EDB Postgres Distributed configuration v23

TPA can install and configure EDB Postgres Distributed (PGD), formerly known as BDR (Bi-directional replication) versions 3.7, 4.x, and 5.x.

Access to PGD packages is through EDB's package repositories only. You must have a valid EDB subscription token to download the packages.

This documentation touches on several aspects of PGD configuration, but we refer you to the PGD documentation for an authoritative description of the details.


TPA will install PGD and any dependencies on all PGD instances along with Postgres itself.

After completing the basic Postgres setup and starting Postgres, TPA will then create the bdr_database and proceed to set up a PGD cluster through the various steps described below.


TPA will install the correct PGD packages, depending on the version and flavour of Postgres in use (e.g., Postgres, Postgres Extended, or EPAS).

Set bdr_version to determine which major version of PGD to install (i.e., 3, 4, 5). Set bdr_package_version to determine which exact package to install (e.g., '5.0*' to install the latest 5.0.x).

Overview of cluster setup

After installing the required packages, configuring Postgres to load PGD, and starting the server, TPA will go on to set up PGD nodes, groups, replication sets, and other resources.

Here's a summary of the steps TPA performs:

  • Create a PGD node (using bdr.create_node()) for each participating instance

  • Create one or more PGD node groups (using bdr.create_node_group()) depending on bdr_node_groups

  • Create replication sets, if required, to control exactly which changes are replicated (depending on node group type and memberships, e.g., subscriber-only and witness nodes may need special handling)

  • Join the relevant node groups on the individual instances

  • Perform additional configuration, such as enabling subgroup RAFT or proxy routing.

(This process involves executing a complex sequence of queries, some on each instance in turn, and others in parallel. To make the steps easier to follow, TPA designates an arbitrary PGD primary instance as the "first_bdr_primary" for the cluster, and uses this instance to execute most of these queries. The instance is otherwise not special, and its identity is not significant to the PGD configuration itself.)

Instance roles

Every instance with bdr in its role is a PGD instance, and implicitly also a postgres server instance.

A PGD instance with readonly in its role is a logical standby node (which joins the PGD node group with pause_in_standby set), eligible for promotion.

A PGD instance with subscriber-only in its role is a subscriber-only node, which receives replicated changes but does not publish them.

A PGD instance with witness in its role is a witness node.

Every PGD instance described above is implicitly also a primary instance. The exception is an instance with replica in its role; that indicates a physical streaming replica of an upstream PGD instance. Such instances are not included in any recommended PGD architecture, and not currently supported by TPA.

Configuration settings

The settings mentioned below should ordinarily be set in cluster_vars, so that they are set uniformly for all the PGD instances in the cluster. You can set different values on different instances in some cases (e.g., bdr_database), but in other cases, the result is undefined (e.g., all instances must have exactly the same value of bdr_node_groups).

We strongly recommend defining your PGD configuration by setting uniform values for the whole cluster under cluster_vars.


The bdr_database (default: bdrdb) will be initialised with PGD.


The setting of bdr_node_group (default: based on the cluster name) identifies which PGD cluster an instance should be a part of. It is also used to identify a particular cluster for external components (e.g., pgd-proxy or harp-proxy).


This is a list of PGD node groups that must be created before the group join stage (if the cluster requires additional subgroups).

In general, tpaexec configure will generate an appropriate value based on the selected architecture.

  - name: topgroup
  - name: abc_subgroup
    node_group_type: data
    parent_group_name: topgroup
      location: abc

The first entry must be for the cluster's bdr_node_group.

Each subsequent entry in the list must specify a parent_group_name, and may specify the node_group_type (optional).

Each entry may also have an optional key/value mapping of group options. The available options vary by PGD version.


If bdr_child_group is set for an instance (to the name of a group that is mentioned in bdr_node_groups), it will join that group instead of bdr_node_group.


This is an optional list of commit scopes that must exist in the PGD database (available for PGD 4.1 and above).

  - name: somescope
    origin: somegroup
    rule: 'ALL (somegroup) ON received …`
  - name: otherscope
    origin: othergroup
    rule: '…'

Each entry must specify the name of the commit scope, the name of the origin group, and the commit scope rule. The groups must correspond to entries in bdr_node_groups.

If you set bdr_commit_scopes explicitly, TPA will create, alter, or drop commit scopes as needed to ensure that the database matches the configuration. If you do not set it, it will leave existing commit scopes alone.

Miscellaneous notes


TPA invokes the bdr-node-pre-creation, bdr-post-group-creation, and bdr-pre-group-join hooks during the PGD cluster setup process.

Database collations

TPA checks that the PGD database on every instance in a cluster has the same collation (LC_COLLATE) setting. Having different collations in databases in the same PGD cluster is a data loss risk.

Older versions of PGD

TPA no longer actively supports or tests the deployment of BDR v1 (with a patched version of Postgres 9.4), v2 (with Postgres 9.6), or any PGD versions below v3.7.