Limitations and restrictions

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Superuser is required

Currently pglogical replication and administration requires superuser privileges. It may be later extended to more granular privileges.

UNLOGGED and TEMPORARY not replicated

UNLOGGED and TEMPORARY tables will not and cannot be replicated, much like with physical streaming replication.

One database at a time

To replicate multiple databases you must set up individual provider/subscriber relationships for each. There is no way to configure replication for all databases in a PostgreSQL install at once.

PRIMARY KEY or REPLICA IDENTITY required

UPDATEs and DELETEs cannot be replicated for tables that lack a PRIMARY KEY or other valid replica identity such as using an index, which must be unique, not partial, not deferrable, and include only columns marked NOT NULL. Replication has no way to find the tuple that should be updated/deleted since there is no unique identifier. REPLICA IDENTITY FULL is not supported yet.

Only one unique index/constraint/PK

If more than one upstream is configured or the downstream accepts local writes then only one UNIQUE index should be present on downstream replicated tables. Conflict resolution can only use one index at a time so conflicting rows may ERROR if a row satisfies the PRIMARY KEY but violates a UNIQUE constraint on the downstream side. This will stop replication until the downstream table is modified to remove the violation.

It's fine to have extra unique constraints on an upstream if the downstream only gets writes from that upstream and nowhere else. The rule is that the downstream constraints must not be more restrictive than those on the upstream(s).

Partial secondary unique indexes are permitted, but will be ignored for conflict resolution purposes.

Unique constraints must not be deferrable

On the downstream end pglogical does not support index-based constraints defined as DEFERRABLE. It will emit the error

ERROR: pglogical doesn't support index rechecks needed for deferrable indexes
DETAIL: relation "public"."test_relation" has deferrable indexes: "index1", "index2"

if such an index is present when it attempts to apply changes to a table.

DDL

Automatic DDL replication is not supported. Managing DDL so that the provider and subscriber database(s) remain compatible is the responsibility of the user.

pglogical provides the pglogical.replicate_ddl_command function to allow DDL to be run on the provider and subscriber at a consistent point.

No replication queue flush

There's no support for freezing transactions on the master and waiting until all pending queued xacts are replayed from slots. Support for making the upstream read-only for this will be added in a future release.

This means that care must be taken when applying table structure changes. If there are committed transactions that aren't yet replicated and the table structure of the provider and subscriber are changed at the same time in a way that makes the subscriber table incompatible with the queued transactions replication will stop.

Administrators should either ensure that writes to the master are stopped before making schema changes, or use the pglogical.replicate_ddl_command function to queue schema changes so they're replayed at a consistent point on the replica.

Once multi-master replication support is added then using pglogical.replicate_ddl_command will not be enough, as the subscriber may be generating new xacts with the old structure after the schema change is committed on the publisher. Users will have to ensure writes are stopped on all nodes and all slots are caught up before making schema changes.

FOREIGN KEYS

Foreign keys constraints are not enforced for the replication process - what succeeds on provider side gets applied to subscriber even if the FOREIGN KEY would be violated.

TRUNCATE

Using TRUNCATE ... CASCADE will only apply the CASCADE option on the provider side.

(Properly handling this would probably require the addition of ON TRUNCATE CASCADE support for foreign keys in PostgreSQL).

TRUNCATE ... RESTART IDENTITY is not supported. The identity restart step is not replicated to the replica.

Sequences

The state of sequences added to replication sets is replicated periodically and not in real-time. Dynamic buffer is used for the value being replicated so that the subscribers actually receive future state of the sequence. This minimizes the chance of subscriber's notion of sequence's last_value falling behind but does not completely eliminate the possibility.

It might be desirable to call synchronize_sequence to ensure all subscribers have up to date information about given sequence after "big events" in the database such as data loading or during the online upgrade.

It's generally recommended to use bigserial and bigint types for sequences on multi-node systems as smaller sequences might reach end of the sequence space fast.

Users who want to have independent sequences on provider and subscriber can avoid adding sequences to replication sets and create sequences with step interval equal to or greater than the number of nodes. And then setting a different offset on each node. Use the INCREMENT BY option for CREATE SEQUENCE or ALTER SEQUENCE, and use setval(...) to set the start point.

Triggers

Apply process and the initial COPY process both run with session_replication_role set to replica which means that ENABLE REPLICA and ENABLE ALWAYS triggers will be fired.

PostgreSQL Version differences

PGLogical can replicate across PostgreSQL major versions. Despite that, long term cross-version replication is not considered a design target, though it may often work. Issues where changes are valid on the provider but not on the subscriber are more likely to arise when replicating across versions.

It is safer to replicate from an old version to a newer version since PostgreSQL maintains solid backward compatibility but only limited forward compatibility. Initial schema synchronization is only supported when replicating between same version of PostgreSQL or from lower version to higher version.

Replicating between different minor versions makes no difference at all.

Database encoding differences

PGLogical does not support replication between databases with different encoding. We recommend using UTF-8 encoding in all replicated databases.

Large objects

PostgreSQL's logical decoding facility does not support decoding changes to large objects, so pglogical cannot replicate large objects.

Postgres-XL

Minimum supported version of Postgres-XL is 9.5r1.5.

Postgres-XL is only supported as subscriber (cannot be a provider). For workloads with many small transactions the performance of replication may suffer due to increased write latency. On the other hand large insert (or bulkcopy) transactions are heavily optimized to work very fast with Postgres-XL.

Also any DDL limitations apply so extra care need to be taken when using replicate_ddl_command().

Postgres-XL changes defaults and available settings for pglogical.conflict_resolution and pglogical.use_spi configuration options.


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