PostgreSQL Configuration for BDR v3.7

There are several PostgreSQL configuration parameters that affect BDR nodes. Note that these parameters could be set differently on each node, though that is not recommended, in general.

PostgreSQL Settings for BDR

BDR requires these PostgreSQL settings to run correctly:

  • wal_level - Must be set to logical, since BDR relies upon logical decoding.
  • shared_preload_libraries - This must contain pglogical,bdr (in that order), though may also contain other entries before or afterwards, as needed.
  • track_commit_timestamp - Must be set to 'on' for conflict resolution to retrieve the timestamp for each conflicting row.

BDR requires these PostgreSQL settings to be set to appropriate values, which vary according to the size and scale of the cluster.

  • logical_decoding_work_mem - memory buffer size used by logical decoding. Transactions larger than this will overflow the buffer and be stored temporarily on local disk. Default 64MB, but can be set much higher.
  • max_worker_processes - BDR uses background workers for replication and maintenance tasks, so there need to be enough worker slots for it to work correctly. The formula for the correct minimal number of workers is: one per PostgreSQL instance + one per database on that instance + four per BDR-enabled database + one per peer node in the BDR group + one for each writer enabled per peer node in the BDR group, for each database. Additional worker processes may be needed temporarily when node is being removed from a BDR group.
  • max_wal_senders - Two needed per every peer node.
  • max_replication_slots - Same as max_wal_senders.
  • wal_sender_timeout and wal_receiver_timeout - Determine how quickly an origin considers its CAMO partner as disconnected or reconnected; see CAMO Failure Scenarios for details.

Note that in normal running for a group with N peer nodes, BDR will require N slots and WAL senders. During synchronization, BDR will temporarily use another N - 1 slots and WAL senders, so be careful to set the above parameters high enough to cater for this occasional peak demand.

max_replication_slots sets the maximum number of replication origins. Some of the functionality of parallel apply uses an extra origin per writer. Hence, when parallel apply is enabled, you must set the max_replication_slots to N * (number of writers) plus the number of slots needed for peak demand as described in the previous paragraph.

When the Decoding Worker is enabled, this process will require one extra replication slot per BDR group.

The general safe recommended value on a 4 node BDR Group with a single database is just to set max_replication_slots and max_worker_processes to something like 50 and max_wal_senders to at least 10.

Note also that changing these parameters requires restarting the local node: max_worker_processes, max_wal_senders, max_replication_slots.

Applications may also wish to set these parameters. Please see chapter on [Durability & Performance Options] for further discussion.

  • synchronous_commit - affects the durability and performance of BDR replication in a similar way to physical replication.
  • synchronous_standby_names - same as above

2ndQPostgres/EDB Postgres Extended Settings for BDR

The following Postgres settings need to be considered for commit at most once (CAMO), a feature that is only available for BDR in combination with 2ndQPostgres. Some of these are only available in 2ndQPostgres; others already exist in the community version, but only become relevant with BDR in combination with CAMO.

  • synchronous_replication_availability - Can optionally be async for increased availability by allowing an origin to continue and commit after its CAMO partner got disconnected. Under the default value of wait, the origin will wait indefinitely, and proceed to commit only after the CAMO partner reconnects and sends confirmation.
  • snapshot_timestamp - Turns on the usage of timestamp-based snapshots and sets the timestamp to use.

pglogical Settings for BDR

BDR is also affected by some of the pglogical settings as it uses pglogical internally to implement the basic replication.

  • pglogical.track_subscription_apply - Track apply statistics for each subscription.
  • pglogical.track_relation_apply - Track apply statistics for each relation.
  • pglogical.track_apply_lock_timing - Track lock timing when tracking statistics for relations.
  • pglogical.standby_slot_names - When using physical Standby nodes intended for failover purposes, should be set to the replication slot(s) for each intended Standby.
  • pglogical.writers_per_subscription - Default number of writers per subscription (in BDR this can also be changed by bdr.alter_node_group_config for a group).
  • pglogical.max_writers_per_subscription - Maximum number of writers per subscription (sets upper limit for the setting above).

pglogical.min_worker_backoff_delay and pglogical.max_worker_backoff_delay

Rate limit BDR background worker launches by preventing a given worker from being relaunched more often than every pglogical.min_worker_backoff_delay milliseconds. On repeated errors, the back-off increases exponentially with added jitter up to maximum of pglogical.max_worker_backoff_delay.

Time-unit suffixes are supported.


This setting currently only affects receiver worker, which means it primarily affects how fast a subscription will try to reconnect on error or connection failure.

The default for pglogical.min_worker_backoff_delay 1 second, for pglogical.max_worker_backoff_delay it is 1 minute.

If the backoff delay setting is changed and the PostgreSQL configuration is reloaded then all current backoff waits will be reset. Additionally, the pglogical.worker_task_reset_backoff_all() function is provided to allow the administrator to force all backoff intervals to immediately expire.

A tracking table in shared memory is maintained to remember the last launch time of each type of worker. This tracking table is not persistent; it is cleared by PostgreSQL restarts, including soft-restarts during crash recovery after an unclean backend exit.

The view pglogical.worker_tasks may be used to inspect this state so the administrator can see any backoff rate-limiting currently in effect.

For rate limiting purposes, workers are classified by "task". This key consists of the worker role, database oid, subscription id, subscription writer id, extension library name and function name, extension-supplied worker name, and the remote relation id for sync writers. NULL is used where a given classifier does not apply, e.g. manager workers don't have a subscription ID and receivers don't have a writer id.

BDR Specific Settings

There are also BDR specific configuration settings that can be set. Unless noted otherwise, values may be set by any user at any time.

Conflict Handling

Global Sequence Parameters

DDL Handling

  • bdr.default_replica_identity - Sets the default value for REPLICA IDENTITY on newly created tables. The REPLICA IDENTITY defines which information is written to the write-ahead log to identify rows which are updated or deleted.

    The accepted values are:

    • DEFAULT - records the old values of the columns of the primary key, if any (this is the default PostgreSQL behavior).
    • FULL - records the old values of all columns in the row.
    • NOTHING - records no information about the old row.

    See PostgreSQL documentation for more details.

    BDR can not replicate UPDATEs and DELETEs on tables without a PRIMARY KEY or UNIQUE constraint, unless the replica identity for the table is FULL, either by table-specific configuration or via bdr.default_replica_identity.

    If bdr.default_replica_identity is DEFAULT and there is a UNIQUE constraint on the table, it will not be automatically picked up as REPLICA IDENTITY. It needs to be set explicitly at the time of creating the table, or afterwards as described in the documentation above.

    Setting the replica identity of table(s) to FULL increases the volume of WAL written and the amount of data replicated on the wire for the table.

  • bdr.ddl_replication - Automatically replicate DDL across nodes (default "on").

    This parameter can be only set by bdr_superuser or superuser roles.

    Running DDL or calling BDR administration functions with bdr.ddl_replication = off can create situations where replication stops until an administrator can intervene. See the DDL replication chapter for details.

    A LOG-level log message is emitted to the PostgreSQL server logs whenever bdr.ddl_replication is set to off. Additionally, a WARNING-level message is written whenever replication of captured DDL commands or BDR replication functions is skipped due to this setting.

  • bdr.role_replication - Automatically replicate ROLE commands across nodes (default "on"). This parameter is settable by a superuser only. This setting only works if bdr.ddl_replication is turned on as well.

    Turning this off without using external methods to ensure roles are in sync across all nodes may cause replicated DDL to interrupt replication until the administrator intervenes.

    See Role manipulation statements in the DDL replication chapter for details.

  • bdr.ddl_locking - Configures the operation mode of global locking for DDL.

    This parameter can be only set by bdr_superuser or superuser roles.

    Possible options are:

    • off - do not use global locking for DDL operations
    • on - use global locking for all DDL operations
    • dml - only use global locking for DDL operations that need to prevent writes by taking the global DML lock for a relation

    A LOG-level log message is emitted to the PostgreSQL server logs whenever bdr.ddl_replication is set to off. Additionally, a WARNING message is written whenever any global locking steps are skipped due to this setting. It is normal for some statements to result in two WARNINGs, one for skipping the DML lock and one for skipping the DDL lock.

  • bdr.truncate_locking - False by default, this configuration option sets the TRUNCATE command's locking behavior. Determines whether (when true) TRUNCATE obeys the bdr.ddl_locking setting.

Global Locking

  • bdr.ddl_locking - Described above.
  • bdr.global_lock_max_locks - Maximum number of global locks that can be held on a node (default 1000). May only be set at Postgres server start.
  • bdr.global_lock_timeout - Sets the maximum allowed duration of any wait for a global lock (default 1 minute). A value of zero disables this timeout.
  • bdr.global_lock_statement_timeout - Sets the maximum allowed duration of any statement holding a global lock (default 10 minutes). A value of zero disables this timeout.
  • bdr.global_lock_idle_timeout - Sets the maximum allowed duration of idle time in transaction holding a global lock (default 10 minutes). A value of zero disables this timeout.

Node Management

  • bdr.replay_progress_frequency - Interval for sending replication position info to the rest of the cluster (default 1 minute).

Generic Replication

  • bdr.xact_replication - Replicate current transaction (default "on").

    Turning this off will make the whole transaction local only, which means the transaction will not be visible to logical decoding by BDR and all other downstream targets of logical decoding. Data will not be transferred to any other node, including logical standby nodes.

    This parameter can be only set by the bdr_superuser or superuser roles.

    This parameter can only be set inside the current transaction using the SET LOCAL command unless bdr.permit_unsafe_commands = on.


Even with transaction replication disabled, WAL will be generated but those changes will be filtered away on the origin.


Turning off bdr.xact_replication will lead to data inconsistency between nodes, and should only be used to recover from data divergence between nodes or in replication situations where changes on single nodes are required for replication to continue. Use at your own risk.

  • bdr.permit_unsafe_commands - Option to override safety check on commands that are deemed unsafe for general use.

    Requires bdr_superuser or PostgreSQL superuser.


The commands that are normally not considered safe may either produce inconsistent results or break replication altogether. Use at your own risk.

  • bdr.batch_inserts - How many consecutive inserts to one table within a single transaction turns on batch processing of inserts for that table.

    This option allows replication of large data loads as COPY internally, rather than set of inserts. It also how the initial data during node join is copied.

  • bdr.maximum_clock_skew

    This specifies what should be considered as the maximum difference between the incoming transaction commit timestamp and the current time on the subscriber before triggering bdr.maximum_clock_skew_action.

    This checks if the timestamp of the currently replayed transaction is in the future compared to the current time on the subscriber; and if it is, and the difference is larger than bdr.maximum_clock_skew, it will do the action specified by the bdr.maximum_clock_skew_action setting.

    The default is -1, which means: ignore clock skew (the check is turned off). It is valid to set 0 as when the clock on all servers are synchronized, the fact that we are replaying the transaction means it has been committed in the past.

  • bdr.maximum_clock_skew_action

    This specifies the action to take if a clock skew higher than bdr.maximum_clock_skew is detected.

    There are two possible values for this option:

    • WARN - Log a warning about this fact. The warnings are logged once per minute (the default) at the maximum to prevent flooding the server log.
    • WAIT - Wait for as long as the current local timestamp is no longer older than remote commit timestamp minus the bdr.maximum_clock_skew.


  • bdr.crdt_raw_value - Sets the output format of CRDT Data Types. The default output (when this setting is off) is to return only the current value of the base CRDT type (for example, a bigint for crdt_pncounter). When set to on, the returned value represents the full representation of the CRDT value, which can for example include the state from multiple nodes.

Max Prepared Transactions

  • max_prepared_transactions - Needs to be set high enough to cope with the maximum number of concurrent prepared transactions across the cluster due to explicit two-phase commits, CAMO or Eager transactions. Exceeding the limit prevents a node from running a local two-phase commit or CAMO transaction, and will prevent all Eager transactions on the cluster. May only be set at Postgres server start. (EDB Postgres Extended)

Eager Replication

  • bdr.commit_scope - Setting the commit scope to global enables eager all node replication (default local).

  • bdr.global_commit_timeout - Timeout for both stages of a global two-phase commit (default 60s) as well as for CAMO-protected transactions in their commit phase, as a limit for how long to wait for the CAMO partner.


This is only available on EDB Postgres Extended.

Commit at Most Once

  • bdr.enable_camo - Used to enable and control the CAMO feature. Defaults to off. CAMO can be switched on per transaction by setting this to remote_write, remote_commit_async, or remote_commit_flush. For backwards-compatibility, the values on, true, and 1 set the safest remote_commit_flush mode. While false or 0 also disable CAMO.
  • bdr.camo_partner_of - Allows specifying a CAMO partner per database. Expects pairs of database name and node name joined by a colon. Multiple pairs may be specified, but only the first occurrence per database is taken into account. For example: 'db1:node_4 test_db:test_node_3'. May only be set at Postgres server start.
  • bdr.camo_origin_for - Per-database node name of the origin of transactions in a CAMO pairing; for each database, this needs to match with the bdr.camo_partner_of setting on the corresponding origin node. May only be set at Postgres server start.
  • bdr.standby_dsn - Allows manual override of the connection string (DSN) to reach the CAMO partner, in case it has changed since the crash of the local node. Should usually be unset. May only be set at Postgres server start.
  • bdr.camo_local_mode_delay - The commit delay that applies in CAMO's Local mode to emulate the overhead that normally occurs with the CAMO partner having to confirm transactions. Defaults to 5 ms. Setting to 0 disables this feature.
  • bdr.camo_enable_client_warnings - Emit warnings if an activity is carried out in the database for which CAMO properties cannot be guaranteed. This is enabled by default. Well-informed users can choose to disable this to reduce the amount of warnings going into their logs.

This is only available on EDB Postgres Extended.

Timestamp-based Snapshots

  • bdr.timestamp_snapshot_keep - For how long to keep valid snapshots for the timestamp-based snapshot usage (default 0, meaning do not keep past snapshots). Also see snapshot_timestamp above. (EDB Postgres Extended)

Monitoring and Logging

  • bdr.debug_level - Defines the log level that BDR uses to write its debug messages. The default value is debug2. If you want to see detailed BDR debug output, set bdr.debug_level = 'log'.

  • bdr.trace_level - Similar to the above, this defines the log level to use for BDR trace messages. Enabling tracing on all nodes of a EDB Postgres Distributed cluster may help EDB Support to diagnose issues. May only be set at Postgres server start.


Setting bdr.debug_level or bdr.trace_level to a value >= log_min_messages can produce a very large volume of log output, so it should not be enabled long term in production unless plans are in place for log filtering, archival and rotation to prevent disk space exhaustion.


  • bdr.raft_keep_min_entries - The minimum number of entries to keep in the Raft log when doing log compaction (default 100). The value of 0 will disable log compaction. WARNING: If log compaction is disabled, the log will grow in size forever. May only be set at Postgres server start.
  • bdr.raft_response_timeout - To account for network failures, the Raft consensus protocol implemented will time out requests after a certain amount of time. This timeout defaults to 30 seconds.
  • bdr.raft_log_min_apply_duration - To move the state machine forward, Raft appends entries to its internal log. During normal operation, appending takes only a few milliseconds. This poses an upper threshold on the duration of that append action, above which an INFO message is logged. This may indicate an actual problem. Default value of this parameter is 3000 ms.
  • bdr.raft_log_min_message_duration - When to log a consensus request. Measure round trip time of a bdr consensus request and log an INFO message if the time exceeds this parameter. Default value of this parameter is 5000 ms.
  • bdr.group_max_connections - The maximum number of connections across all BDR groups for a Postgres server. These connections carry bdr consensus requests between the groups' nodes. Default value of this parameter is 100 connections. May only be set at Postgres server start. BDR 3.7.13 and later will emit a warning when setting this variable that it is deprecated and bdr.raft_group_max_connections should be used. Ignore this warning and continue to use bdr.group_max_connections (until you upgrade to BDR 4 and later).
  • bdr.backwards_compatibility - Specifies the version to be backwards-compatible to, in the same numerical format as used by bdr.bdr_version_num, e.g. 30618. Enables exact behavior of a former BDR version, even if this has generally unwanted effects. Defaults to the current BDR version. Since this changes from release to release, we advise against explicit use within the configuration file unless the value is different to the current version.
  • bdr.track_replication_estimates - Track replication estimates in terms of apply rates and catchup intervals for peer nodes. This information can be used by protocols like CAMO to estimate the readiness of a peer node. This parameter is enabled by default. (EDB Postgres Extended)
  • bdr.lag_tracker_apply_rate_weight - We monitor how far behind peer nodes are in terms of applying WAL from the local node, and calculate a moving average of the apply rates for the lag tracking. This parameter specifies how much contribution newer calculated values have in this moving average calculation. Default value is 0.1. (EDB Postgres Extended)