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How to configure PostgreSQL used by Database Lab Engine

PostgreSQL configuration

It is important to properly configure all PostgreSQL instances managed by Database Lab Engine: the single "sync" instance, and clones.

The "sync" instance

The "sync" instance, which is an asynchronous replica by nature, is currently supported only for the physical mode of data directory initialization, see option syncInstance in job physicalRestore. The only purpose of this PostgreSQL is fetching and replaying WAL segments, maintaining the data directory in sync.

Normally, there is no need in configuring this PostgreSQL instance, as Database Lab Engine controls it fully, using a small value for shared_buffers, and very reliable values for all the configuration options. The only option that can be controlled by the Databae Lab Engine administrator is restore_command (see physicalRestore).

PostgreSQL configuration in clones


For DBLab SE, this step is automated – no additional actions are required.

It is possible and in many cases necessary to configure various PostgreSQL options in clones. It can be done both for logical and physical modes of data directory initialization:

  • for the logical mode, all PostgreSQL parameters are to be specified in option configs of job logicalSnapshot
  • for the physical mode, these parameters are configured in option configs of job physicalSnapshot

Technically, the specified PostgreSQL parameters are applied to postgresql.conf located in the data directory when preparing a working snapshot used for thin cloning. All thin clones automatically inherit these values.

When configuring Database Lab Engine, review and set up if needed the following parameters:

  • shared_buffers: one of the most important parameters. The use of the same value that is used on the source is not recommended because it might lead to out-of-memory errors and the inability to create more than a few clones. Instead, use some moderate value such as 1GB; with this value, if your server has, say, 64 GiB of RAM, then theoretical maximum number of clones is ~63 (some RAM is already used by OS and other apps)
  • shared_preload_libraries: use the same value as on the source, to allow the same extensions that is used there
  • work_mem: set the same value as used on the source database unless your Database Lab Engine server lacks memory and there are significant risks of out-of-memory errors
  • Query Planning parameters (all of them). This is essential to ensure that cloned PostgreSQL most likely generates the same plans as on the source (specifically, it is crutial for query performance troubleshooting and optimization, including working with EXPLAIN plans)

Use the following SQL on the source database to get all non-default values of the parameters affecting the planner's behavior:

format(' %s: "%s"', name, setting) as configs
source <> 'default'
and (
name ~ '(work_mem$|^enable_|_cost$|scan_size$|effective_cache_size|^jit)'
or name ~ '(^geqo|default_statistics_target|constraint_exclusion|cursor_tuple_fraction)'
or name ~ '(collapse_limit$|parallel|plan_cache_mode)'

Additionally, ensure that shared_preload_libraries has all extensions that you use (or might start using in the future), plus the following:

  • pg_stat_kcache and logerrors – required for some observability tasks DBLab may need to performance
  • anon – required for PII removal, in some cases

The mentioned extensions above may not be available in the source – still, it makes sense to have them loaded in DBLab clones.

Here is an example of who the databaseConfigs configuration section is supposed to look:

databaseConfigs: &db_configs
shared_buffers: 1GB
default_statistics_target: "1000"
effective_cache_size: "43352064"
jit: "off"
maintenance_work_mem: "2097152"
random_page_cost: "1.0"
seq_page_cost: "1.0"
shared_preload_libraries: "pg_stat_statements,auto_explain,pg_stat_kcache,logerrors,anon"
work_mem: "102400"