A tablespace is a robust and widely embraced feature in database management systems. It offers a powerful means to enhance the vertical scalability of a database by decoupling the physical and logical modeling of data. Essentially, it serves as a technique for physical database modeling, enabling the efficient distribution of I/O operations across multiple volumes on distinct storage. It thereby optimizes performance through parallel on-disk read/write operations.
In the context of the database industry, tablespaces play a strategic role, particularly when paired with table partitioning, a logical database modeling technique. They prove instrumental in managing large-scale databases and are also used for tasks such as separating tables from indexes or executing temporary operations.
Tablespaces in PostgreSQL have been playing a pivotal role since 2005 (version 8.0), while declarative partitioning was introduced in 2017 (version 10). Consequently, tablespaces are seamlessly integrated into all supported releases of PostgreSQL. Quoting from the PostgreSQL documentation on tablespaces:
By using tablespaces, an administrator can control the disk layout of a PostgreSQL installation. This is useful in at least two ways.
- First, if the partition or volume on which the cluster was initialized runs out of space and cannot be extended, a tablespace can be created on a different partition and used until the system can be reconfigured.
- Second, tablespaces allow an administrator to use knowledge of the usage pattern of database objects to optimize performance.
EDB Postgres for Kubernetes provides support for PostgreSQL tablespaces through declarative tablespaces, operating at two distinct levels:
- Kubernetes, managing persistent volume claims, identically to how PGDATA and WAL volumes are handled
- PostgreSQL, managing the
TABLESPACEglobal objects in the PostgreSQL instance
Being a part of the Kubernetes ecosystem, EDB Postgres for Kubernetes' declarative tablespaces are implemented by leveraging persistent volume claims (and persistent volumes). Each tablespace defined in the cluster is housed in its own persistent volume. EDB Postgres for Kubernetes takes care of generating the PVCs. It mounts the required volumes in the instance pods in normalized locations and ensures replicas are ready to support tablespaces before activating them in the primary.
You can set up tablespaces when creating the cluster or add them later, provided the storage is available when requested. Currently, you can't remove them. However, this limitation will be addressed in a future minor or patch version of EDB Postgres for Kubernetes.
Using declarative tablespaces is straightforward. You can find a full example in
To use them, use the new
tablespaces stanza on a new or existing
Each tablespace has its own storage section where you can configure the size and the storage class of the generated PVC. The administrator can thus plan to use different storage classes for different kinds of workloads, as explained in Storage classes and tablespaces.
EDB Postgres for Kubernetes creates the persistent volume claims for each instance
in the high-availability Postgres cluster. It mounts them in each pod when they
have been provisioned. Then, it ensures that the
tablespaces are created on the primary PostgreSQL instance using the
TABLESPACE command. This process is quick, and you see this reflected in
You can start using them right away:
The cluster status has a section for tablespaces:
You can use different storage classes for your tablespaces, just as you can for PGDATA and WAL volumes. This is a convenient way of optimizing your resources, balancing performance and costs of your storage based on data access usage and expectations.
This example helps to explain the feature:
yardbirds cluster example requests 4 persistent volume claims using
3 different storage classes:
- Default storage class – Used by the
PGDATAand WAL volumes.
fastest– Used by the
currenttablespace to store the most active and demanding set of data in the database.
balanced– Used by the
this_yeartablespace to store older partitions of data that are rarely accessed by users and where performance expectations aren't the highest.
You can then take advantage of horizontal table partitioning and create
the current month's table (for example, facts for December 2023) in the
This example assumes you're familiar with PostgreSQL declarative partitioning.
By default, unless otherwise specified, tablespaces are owned by the
application user, as defined in
Bootstrap a new cluster for
This default behavior works in most microservice database use cases.
You can set the owner of a tablespace in the
owner stanza, for example
postgres user, like in the following excerpt:
If you change the ownership of a tablespace, make sure that you're using an existing role. Otherwise, the status of the cluster reports the issue and stops reconciling tablespaces until fixed. It's your responsibility to monitor the status and the log and to promptly intervene by fixing the issue.
If you define a tablespace with an owner that doesn't exist, EDB Postgres for Kubernetes can't create the tablespace and reflects this in the cluster status:
EDB Postgres for Kubernetes handles backup of tablespaces (and the relative tablespace map) both on object stores and volume snapshots.
By default, backups are taken from replica nodes. A backup taken immediately after creating tablespaces in a cluster can result in an incomplete view of the tablespaces from the replica and thus an incomplete backup. The lag will be resolved in a maximum of 5 minutes, with the next reconciliation.
Once a cluster with tablespaces has a base backup, you can restore a
new cluster from it. When it comes to the recovery side, it's your
responsibility to ensure that the
Cluster definition of the recovered
database contains the exact list of tablespaces.
Replica clusters must have the same tablespace definition as their origin.
The reason is that tablespace management commands like
are WAL logged and are replayed by any physical replication client (streaming or by way of WAL shipping).
It's your responsibility to ensure that replica clusters have the same list of tablespaces, with the same name. Storage class and size might vary.
PostgreSQL allows you to define one or more temporary tablespaces to create
temporary objects (temporary tables and indexes on temporary tables) when a
CREATE command doesn't explicitly specify a tablespace, and to create temporary
files for purposes such as sorting large data sets. When no temporary
tablespace is specified, PostgreSQL uses the default tablespace of a database, which is
currently the main
When you specify more than one temporary tablespace, PostgreSQL randomly picks one the first time a temporary object needs to be created in a transaction. Then it sequentially iterates through the list.
Temporary tablespaces also work like regular tablespaces with regard to backups.
EDB Postgres for Kubernetes provides the
.spec.tablespaces[*].temporary option to
determine whether to add a tablespace to the
PostgreSQL parameter and thus become eligible to store temporary data that
doesn't have an explicit tablespace assignment.
They can be created at initialization time or added later, requiring a
rolling update. The
temporary: true/false option adds or removes the
tablespace name to or from the list of tablespaces in the
option. This change doesn't require a restart of PostgreSQL.
Although temporary tablespaces can also work as regular tablespaces (meaning that users can also host regular data on them while using them for temporary operations), we recommend that you don't mix the two workloads.
See the PostgreSQL documentation on
The kubectl status plugin includes a section dedicated to tablespaces that offers a convenient overview, including tablespace status, owner, temporary flag, and any errors:
Currently, you can't remove tablespaces from an existing EDB Postgres for Kubernetes cluster.