tpaexec rehydrate v23

The tpaexec rehydrate command rebuilds AWS EC2 instances with an updated machine image (AMI), and allows for the rapid deployment of security patches and OS upgrades to a cluster managed by TPA.

Given a new AMI with all the required changes, this command terminates an instance, replaces it with a newly-provisioned instance that uses the new image, and attaches the data volumes from the old instance before recreating the configuration of the server exactly (based on config.yml).

Publishing up-to-date images and requiring servers to be rebuilt from scratch on a regular schedule is an alternative to allowing a fleet of servers to download and install individual security updates themselves. It makes it simpler to track the state of each server at a glance, and discourages any manual changes to individual servers (they would be wiped out during the instance replacement).

TPA makes it simple to minimise disruption to the cluster as a whole during the rehydration, even though the process must necessarily involve downtime for individual servers as they are terminated and replaced. On a streaming replication cluster, you can rehydrate the replicas first, then use tpaexec switchover to convert the primary to a replica before rehydrating it. On BDR-Always-ON clusters, you can remove each server from the haproxy server pool before rehydrating it, then add it back afterwards.

If you just want to install minor-version updates to Postgres and associated components, you can use the tpaexec upgrade command instead.


To be able to rehydrate an instance, you must specify delete_on_termination: no and attach_existing: yes for each of its data volumes in config.yml. (The new instance will necessarily have a new EBS root volume.)

By default, when you terminate an EC2 instance, the EBS volumes attached to it are also terminated. In this case, since we want to reattach them to a new instance, we must disable delete_on_termination. Setting attach_existing makes TPA search for old volumes when provisioning a new instance and, if found, attach them to the instance after it's running.

Do not stop or terminate the old instance manually; the tpaexec rehydrate command will do this after verifying that the instance can be safely rehydrated.


Let's assume you have an AWS cluster configuration in ~/clusters/night.

Change the configuration

First, you must edit config.yml and specify the new AMI. For example:

  Name: RHEL-8.3_HVM-20210209-x86_64-0-Hourly2-GP2
  Owner: '309956199498'

Check that delete_on_termination is disabled for each data volume. If the parameter is not present, you can check its value through the AWS EC2 management console. Click on 'Instances', select an instance, then open the 'Description' tab and scroll down to 'Block devices', and click on an EBS volume. If the "Delete on termination" flag is set to true, you can change it using awscli. Also check attach_existing and set it to yes if it isn't set already.

Here's an example with both attributes correctly set:

- node: 1
  Name: vlad
  role: primary
  - device_name: /dev/xvdf
    volume_type: gp2
    volume_size: 16
    attach_existing: yes
    delete_on_termination: false
      volume_for: postgres_data
      mountpoint: /var/lib/pgsql

(Note that volume parameters may be set in instance_defaults as well as under specific instances. Search for volumes: and make sure all of the relevant volumes have these two attributes set.)

Start the rehydration

Here's the syntax for the rehydrate command:

$ tpaexec rehydrate ~/clusters/night instancename

You can specify a single instance name or a comma-separated list of instance names (but you cannot rehydrate all of the instances in the cluster at once).

The command will first check that every non-root EBS volume attached to the instance (or instances) being rehydrated has the delete_on_termination flag set to false. If this is not the case, it will stop with an error before any instance is terminated.

If the volume attributes are set correctly, the command will first terminate each of the instances, then run provision and deploy to replace them with new instances using the new AMI.

Rehydrate in phases

In order to maintain cluster continuity, we recommend rehydrating the cluster in phases.

For example, in a cluster that uses streaming replication with a primary instance, two replicas, and a Barman backup server, you could rehydrate the Barman instance and one replica first, then another replica, then switchover from the primary to one of the rehydrated replicas, rehydrate the former primary, and (optionally), switchover back to the original primary. This sequence ensures that one primary and one replica are always available.


Using awscli to change volume attributes

First, find the instance and EBS volume in the AWS management console. Click on 'Instances', select an instance, open the 'Description' tab and scroll down to 'Block devices', and select an EBS volume. To disable delete_on_termination, run the following command after substituting the correct values for the --region, --instance-id, and block device name:

$ aws ec2 modify-instance-attribute \
    --region eu-west-1 --instance-id i-XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX \
    --block-device-mappings \
      '[{"DeviceName": "/dev/xvdf", "Ebs": {"DeleteOnTermination": false}}]'

Do this for each of the data volumes for the instance, and after a brief delay, you should be able to see the changes in the management console, and tpaexec rehydrate will also detect that the instance can be safely rehydrated.