PostgreSQL configuration for BDR v4

Several PostgreSQL configuration parameters affect BDR nodes. You can set these parameters differently on each node, although that isn't generally recommended.

PostgreSQL settings for BDR

BDR requires these PostgreSQL settings to run correctly:

  • wal_level Must be set to logical, since BDR relies on logical decoding.
  • shared_preload_libraries Must contain bdr, although it can contain other entries before or after, as needed. However, don't include pglogical.
  • 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 overflow the buffer and are stored temporarily on local disk. Default is 64 MB, but you can set it much higher.
  • max_worker_processes BDR uses background workers for replication and maintenance tasks, so you need enough worker slots for it to work correctly. The formula for the correct minimal number of workers, for each database, is:
    • One per PostgreSQL instance plus
    • One per database on that instance plus
    • Four per BDR-enabled database plus
    • One per peer node in the BDR group plus
    • One for each writer-enabled per peer node in the BDR group You might need more worker processes temporarily when a 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 Determines how quickly a node considers its CAMO partner as disconnected or reconnected. See CAMO failure scenarios for details.

In normal running for a group with N peer nodes, BDR requires N slots and WAL senders. During synchronization, BDR temporarily uses another N - 1 slots and WAL senders, so be careful to set the parameters high enough 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 requires one extra replication slot per BDR group.

Changing these parameters requires restarting the local node: max_worker_processes, max_wal_senders, max_replication_slots.

You might also want your applications to set these parameters. See Durability and performance options for details.

  • synchronous_commit Affects the durability and performance of BDR replication. in a similar way to physical replication.
  • synchronous_standby_names Same as above.

BDR-specific settings

You can also set BDR-specific configuration settings. Unless noted otherwise, you can set the values at any time.

Conflict handling

Global sequence parameters

  • bdr.default_sequence_kind Sets the default sequence kind. The default value is distributed, which means snowflakeid is used for int8 sequences (i.e., bigserial) and galloc sequence for int4 (i.e., serial) and int2 sequences.

DDL handling

  • bdr.default_replica_identity Sets the default value for REPLICA IDENTITY on newly created tables. The REPLICA IDENTITY defines the information written to the write-ahead log to identify rows that 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't replicate UPDATE and DELETE operations on tables without a PRIMARY KEY or UNIQUE constraint. The exception is when the replica identity for the table is FULL, either by table-specific configuration or by bdr.default_replica_identity.

    If bdr.default_replica_identity is DEFAULT and there is a UNIQUE constraint on the table, it isn't automatically picked up as REPLICA IDENTITY. You need to set it explicitly when creating the table or after, as described above.

    Setting the replica identity of tables 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 is on).

    This parameter can be set only 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 DDL replication 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 is on). Only a superuser can set this parameter. This setting works only 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 might cause replicated DDL to interrupt replication until the administrator intervenes.

    See Role manipulation statements for details.

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

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

    Possible options are:

    • off Don't use global locking for DDL operations.
    • on Use global locking for all DDL operations.
    • dml Use global locking only 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's normal for some statements to result in two WARNING messages: 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). Can be set only at Postgres server start.
  • bdr.global_lock_timeout Sets the maximum allowed duration of any wait for a global lock (default 10 minutes). 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 60 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.
  • bdr.predictive_checks Log level for predictive checks (currently used only by global locks). Can be DEBUG, LOG, WARNING (default), or ERROR. Predictive checks are early validations for expected cluster state when doing certain operations. You can use them for those operations for fail early rather than wait for timeouts. In global lock terms, BDR checks that there are enough nodes connected and withing reasonable lag limit for getting quorum needed by the global lock.

Node management

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

  • bdr.standby_slot_names Require these slots to receive and confirm replication changes before any other ones. This setting is useful primarily when using physical standbys for failover or when using subscribe-only nodes.

Generic replication

  • bdr.writers_per_subscription Default number of writers per subscription (in BDR, you can also change this with bdr.alter_node_group_config for a group).

  • bdr.max_writers_per_subscription Maximum number of writers per subscription (sets upper limit for the setting above).

  • bdr.xact_replication Replicate current transaction (default is on).

    Turning this off makes the whole transaction local only, which means the transaction isn't visible to logical decoding by BDR and all other downstream targets of logical decoding. Data isn't transferred to any other node, including logical standby nodes.

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

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


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


Turning off bdr.xact_replication leads to data inconsistency between nodes. Use it only 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 can either produce inconsistent results or break replication altogether. Use at your own risk.

  • bdr.batch_inserts Number of consecutive inserts to one table in 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 is also how the initial data during node join is copied.

  • bdr.maximum_clock_skew

    This option specifies the maximum difference between the incoming transaction commit timestamp and the current time on the subscriber before triggering bdr.maximum_clock_skew_action.

    It checks if the timestamp of the currently replayed transaction is in the future compared to the current time on the subscriber. If it is, and the difference is larger than bdr.maximum_clock_skew, it performs 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's 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 until the current local timestamp is no longer older than remote commit timestamp minus the bdr.maximum_clock_skew.
  • bdr.accept_connections Option to enable or disable connections to BDR. Defaults to on.

    Requires bdr_superuser or PostgreSQL superuser.


This option is typically used in failover configurations to ensure that the failover-candidate streaming physical replicas for this BDR node have received and flushed all changes before they ever become visible to subscribers. That guarantees that a commit can't vanish on failover to a standby for the provider.

Replication slots whose names are listed in the comma-separated bdr.standby_slot_names list are treated specially by the walsender on a BDR node.

BDR's logical replication walsenders ensures that all local changes are sent and flushed to the replication slots in bdr.standby_slot_names before the node sends those changes to any other BDR replication clients. Effectively, it provides a synchronous replication barrier between the named list of slots and all other replication clients.

Any replication slot can be listed in bdr.standby_slot_names. Both logical and physical slots work, but it's generally used for physical slots.

Without this safeguard, two anomalies are possible where a commit can be received by a subscriber and then vanish from the provider on failover because the failover candidate hadn't received it yet:

  • For 1+ subscribers, the subscriber might have applied the change but the new provider might execute new transactions that conflict with the received change, as it never happened as far as the provider is concerned.

  • For 2+ subscribers, at the time of failover, not all subscribers have applied the change. The subscribers now have inconsistent and irreconcilable states because the subscribers that didn't receive the commit have no way to get it.

Setting bdr.standby_slot_names by design causes other subscribers not listed in there to lag behind the provider if the required number of listed nodes are not keeping up. Monitoring is thus essential.

Another use case where bdr.standby_slot_names is useful is when using a subscriber-only node, to ensure that it does not move ahead of any of the regular BDR nodes. This can best be achieved by listing the logical slots of all regular BDR peer nodes in combination with setting bdr.standby_slots_min_confirmed to at least one.


Controls how many of the bdr.standby_slot_names have to confirm before we send data to BDR subscribers.


This option specifies the size of the shared memory queue used by the receiver to send data to the writer process. If the writer process is stalled or making slow progress, then the queue might get filled up, stalling the receiver process too. So it's important to provide enough shared memory for this queue. The default is 1 MB, and the maximum allowed size is 1 GB. While any storage size specifier can be used to set the GUC, the default is KB.


This option specifies the size of the shared memory queue used by the receiver to receive data from the writer process. Since the writer isn't expected to send a large amount of data, a relatively smaller sized queue is enough. The default is 32 KB, and the maximum allowed size is 1 MB. While any storage size specifier can be used to set the GUC, the default is KB.


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

Time-unit suffixes are supported.


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

The default for bdr.min_worker_backoff_delay is 1 second. For bdr.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 for reset. Additionally, the bdr.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 isn't persistent. It is cleared by PostgreSQL restarts, including soft restarts during crash recovery after an unclean backend exit.

You can use the view bdr.worker_tasks 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 doesn't apply, for example, manager workers don't have a subscription ID and receivers don't have a writer ID.


  • 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 prevents all Eager transactions on the cluster. You can set this only at Postgres server start.

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.

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 backward-compatibility, the values on, true, and 1 set the safest remote_commit_flush mode, while false or 0 also disable CAMO.
  • 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. Is usually unset. You can set it only 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. Set to 0 to disable this feature.
  • bdr.camo_enable_client_warnings Emit warnings if an activity is carried out in the database for which CAMO properties can't 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.
  • synchronous_replication_availability Can optionally be async for increased availability by allowing a node to continue and commit after its CAMO partner got disconnected. Under the default value of wait, the node waits indefinitely and proceeds to commit only after the CAMO partner reconnects and sends confirmation.

Transaction streaming

  • bdr.default_streaming_mode Used to control transaction streaming by the subscriber node. Permissible values are: off, writer, file, and auto. Defaults to auto. If set to off, the subscriber doesn't request transaction streaming. If set to one of the other values, the subscriber requests transaction streaming and the publisher provides it if it supports them and if configured at group level. For more details, see Transaction streaming.

Lag control

  • bdr.lag_control_max_commit_delay Maximum acceptable post commit delay that can be tolerated, in fractional milliseconds.

  • bdr.lag_control_max_lag_size Maximum acceptable lag size that can be tolerated, in kilobytes.

  • bdr.lag_control_max_lag_time Maximum acceptable lag time that can be tolerated, in milliseconds.

  • bdr.lag_control_min_conforming_nodes Minimum number of nodes required to stay below acceptable lag measures.

  • bdr.lag_control_commit_delay_adjust Commit delay micro adjustment measured as a fraction of the maximum commit delay time. At a default value of 0.01%, it takes 100 net increments to reach the maximum commit delay.

  • bdr.lag_control_sample_interval Minimum time between lag samples and commit delay micro adjustments, in milliseconds.

  • bdr.lag_control_commit_delay_start The lag threshold at which commit delay increments start to be applied, expressed as a fraction of acceptable lag measures. At a default value of 1.0%, commit delay increments don't begin until acceptable lag measures are breached.

    By setting a smaller fraction, it might be possible to prevent a breach by "bending the lag curve" earlier so that it's asymptotic with the acceptable lag measure.

Timestamp-based snapshots

  • snapshot_timestamp Turns on the use of timestamp-based snapshots and sets the timestamp to use.
  • bdr.timestamp_snapshot_keep Time to keep valid snapshots for the timestamp-based snapshot use (default is 0, meaning don't keep past snapshots).

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 might help EDB Support to diagnose issues. You can set this only 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 don't enabled it long term in production unless plans are in place for log filtering, archival, and rotation to prevent disk space exhaustion.

  • bdr.track_subscription_apply Track apply statistics for each subscription.
  • bdr.track_relation_apply Track apply statistics for each relation.
  • bdr.track_apply_lock_timing Track lock timing when tracking statistics for relations.


  • 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 disables log compaction. You can set this only at Postgres server start.

    If log compaction is disabled, the log grows in size forever.

  • bdr.raft_response_timeout To account for network failures, the Raft consensus protocol implemented times 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 can indicate a problem. Default value of this parameter is 3000 ms.
  • bdr.raft_log_min_message_duration When to log a consensus request. Measure roundtrip 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.raft_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. You can set it only at Postgres server start.
  • bdr.backwards_compatibility Specifies the version to be backward 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 in the configuration file unless the value is different from the current version.
  • bdr.track_replication_estimates Track replication estimates in terms of apply rates and catchup intervals for peer nodes. Protocols like CAMO can use this information to estimate the readiness of a peer node. This parameter is enabled by default.
  • 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.