Custom Configuration

Custom PostgreSQL Configuration

Users and administrators can specify a custom set of PostgreSQL configuration files to be used when creating a new PostgreSQL cluster. The configuration files you can change include -

  • postgres-ha.yaml
  • setup.sql

Different configurations for PostgreSQL might be defined for the following -

  • OLTP types of databases
  • OLAP types of databases
  • High Memory
  • Minimal Configuration for Development
  • Project Specific configurations
  • Special Security Requirements

Global ConfigMap

If you create a configMap called pgo-custom-pg-config with any of the above files within it, new clusters will use those configuration files when setting up a new database instance. You do NOT have to specify all of the configuration files. It is entirely up to your use case to determine which to use.

An example set of configuration files and a script to create the global configMap is found at


If you run the script there, it will create the configMap that will include the PostgreSQL configuration files within that directory.

Config Files Purpose

The postgres-ha.yaml file is the main configuration file that allows for the configuration of a wide variety of tuning parameters for you PostgreSQL cluster. This includes various PostgreSQL settings, e.g. those that should be applied to files such as postgresql.conf, pg_hba.conf and pg_ident.conf, as well as tuning paramters for the High Availability features inlcuded in each cluster. The various configuration settings available can be found here

The setup.sql file is a SQL file that is executed following the initialization of a new PostgreSQL cluster, specifically after initdb is run when the database is first created. Changes would be made to this if you wanted to define which database objects are created by default.

Granular Config Maps

Granular config maps can be defined if it is necessary to use a different set of configuration files for different clusters rather than having a single configuration (e.g. Global Config Map). A specific set of ConfigMaps with their own set of PostgreSQL configuration files can be created. When creating new clusters, a --custom-config flag can be passed along with the name of the ConfigMap which will be used for that specific cluster or set of clusters.


If there is no reason to change the default PostgreSQL configuration files that ship with the Crunchy Postgres container, there is no requirement to. In this event, continue using the Operator as usual and avoid defining a global configMap.

Modifying PostgreSQL Cluster Configuration

Once a PostgreSQL cluster has been initialized, its configuration settings can be updated and modified as needed. This done by modifying the <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap that is created for each individual PostgreSQL cluster.

The <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap is populated following cluster initializtion, specifically using the baseline configuration settings used to bootstrap the cluster. Therefore, any customiztions applied using a custom postgres-ha.yaml file as described in the Custom PostgreSQL Configuration section above will also be included when the ConfigMap is populated.

The various configuration settings available for modifying and updating and cluster’s configuration can be found here. Please proceed with caution when modiying configuration, especially those settings applied by default by Operator. Certain settings are required for normal operation of the Operator and the PostgreSQL clusters it creates, and altering these settings could result in expected behavior.

Types of Configuration

Within the <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap are two forms of configuration:

  • Distributed Configuration Store (DCS): Cluster-wide configuration settings that are applied to all database servers in the PostgreSQL cluster
  • Local Database: Configuration settings that are applied individually to each database server (i.e. the primary and each replica) within the cluster.

The DCS configuration settings are stored within the <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap in a configuration named <clusterName>-dcs-config, while the local database configurations are stored in one or more configurations named <serverName>-local-config (with one local configuration for the primary and each replica within the cluster). Please note that as described here, certain settings can only be applied via the DCS to ensure they are uniform among the primary and all replicas within the cluster.

The following is an example of the both the DCS and primary configuration settings as stored in the <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap for a cluster named mycluster. Please note the mycluster-dcs-config configuration defining the DCS configuration for mycluster, along with the mycluster-local-config configuration defining the local configuration for the database server named mycluster, which is the current primary within the PostgreSQL cluster.

$ kubectl describe cm mycluster-pgha-config   
Name:         mycluster-pgha-config
Namespace:    pgouser1
Labels:       pg-cluster=mycluster
Annotations:  <none>

    archive_command: source /opt/cpm/bin/pgbackrest/ && pgbackrest
      archive-push "%p"
    archive_mode: true
    archive_timeout: 60
    log_directory: pg_log
    log_min_duration_statement: 60000
    log_statement: none
    max_wal_senders: 6
    shared_buffers: 128MB
    temp_buffers: 8MB
    unix_socket_directories: /tmp,/crunchyadm
    wal_level: logical
    work_mem: 4MB
    restore_command: source /opt/cpm/bin/pgbackrest/ && pgbackrest
      archive-get %f "%p"
  use_pg_rewind: true

    on_role_change: /opt/cpm/bin/callbacks/
  - pgbackrest
  - basebackup
  - local all postgres peer
  - local all crunchyadm peer
  - host replication primaryuser md5
  - host all primaryuser reject
  - host all all md5
    command: /opt/cpm/bin/pgbackrest/
    keep_data: true
    no_params: true
    command: /opt/cpm/bin/pgbackrest/
    keep_data: true
    no_master: 1
    no_params: true
  pgpass: /tmp/.pgpass
  remove_data_directory_on_rewind_failure: true
  use_unix_socket: true

Updating Configuration Settings

In order to update a cluster’s configuration settings and then apply those settings (e.g. to the DCS and/or any individual database servers), the DCS and local configuration settings within the <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap can be modified. This can be done using the various commands available using the kubectl client (or the oc client if using OpenShift) for modifying Kubernetes resources. For instance, the following command can be utilized to open the ConfigMap in a local text editor, and then update the various cluster configurations as needed:

kubectl edit configmap mycluster-pgha-config

Once the <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap has been updated, any changes made will be detected by the Operator, and then applied to the DCS and/or any individual database servers within the cluster.

PostgreSQL Configuration

In order to update the postgresql.conf file for a one of more database servers, the parameters section of either the DCS and/or a local database configuration can be updated, e.g.:

    max_wal_senders: 10

The various key/value pairs provided within the paramters section result in the configuration of the same settings within the postgresql.conf file. Please note that settings applied locally to a database server take precendence over those set via the DCS (with the exception being those that must be set via the DCS, as described here).

Also, please note that pg_hba and pg_ident sections exist to update both the pg_hba.conf and pg_ident.conf PostgreSQL configuration files as needed.

Restarting Database Servers

Changes to certain settings may require a restart of a PostgreSQL database. This can be accomplished using the patronictl utility included wihtin each PostgreSQL database container in the cluster, specifically using the patronictl restart command. For example, to detect if a restart is needed for a server in a cluster called mycluster, the kubectl exec command can be utilized to access the database container for the primary PostgreSQL database server, and run the patronictl list command:

$ kubectl exec -it mycluster-6f89d8bb85-pnlwz -- patronictl list
+ Cluster: mycluster (6821144425371877525) -------+---------+----+-----------+-----------------+
|            Member           |    Host   |  Role  |  State  | TL | Lag in MB | Pending restart |
| mycluster-6f89d8bb85-pnlwz | | Leader | running |  1 |           |        *        |

Here we can see that the mycluster-6f89d8bb85-pnlwz server is pending a restart, which can then be accomplished as follows:

$ kubectl exec -it mycluster-6f89d8bb85-pnlwz -- patronictl restart mycluster mycluster-6f89d8bb85-pnlwz
+ Cluster: mycluster (6821144425371877525) -------+---------+----+-----------+
|            Member           |    Host   |  Role  |  State  | TL | Lag in MB |
| mycluster-6f89d8bb85-pnlwz | | Leader | running |  1 |           |
When should the restart take place (e.g. 2020-04-29T17:23)  [now]: now
Are you sure you want to restart members mycluster-6f89d8bb85-pnlwz? [y/N]: y
Restart if the PostgreSQL version is less than provided (e.g. 9.5.2)  []:
Success: restart on member mycluster-6f89d8bb85-pnlwz

Please note that these commands can be run from the primary or any replica database container within the PostgreSQL cluster being updated.

Refreshing Configuration Settings

If necessary, it is possible to refresh the configuration stored within the <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap with a fresh copy of either the DCS configuration and/or the configuration for one or more local database servers. This is specifically done by fully deleting a configuration from the <clusterName>-pgha-config ConfigMap. Once a configuration has been deleted, the Operator will detect this and refresh the ConfigMap with a fresh copy of that specific configuration.

For instance, the following kubectl patch command can be utilized to remove the mycluster-dcs-config configuration from the example above, causing that specific configuration to be refreshed with a fresh copy of the DCS configuration settings for mycluster:

kubectl patch configmap mycluster-pgha-config \
  --type='json' -p='[{"op": "remove", "path": "/data/mycluster-dcs-config"}]'