cat $HOME/odev/src/ >> $HOME/.bashrc
source $HOME/.bashrc

To manually configure the environment variables, refer to the environment documentation.

For various scripts used by the Operator, the expenv utility is required, download this utility from the Github Releases page, and place it into your PATH (e.g. $HOME/odev/bin).

There is also a Makefile target that includes is expenv and several other dependencies that are only needed if you plan on building from source:

make setup

Default Installation - Namespace Creation

The default installation will create 3 namespaces to use for deploying the Operator into and for holding Postgres clusters created by the Operator.

Creating Kubernetes namespaces is typically something that only a priviledged Kubernetes user can perform so log into your Kubernetes cluster as a user that has the necessary priviledges.

On Openshift if you do not want to install the Operator as the system administrator, you can grant cluster-admin priviledges to a user as follows:

oc adm policy add-cluster-role-to-user cluster-admin pgoinstaller

In the above command, you are granting cluster-admin priviledges to a user named pgoinstaller.

The NAMESPACE environment variable is a comma separated list of namespaces that specify where the Operator will be provisioing PG clusters into, specifically, the namespaces the Operator is watching for Kubernetes events. This value is set as follows:

export NAMESPACE=pgouser1,pgouser2

This means namespaces called pgouser1 and pgouser2 will be created as part of the default installation.

In Kubernetes versions prior to 1.12 (including Openshift up through 3.11), there is a limitation that requires an extra step during installation for the operator to function properly with watched namespaces. This limitation does not exist when using Kubernetes 1.12+. When a list of namespaces are provided through the NAMESPACE environment variable, the script handles the limitation properly in both the bash and ansible installation.

However, if the user wishes to add a new watched namespace after installation, where the user would normally use pgo create namespace to add the new namespace, they should instead run the script or they may give themselves cluster-admin privileges instead of having to run script. Again, this is only required when running on a Kubernetes distribution whose version is below 1.12. In Kubernetes version 1.12+ the pgo create namespace command works as expected.

The PGO_OPERATOR_NAMESPACE environment variable is the name of the namespace that the Operator will be installed into. For the installation example, this value is set as follows:


This means a pgo namespace will be created and the Operator will be deployed into that namespace.

Create the Operator namespaces using the Makefile target:

make setupnamespaces

Note: The setupnamespaces target only creates the namespace(s) specified in PGO_OPERATOR_NAMESPACE environment variable

The Design section of this documentation talks further about the use of namespaces within the Operator.

Default Installation - Configure Operator Templates

Within the Operator conf directory are several configuration files and templates used by the Operator to determine the various resources that it deploys on your Kubernetes cluster, specifically the PostgreSQL clusters it deploys.

When you install the Operator you must make choices as to what kind of storage the Operator has to work with for example. Storage varies with each installation. As an installer, you would modify these configuration templates used by the Operator to customize its behavior.

Note: when you want to make changes to these Operator templates and configuration files after your initial installation, you will need to re-deploy the Operator in order for it to pick up any future configuration changes.

Here are some common examples of configuration changes most installers would make:


Inside conf/postgres-operator/pgo.yaml there are various storage configurations defined.

PrimaryStorage: gce
XlogStorage: gce
ArchiveStorage: gce
BackupStorage: gce
ReplicaStorage: gce
    AccessMode:  ReadWriteOnce
    Size:  1G
    StorageType:  dynamic
    StorageClass:  standard
    Fsgroup:  26

Listed above are the pgo.yaml sections related to storage choices. PrimaryStorage specifies the name of the storage configuration used for PostgreSQL primary database volumes to be provisioned. In the example above, a NFS storage configuration is picked. That same storage configuration is selected for the other volumes that the Operator will create.

This sort of configuration allows for a PostgreSQL primary and replica to use different storage if you want. Other storage settings like AccessMode, Size, StorageType, StorageClass, and Fsgroup further define the storage configuration. Currently, NFS, HostPath, and Storage Classes are supported in the configuration.

As part of the Operator installation, you will need to adjust these storage settings to suit your deployment requirements. For users wanting to try out the Operator on Google Kubernetes Engine you would make the following change to the storage configuration in pgo.yaml:

For NFS Storage, it is assumed that there are sufficient Persistent Volumes (PV) created for the Operator to use when it creates Persistent Volume Claims (PVC). The creation of Persistent Volumes is something a Kubernetes cluster-admin user would typically provide before installing the Operator. There is an example script which can be used to create NFS Persistent Volumes located here:


That script looks for the IP address of an NFS server using the environment variable PGO_NFS_IP you would set in your .bashrc environment.

A similar script is provided for HostPath persistent volume creation if you wanted to use HostPath for testing:


Adjust the above PV creation scripts to suit your local requirements, the purpose of these scripts are solely to produce a test set of Volume to test the Operator.

Other settings in pgo.yaml are described in the pgo.yaml Configuration section of the documentation.

Operator Security

The Operator implements its own RBAC (Role Based Access Controls) for authenticating Operator users access to the Operator REST API.

A default admin user is created when the operator is deployed. Create a .pgouser in your home directory and insert the text from below:


The format of the .pgouser client file is:


To create a unique administrator user on deployment of the operator edit this file and update the .pgouser file accordingly:


After installation users can create optional Operator users as follows:

pgo create pgouser someuser --pgouser-namespaces="pgouser1,pgouser2" --pgouser-password=somepassword --pgouser-roles="somerole,someotherrole"

Note, you can also store the pgouser file in alternate locations, see the Security documentation for details.

Operator security is discussed in the Security section Security of the documentation.

Adjust these settings to meet your local requirements.

Default Installation - Create Kubernetes RBAC Controls

The Operator installation requires Kubernetes administrators to create Resources required by the Operator. These resources are only allowed to be created by a cluster-admin user. To install on Google Cloud, you will need a user account with cluster-admin priviledges. If you own the GKE cluster you are installing on, you can add cluster-admin role to your account as follows:

kubectl create clusterrolebinding cluster-admin-binding --clusterrole cluster-admin --user $(gcloud config get-value account)

Specifically, Custom Resource Definitions for the Operator, and Service Accounts used by the Operator are created which require cluster permissions.

Tor create the Kubernetes RBAC used by the Operator, run the following as a cluster-admin Kubernetes user:

make installrbac

This set of Resources is created a single time unless a new Operator release requires these Resources to be recreated. Note that when you run make installrbac the set of keys used by the Operator REST API and also the pgbackrest ssh keys are generated.

Verify the Operator Custom Resource Definitions are created as follows:

kubectl get crd

You should see the pgclusters CRD among the listed CRD resource types.

See the Security documentation for a description of the various RBAC resources created and used by the Operator.

Default Installation - Deploy the Operator

At this point, you as a normal Kubernetes user should be able to deploy the Operator. To do this, run the following Makefile target:

make deployoperator

This will cause any existing Operator to be removed first, then the configuration to be bundled into a ConfigMap, then the Operator Deployment to be created.

This will create a postgres-operator Deployment and a postgres-operator Service.Operator administrators needing to make changes to the Operator configuration would run this make target to pick up any changes to pgo.yaml, pgo users/roles, or the Operator templates.

Default Installation - Completely Cleaning Up

You can completely remove all the namespaces you have previously created using the default installation by running the following:

make cleannamespaces

This will permanently delete each namespace the Operator installation created previously.

pgo CLI Installation

Most users will work with the Operator using the pgo CLI tool. That tool is downloaded from the GitHub Releases page for the Operator ( Crunchy Enterprise Customer can download the pgo binaries from on the downloads page.

The pgo client is provided in Mac, Windows, and Linux binary formats, download the appropriate client to your local laptop or workstation to work with a remote Operator.

If TLS authentication was disabled during installation, please see the TLS Configuration Page for additional configuration information.

Prior to using pgo, users testing the Operator on a single host can specify the postgres-operator URL as follows:

    $ kubectl get service postgres-operator -n pgo
    NAME                CLUSTER-IP      EXTERNAL-IP   PORT(S)    AGE
    postgres-operator   <none>        8443/TCP   7m
    $ export PGO_APISERVER_URL=
    pgo version

That URL address needs to be reachable from your local pgo client host. Your Kubernetes administrator will likely need to create a network route, ingress, or LoadBalancer service to expose the Operator REST API to applications outside of the Kubernetes cluster. Your Kubernetes administrator might also allow you to run the Kubernetes port-forward command, contact your adminstrator for details.

Next, the pgo client needs to reference the keys used to secure the Operator REST API:

    export PGO_CA_CERT=$PGOROOT/conf/postgres-operator/server.crt
    export PGO_CLIENT_CERT=$PGOROOT/conf/postgres-operator/server.crt
    export PGO_CLIENT_KEY=$PGOROOT/conf/postgres-operator/server.key

You can also specify these keys on the command line as follows:

pgo version --pgo-ca-cert=$PGOROOT/conf/postgres-operator/server.crt --pgo-client-cert=$PGOROOT/conf/postgres-operator/server.crt --pgo-client-key=$PGOROOT/conf/postgres-operator/server.key
if you are running the Operator on Google Cloud, you would open up another terminal and run kubectl port-forward … to forward the Operator pod port 8443 to your localhost where you can access the Operator API from your local workstation.

At this point, you can test connectivity between your laptop or workstation and the Postgres Operator deployed on a Kubernetes cluster as follows:

pgo version

You should get back a valid response showing the client and server version numbers.

Verify the Installation

Now that you have deployed the Operator, you can verify that it is running correctly.

You should see a pod running that contains the Operator:

kubectl get pod --selector=name=postgres-operator -n pgo
NAME                                 READY     STATUS    RESTARTS   AGE
postgres-operator-79bf94c658-zczf6   3/3       Running   0          47s

That pod should show 3 of 3 containers in running state and that the operator is installed into the pgo namespace.

The sample environment script, examples/, if used creates some bash functions that you can use to view the Operator logs. This is useful in case you find one of the Operator containers not in a running status.

Using the pgo CLI, you can verify the versions of the client and server match as follows:

pgo version

This also tests connectivity between your pgo client host and the Operator server.