Chapter 24. Routine Database Maintenance Tasks

PostgreSQL , like any database software, requires that certain tasks be performed regularly to achieve optimum performance. The tasks discussed here are required , but they are repetitive in nature and can easily be automated using standard tools such as cron scripts or Windows' Task Scheduler . It is the database administrator's responsibility to set up appropriate scripts, and to check that they execute successfully.

One obvious maintenance task is the creation of backup copies of the data on a regular schedule. Without a recent backup, you have no chance of recovery after a catastrophe (disk failure, fire, mistakenly dropping a critical table, etc.). The backup and recovery mechanisms available in PostgreSQL are discussed at length in Chapter 25 .

The other main category of maintenance task is periodic " vacuuming " of the database. This activity is discussed in Section 24.1 . Closely related to this is updating the statistics that will be used by the query planner, as discussed in Section 24.1.3 .

Another task that might need periodic attention is log file management. This is discussed in Section 24.3 .

check_postgres is available for monitoring database health and reporting unusual conditions. check_postgres integrates with Nagios and MRTG, but can be run standalone too.

PostgreSQL is low-maintenance compared to some other database management systems. Nonetheless, appropriate attention to these tasks will go far towards ensuring a pleasant and productive experience with the system.