Binary Replication Tools

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This is a Work-In-Progress, started Dec 28, 2012.

Additions welcome, and Selena reserves the right to edit. :)


Compare binary replication tools for PostgreSQL for features and ease of use. This document should classify and differentiate binary replication tools for easier selection and fit to purpose.

Comparison Matrix

Tool Documentation License Makes base backups Makes base backups from replicas Manages backups Creates replicas Monitors replication delay Supports automated failover Transport used Source includes replication tests
pg_basebackup* Postgres docs PostgreSQL Yes Yes No Manual No No PostgreSQL connection
pgBackRest Documentation MIT Yes Yes Yes Yes No No SSH / S3 / Azure / GCS Yes
pgbarman Documentation GPLv3 Yes Yes Yes Manual Yes No rsync/SSH, pg_basebackup
OmniPITR Intro PostgreSQL Yes Yes No Manual WAL archive delay No rsync / SSH
pghoard Readme Apache Yes Yes Yes Yes No No S3, Azure, Ceph, GCS Yes
pg-rman Readme BSD Yes Yes Yes Manual No No local / NFS mount
repmgr Readme GPLv3 No No No Yes Yes Yes rsync / SSH
Skytools walmgr3 BSD-ish ? ? ? Manual Yes Yes ? ?
WAL-E Readme BSD Yes No Yes Manual No No HTTPS/SSL
WAL-G README Apache 2.0 Yes Yes Yes Manual No No HTTPS/SSL Yes
pg_probackup README PostgreSQL Yes Yes Yes Manual No No local / NFS mount Yes
pitrery Documentation BSD-2 Yes Yes Yes Manual No No rsync / SSH ongoing
  • pg_basebackup is included with a standard PostgreSQL installation.

Tool: name of the project that manages binary replication or WAL archiving

Documentation: Link to canonical documentation for the project. Several projects have broken links that show up as top results in Google.

License: License software is released under. So far, we only have open/free software projects listed. We could add commercial projects.

Makes base backups: Yes if the project supports creating binary archives, including the necessary WAL to restore a backed-up instance.

Makes base backups from replicas: Yes if the project supports creating binary archives and WAL using the PGDATA directory from a replica rather than the master database.

Manages backups: Yes if the project adds, removes and lists binary archives.

Creates replicas: Yes if the project automatically adds a recovery.conf (sets up replication) as part of restoring a base backup.

Monitors replication delay: Yes if the project supports monitoring of replication delay (WAL shipping or streaming replication).

Supports automated failover: Yes if the project has an option for detecting master failure and promoting a replica to master.

Transport used: Supported methods for file transfer for making backups or replicas


pgbarman Demo setup for pgbarman

Summary of features:

  • Creates base backups
  • Uses SSH as transport for backup
  • Configuration stored in file or command-line
  • Restore is automatable for creating replicas, although not explictly supported
  • GPLv3

Install notes:

  • Had a dependency problem with 9.1 on Ubuntu Precise, so installed from source
  • Missing dep for argcomplete, noted in README in demo repo
  • written in Python


OmniPITR Demo of a simple replication setup with OmniPITR

Summary of Features:

  • Creating PITR backups from Master or Slave
  • Restoring a PITR backup for DR
  • Creating replicas (by untarring backups)
  • Monitoring of replicas
  • Supports 'pause removal' of WAL during a backup (nice!)
  • PostgreSQL license

Install notes:

  • No packaging, perl
  • No documented support for streaming replication
  • Uses '^' instead of '%' in custom logfile naming
  • No configuration file option (instead of using long command-line options)
  • Supported on all Linux, Solaris variants



Summary of features:

  • Parallel Backup & Restore
  • Local or Remote Operation
  • Full, Incremental, & Differential Backups
  • Block-level Incremental Backups
  • Backup & Archive Expiration
  • Backup Resume
  • Streaming Compression & Checksums
  • Delta Restore
  • Parallel WAL Archiving
  • Tablespace & Link Support
  • Compatibility with PostgreSQL >= 8.3
  • Support for S3, Azure, and GCS


Summary of features:

  • Stores basebackups and WAL to cloud object stores (AWS S3, Azure, Ceph, Google Cloud)
  • Restore existing basebackups and setup a new cluster with a recovery.conf pointing to another master database
  • Create scheduled basebackups
  • Can be used as archive_command to archive WALs in the object store
  • Can be used as restore_command to restore WALs from the object store
  • Basebackup and WAL compression using LZMA
  • Optionally encrypts backups
  • Supports PITR using timestamps, names and xids

Install notes:

  • Written in Python, includes Debian and Fedora packaging scripts
  • 'pghoard' daemon manages basebackups and cleans up WALs
  • 'pghoard_archive_command' and 'pghoard_restore' access the locally running 'pghoard' daemon to store and restore files


pg-rman Simple demo for pg_rman setup

Summary of features:

  • Online backup and recovery, including backup from a replica
  • Archive management and restore
  • .ini configuration file
  • Simple command-line options

Install notes:

  • Written in C, install with 'make USE_PGXS=1'
  • On Ubuntu/Debian, installs in non-default bin directory
  • Commands are simple, manages WAL archive as well as backups


pitrery GitHub repository

Summary of features:

  • Local or Remote backups
  • Backup from standby
  • backup modes: tar or rsync in hard-link mode
  • Ease WAL archiving
  • Backups and WAL archive expiration
  • Uses SSH as transport for backup
  • GPG encryption (experimental)
  • PostgreSQL >= 8.3

Install notes:

  • written in bash, install with 'make install'
  • deb and rpm packages available


repmgr GitHub repository Demo of a simple setup with repmgr

Supported features:

  • Setting up new replicas/hot_standby with streaming replication (makes recovery.conf itself)
  • Making base backups
  • Failover (automated, or not, including redirecting replicas to connect to a new master after failover)
  • Lag monitoring (repmgrd)
  • A "witness" DB server for monitoring (typically on a replica)
  • License: GPLv3

Install notes:

  • Written in C
  • Developed on Debian systems, so support for package is present. Ubuntu packages are available since Trusty (14.04).
  • Otherwise, installs like a typical UNIX utility out of postgresql/contrib source tree (make USE_PGXS=1; make USE_PGXS=1 install)
  • Detailed docs are in the README for installing on many Linux platforms
  • Doesn't appear to be supported on Mac OS X

Skytools / walmgr






Summary of features:

  • Archive management and restore
  • Inspired by WAL-E
  • High performance
  • Parallelized operation

Installation notes:

  • Written in Go, install with the usual Go tools.





Summary of features:

  • PostgreSQL >= 9.5
  • Simple command-line interface
  • Remote backup/restore
  • Parallel Backup, Restore and Validation operations
  • Block-level incremental backups
  • Two mode for incremental backups: PAGE and DELTA
  • Compression of datafiles and WAL files
  • Retention policies(time, window)
  • Backup corruption detection
  • Block corruption detection(during backup)
  • Restore target validation
  • Backup from standby
  • Extended logging options
  • Windows support
  • Merge Full and Incremental backups