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 for an authoritative description of the details, see the PGD documentation.

How TPA approaches PGD installation

TPA installs PGD and any dependencies on all PGD instances. It also installs Postgres.

After completing the basic Postgres setup and starting Postgres, TPA then creates bdr_database and proceeds to set up a PGD cluster using the steps that follow.


TPA installs the correct PGD packages based on the version and flavor of Postgres in use (for example, Postgres, Postgres Extended, or EDB Postgres Advanced Server).

Set bdr_version to determine the major version of PGD to install (that is, 3, 4, or 5). Set bdr_package_version to determine the package to install. For example, use 5.0* to install the latest 5.0.x package.

Overview of cluster setup

After installing the required packages, configuring Postgres to load PGD, and starting the server, TPA sets 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()) based on bdr_node_groups.

  • Create replication sets, if required, to control the changes that are replicated. This decision is based on node group type and memberships. For example, subscriber-only and witness nodes might 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 isn't significant to the PGD configuration.

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 doesn't publish them.

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

Each of these PGD instances is implicitly also a primary instance. The exception is an instance with replica in its role. That setting indicates a physical streaming replica of an upstream PGD instance. Such instances aren't included in any recommended PGD architecture and aren't currently supported by TPA.

Configuration settings

The settings that follow are ordinarily set in cluster_vars so that they're set uniformly for all the PGD instances in the cluster. You can set different values on different instances in some cases, for example, bdr_database. In other cases, though, the result is undefined. For example, 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) is initialized with PGD.


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


This setting 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 generates 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 can optionally specify the node_group_type optional.

Each entry can 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 joins that group instead of bdr_node_group.


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

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

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

If you set bdr_commit_scopes explicitly, TPA creates, alters, or drops commit scopes as needed to ensure that the database matches the configuration. If you don't set it, TPA leaves 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 risks data loss.

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 before v3.7.