Standby cluster

Patroni also support running cascading replication to a remote datacenter (region) using a feature that is called “standby cluster”. This type of clusters has:

  • “standby leader”, that behaves pretty much like a regular cluster leader, except it replicates from a remote node.

  • cascade replicas, that are replicating from standby leader.

Standby leader holds and updates a leader lock in DCS. If the leader lock expires, cascade replicas will perform an election to choose another leader from the standbys.

There is no further relationship between the standby cluster and the primary cluster it replicates from, in particular, they must not share the same DCS scope if they use the same DCS. They do not know anything else from each other apart from replication information. Also, the standby cluster is not being displayed in patronictl list or patronictl topology output on the primary cluster.

For the sake of flexibility, you can specify methods of creating a replica and recovery WAL records when a cluster is in the “standby mode” by providing create_replica_methods key in standby_cluster section. It is distinct from creating replicas, when cluster is detached and functions as a normal cluster, which is controlled by create_replica_methods in postgresql section. Both “standby” and “normal” create_replica_methods reference keys in postgresql section.

To configure such cluster you need to specify the section standby_cluster in a patroni configuration:

            port: 5432
            primary_slot_name: patroni
            - basebackup

Note, that these options will be applied only once during cluster bootstrap, and the only way to change them afterwards is through DCS.

Patroni expects to find postgresql.conf or postgresql.conf.backup in PGDATA of the remote primary and will not start if it does not find it after a basebackup. If the remote primary keeps its postgresql.conf elsewhere, it is your responsibility to copy it to PGDATA.

If you use replication slots on the standby cluster, you must also create the corresponding replication slot on the primary cluster. It will not be done automatically by the standby cluster implementation. You can use Patroni’s permanent replication slots feature on the primary cluster to maintain a replication slot with the same name as primary_slot_name, or its default value if primary_slot_name is not provided.

In case the remote site doesn’t provide a single endpoint that connects to a primary, one could list all hosts of the source cluster in the section. When contains multiple hosts separated by commas, Patroni will:

  • add target_session_attrs=read-write to the primary_conninfo on the standby leader node.

  • use target_session_attrs=read-write when trying to determine whether we need to run pg_rewind or when executing pg_rewind on all nodes of the standby cluster.

There is also a possibility to replicate the standby cluster from another standby cluster or from a standby member of the primary cluster: for that, you need to define a single host in the section. However, you need to beware that in this case pg_rewind will fail to execute on the standby cluster.