HARP Manager v4

HARP Manager is a daemon that interacts with the local PostgreSQL/BDR node and stores information about its state in the consensus layer. Manager determines the node that currently holds leader status for a respective location and enforces configuration (lag, CAMO lag, etc.) constraints to prevent ineligible nodes from leader consideration.

Every Postgres node in the cluster must have an associated HARP Manager. Other nodes can exist, but they can't to participate as lead or shadow master roles or any other functionality that requires a HARP Manager.


HARP Manager expects to be used to start and stop the database. Stopping HARP Manager will stop the database. Starting HARP Manager will start the database if it isn't already started. If another method is used to stop the database then HARP Manager will try and restart it.

How it works

Upon starting, HARP Manager uses pg_ctl to start Postgres if it isn't already running. After this, it periodically checks the server as defined by the node.lease_refresh_interval setting. HARP Manager collects various bits of data about Postgres including:

  • The node's current LSN.
  • If Postgres is running and accepting connections. This particular data point is considered a lease that must be periodically renewed. If it expires, HARP Proxy removes the node from any existing routing.
  • The current apply LSN position for all upstream BDR peer nodes.
  • If CAMO is enabled:
    • Name of the CAMO partner
    • Peer CAMO state (is_ready)
    • CAMO queue received and applied LSN positions
  • Node type, such as whether the node is BDR or regular Postgres.
  • The node's current role, such as a read/write, physical streaming replica, logical standby, and so on.
  • BDR node state, which is ACTIVE except in limited cases.
  • BDR Node ID for other metadata gathering.
  • Other tracking values.

When naming BDR nodes in HARP, the BDR node name must match the node name represented in the node.name configuration attribute. This occurs in the bootstrap process.

The data collected here is fully available to other HARP Manager processes and is used to evaluate lag, partner readiness, and other criteria that direct switchover and failover behavior.

After updating the node metadata, HARP Manager either refreshes the lead master lease if it's already held by the local node or seeks to obtain the lease if it's expired. Since the current state of all nodes is known to all other nodes, the node that was the previous lead master is given automatic priority ranking if present. If not, all other nodes list themselves by LSN lag, node priority, and other criteria, and the most qualified node seizes the lead master lease.

This procedure happens for every defined location where nodes are present. Thus for locations DC1 and DC2, there is a lead master node in each, with a separate lease and election process for both.

HARP Manager repeats these Postgres status checks, lease renewals, and elections repeatedly to ensure the cluster always has a lead master target for connections from HARP Proxy.


HARP Manager expects the dcs, cluster, and manager configuration stanzas. The following is a functional example:

  name: mycluster

  driver: etcd
    - host1:2379
    - host2:2379
    - host3:2379

  name: node1
  postgres_bin_dir: /usr/lib/postgresql/13/bin

You can apply changes to the configuration file (default: /etc/harp/config.yml) by issuing SIGHUP to the running instance or by calling a service-level reload.

See Configuration for further details.


This is the basic usage for HARP Manager:

Usage of ./harp-manager:
  -f string
    	Optional path to config file (shorthand)
  --config string
    	Optional path to config file

There are no arguments to launch harp-manager as a forked daemon. This software is designed to be launched through systemd or in a container as a top-level process. This also means output is directed to STDOUT and STDERR for capture and access through journald or an attached container terminal.