pg_rewind - synchronize a PostgreSQL data directory with another data directory that was forked from it
pg_rewind is a tool for synchronizing a PostgreSQL cluster with another copy of the same cluster, after the clusters' timelines have diverged. A typical scenario is to bring an old master server back online after failover as a standby that follows the new master.
The result is equivalent to replacing the target data directory with the source one. Only changed blocks from relation files are copied; all other files are copied in full, including configuration files. The advantage of pg_rewind over taking a new base backup, or tools like rsync , is that pg_rewind does not require reading through unchanged blocks in the cluster. This makes it a lot faster when the database is large and only a small fraction of blocks differ between the clusters.
examines the timeline histories of the source
and target clusters to determine the point where they diverged, and
expects to find WAL in the target cluster's
reaching all the way back to the point of divergence. The point of divergence
can be found either on the target timeline, the source timeline, or their common
ancestor. In the typical failover scenario where the target cluster was
shut down soon after the divergence, this is not a problem, but if the
target cluster ran for a long time after the divergence, the old WAL
files might no longer be present. In that case, they can be manually
copied from the WAL archive to the
The use of
is not limited to
failover, e.g., a standby server can be promoted, run some write
transactions, and then rewound to become a standby again.
When the target server is started for the first time after running
, it will go into recovery mode and replay all
WAL generated in the source server after the point of divergence.
If some of the WAL was no longer available in the source server when
was run, and therefore could not be copied by the
session, it must be made available when the
target server is started. This can be done by creating a
file in the target data directory with a
requires that the target server either has
or data checksums enabled when
the cluster was initialized with
. Neither of these
are currently on by default.
must also be set to
, but is enabled by default.
If pg_rewind fails while processing, then the data folder of the target is likely not in a state that can be recovered. In such a case, taking a new fresh backup is recommended.
pg_rewind will fail immediately if it finds files it cannot write directly to. This can happen for example when the source and the target server use the same file mapping for read-only SSL keys and certificates. If such files are present on the target server it is recommended to remove them before running pg_rewind . After doing the rewind, some of those files may have been copied from the source, in which case it may be necessary to remove the data copied and restore back the set of links used before the rewind.
pg_rewind accepts the following command-line arguments:
This option specifies the target data directory that is synchronized with the source. The target server must be shut down cleanly before running pg_rewind
Specifies the file system path to the data directory of the source server to synchronize the target with. This option requires the source server to be cleanly shut down.
Specifies a libpq connection string to connect to the source PostgreSQL server to synchronize the target with. The connection must be a normal (non-replication) connection with a role having sufficient permissions to execute the functions used by pg_rewind on the source server (see Notes section for details) or a superuser role. This option requires the source server to be running and not in recovery mode.
Do everything except actually modifying the target directory.
Enables progress reporting. Turning this on will deliver an approximate progress report while copying data from the source cluster.
Print verbose debugging output that is mostly useful for developers debugging pg_rewind .
Display version information, then exit.
Show help, then exit.
option is used,
also uses the environment variables
using an online
cluster as source, a role having sufficient permissions to execute the
functions used by
on the source
cluster can be used instead of a superuser. Here is how to create such
a role, named
CREATE USER rewind_user LOGIN; GRANT EXECUTE ON function pg_catalog.pg_ls_dir(text, boolean, boolean) TO rewind_user; GRANT EXECUTE ON function pg_catalog.pg_stat_file(text, boolean) TO rewind_user; GRANT EXECUTE ON function pg_catalog.pg_read_binary_file(text) TO rewind_user; GRANT EXECUTE ON function pg_catalog.pg_read_binary_file(text, bigint, bigint, boolean) TO rewind_user;
using an online
cluster as source which has been recently promoted, it is necessary
to execute a
after promotion so as its
control file reflects up-to-date timeline information, which is used by
to check if the target cluster
can be rewound using the designated source cluster.
How it works
The basic idea is to copy all file system-level changes from the source cluster to the target cluster:
Scan the WAL log of the target cluster, starting from the last checkpoint before the point where the source cluster's timeline history forked off from the target cluster. For each WAL record, record each data block that was touched. This yields a list of all the data blocks that were changed in the target cluster, after the source cluster forked off.
Copy all those changed blocks from the source cluster to the target cluster, either using direct file system access (
--source-pgdata) or SQL (
Copy all other files such as
pg_xactand configuration files from the source cluster to the target cluster (everything except the relation files). Similarly to base backups, the contents of the directories
pg_subtrans/are omitted from the data copied from the source cluster. Any file or directory beginning with
pgsql_tmpis omitted, as well as are
Apply the WAL from the source cluster, starting from the checkpoint created at failover. (Strictly speaking, pg_rewind doesn't apply the WAL, it just creates a backup label file that makes PostgreSQL start by replaying all WAL from that checkpoint forward.)