Working with read replicas for Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL - Amazon Relational Database Service
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Working with read replicas for Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL

You can scale reads for your Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL DB instances by adding read replicas to the instances. As with other Amazon RDS database engines, RDS for PostgreSQL uses native replication mechanisms of PostgreSQL to keep read replicas up to date with changes on the source DB. For general information about read replicas and Amazon RDS, see Working with DB instance read replicas.

Following, you can find information specific to working with read replicas with RDS for PostgreSQL.

Logical decoding on a read replica

RDS for PostgreSQL supports logical replication from standbys with PostgreSQL 16.1. This allows you to create logical decoding from a read-only standby that reduces the load on the primary DB instance. You can achieve higher-availability for your applications that need to synchronize data across multiple systems. This feature boosts the performance of your data warehouse and data analytics.

Also, replication slots on a given standby persist the promotion of that standby to a primary. This means that in the event of a primary DB instance failover or the promotion of a standby to be the new primary, the replication slots will persist and the former standby subscribers will not be affected.

To create logical decoding on a read replica
  1. Turn on logical replication – To create logical decoding on a standby, you must turn on logical replication on your source DB instance and its physical replica. For more information, see Read replica configuration with PostgreSQL.

    • To turn on logical replication for a newly created RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance – Create a new DB custom parameter group and set the static parameter rds.logical_replication to 1. Then, associate this DB parameter group with the Source DB instance and its physical read replica. For more information, see Associating a DB parameter group with a DB instance.

    • To turn on logical replication for an existing RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance – Modify the DB custom parameter group of the source DB instance and its physical read replica to set the static parameter rds.logical_replication to 1. For more information, see Modifying parameters in a DB parameter group.

    Note

    You must reboot the DB instance to apply these parameter changes.

    You can use the following query to verify the values for wal_level and rds.logical_replication on the source DB instance and its physical read replica.

    Postgres=>SELECT name,setting FROM pg_settings WHERE name IN ('wal_level','rds.logical_replication'); name | setting -------------------------+--------- rds.logical_replication | on wal_level | logical (2 rows)
  2. Create a table in the source database – Connect to the database in your source DB instance. For more information, see Connecting to a DB instance running the PostgreSQL database engine.

    Use the following queries to create table in your source database and to insert values:

    Postgres=>CREATE TABLE LR_test (a int PRIMARY KEY); CREATE TABLE
    Postgres=>INSERT INTO LR_test VALUES (generate_series(1,10000)); INSERT 0 10000
  3. Create a publication for the source table – Use the following query to create a publication for the table on the source DB instance.

    Postgres=>CREATE PUBLICATION testpub FOR TABLE LR_test; CREATE PUBLICATION

    Use a SELECT query to verify the details of the publication that was created on both the source DB instance and the physical read replica instance.

    Postgres=>SELECT * from pg_publication; oid | pubname | pubowner | puballtables | pubinsert | pubupdate | pubdelete | pubtruncate | pubviaroot -------+---------+----------+--------------+-----------+-----------+-----------+-------------+------------ 16429 | testpub | 16413 | f | t | t | t | t | f (1 row)
  4. Create a subscription from logical replica instance – Create another RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance as the logical replica instance. Make sure that VPC is setup correctly to ensure that this logical replica instance can access the physical read replica instance. For more information, see Amazon VPC and Amazon RDS. If your source DB instance is idle, connectivity issues might occur and the primary doesn't send the data to standby.

    Postgres=>CREATE SUBSCRIPTION testsub CONNECTION 'host=Physical replica host name port=port dbname=source_db_name user=user password=password PUBLICATION testpub; NOTICE: created replication slot "testsub" on publisher CREATE SUBSCRIPTION
    Postgres=>CREATE TABLE LR_test (a int PRIMARY KEY); CREATE TABLE

    Use a SELECT query to verify the details of the subscription on the logical replica instance.

    Postgres=>SELECT oid,subname,subenabled,subslotname,subpublications FROM pg_subscription; oid | subname | subenabled | subslotname | subpublications -------+---------+------------+-------------+----------------- 16429 | testsub | t | testsub | {testpub} (1 row) postgres=> select count(*) from LR_test; count ------- 10000 (1 row)
  5. Inspect logical replication slot state – You can only see the physical replication slot on your source DB instance.

    Postgres=>select slot_name, slot_type, confirmed_flush_lsn from pg_replication_slots; slot_name | slot_type | confirmed_flush_lsn ---------------------------------------------+-----------+--------------------- rds_us_west_2_db_dhqfsmo5wbbjqrn3m6b6ivdhu4 | physical | (1 row)

    However, on your read replica instance, you can see the logical replication slot and the confirmed_flush_lsn value changes as the application actively consumes logical changes.

    Postgres=>select slot_name, slot_type, confirmed_flush_lsn from pg_replication_slots; slot_name | slot_type | confirmed_flush_lsn -----------+-----------+--------------------- testsub | logical | 0/500002F0 (1 row)
    Postgres=>select slot_name, slot_type, confirmed_flush_lsn from pg_replication_slots; slot_name | slot_type | confirmed_flush_lsn -----------+-----------+--------------------- testsub | logical | 0/5413F5C0 (1 row)

Read replica limitations with PostgreSQL

The following are limitations for PostgreSQL read replicas:

Note

A read replica for RDS for PostgreSQL Multi-AZ and Single-AZ DB instance running PostgreSQL version 12 and earlier, reboots automatically to apply the password rotation during the 60 to 90 days maintenance window.

  • PostgreSQL read replicas are read-only. Although a read replica isn't a writeable DB instance, you can promote it to become a standalone RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance. However, the process isn't reversible.

  • You can't create a read replica from another read replica if your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance is running a PostgreSQL version earlier than 14.1. RDS for PostgreSQL supports cascading read replicas on RDS for PostgreSQL version 14.1 and higher releases only. For more information, see Using cascading read replicas with RDS for PostgreSQL.

  • If you promote a PostgreSQL read replica, it becomes a writable DB instance. It stops receiving write-ahead log (WAL) files from a source DB instance, and it's no longer a read-only instance. You can create new read replicas from the promoted DB instance as you do for any RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance. For more information, see Promoting a read replica to be a standalone DB instance.

  • If you promote a PostgreSQL read replica from within a replication chain (a series of cascading read replicas), any existing downstream read replicas continue receiving WAL files from the promoted instance automatically. For more information, see Using cascading read replicas with RDS for PostgreSQL.

  • If no user transactions are running on the source DB instance, the associated PostgreSQL read replica reports a replication lag of up to five minutes. The replica lag is calculated as currentTime - lastCommitedTransactionTimestamp, which means that when no transactions are being processed, the value of replica lag increases for a period of time until the write-ahead log (WAL) segment switches. By default RDS for PostgreSQL switches the WAL segment every 5 minutes, which results in a transaction record and a decrease in the reported lag.

  • You can't turn on automated backups for PostgreSQL read replicas for RDS for PostgreSQL versions earlier than 14.1. Automated backups for read replicas are supported for RDS for PostgreSQL 14.1 and higher versions only. For RDS for PostgreSQL 13 and earlier versions, create a snapshot from a read replica if you want a backup of it.

  • Point-in-time recovery (PITR) isn't supported for read replicas. You can use PITR with a primary (writer) instance only, not a read replica. To learn more, see Restoring a DB instance to a specified time.

Read replica configuration with PostgreSQL

RDS for PostgreSQL uses PostgreSQL native streaming replication to create a read-only copy of a source DB instance. This read replica DB instance is an asynchronously created physical replica of the source DB instance. It's created by a special connection that transmits write ahead log (WAL) data from the source DB instance to the read replica. For more information, see Streaming Replication in the PostgreSQL documentation.

PostgreSQL asynchronously streams database changes to this secure connection as they're made on the source DB instance. You can encrypt communications from your client applications to the source DB instance or any read replicas by setting the ssl parameter to 1. For more information, see Using SSL with a PostgreSQL DB instance .

PostgreSQL uses a replication role to perform streaming replication. The role is privileged, but you can't use it to modify any data. PostgreSQL uses a single process for handling replication.

You can create a PostgreSQL read replica without affecting operations or users of the source DB instance. Amazon RDS sets the necessary parameters and permissions for you, on the source DB instance and the read replica, without affecting the service. A snapshot is taken of the source DB instance, and this snapshot is used to create the read replica. If you delete the read replica at some point in the future, no outage occurs.

You can create up to 15 read replicas from one source DB instance within the same Region. As of RDS for PostgreSQL 14.1, you can also create up to three levels of read replica in a chain (cascade) from a source DB instance. For more information, see Using cascading read replicas with RDS for PostgreSQL. In all cases, the source DB instance needs to have automated backups configured. You do this by setting the backup retention period on your DB instance to any value other than 0. For more information, see Creating a read replica.

You can create read replicas for your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance in the same Amazon Web Services Region as your source DB instance. This is known as in-Region replication. You can also create read replicas in different Amazon Web Services Regions than the source DB instance. This is known as cross-Region replication. For more information about setting up cross-Region read replicas, see Creating a read replica in a different Amazon Web Services Region. The various mechanisms supporting the replication process for in-Region and cross-Region differ slightly depending on the RDS for PostgreSQL version as explained in How streaming replication works for different RDS for PostgreSQL versions.

For replication to operate effectively, each read replica should have the same amount of compute and storage resources as the source DB instance. If you scale the source DB instance, be sure to also scale the read replicas.

Amazon RDS overrides any incompatible parameters on a read replica if they prevent the read replica from starting. For example, suppose that the max_connections parameter value is higher on the source DB instance than on the read replica. In that case, Amazon RDS updates the parameter on the read replica to be the same value as that on the source DB instance.

RDS for PostgreSQL read replicas have access to external databases that are available through foreign data wrappers (FDWs) on the source DB instance. For example, suppose that your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance is using the mysql_fdw wrapper to access data from RDS for MySQL. If so, your read replicas can also access that data. Other supported FDWs include oracle_fdw, postgres_fdw, and tds_fdw. For more information, see Working with the supported foreign data wrappers for Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL.

Using RDS for PostgreSQL read replicas with Multi-AZ configurations

You can create a read replica from a single-AZ or Multi-AZ DB instance. You can use Multi-AZ deployments to improve the durability and availability of critical data, with a standby replica. A standby replica is a dedicated read replica that can assume the workload if the source DB fails over. You can't use your standby replica to serve read traffic. However, you can create read replicas from high-traffic Multi-AZ DB instances to offload read-only queries. To learn more about Multi-AZ deployments, see Multi-AZ DB instance deployments.

If the source DB instance of a Multi-AZ deployment fails over to a standby, the associated read replicas switch to using the standby (now primary) as their replication source. The read replicas might need to restart, depending on the RDS for PostgreSQL version, as follows:

  • PostgreSQL 13 and higher versions – Restarting isn't required. The read replicas are automatically synchronized with the new primary. However, in some cases your client application might cache Domain Name Service (DNS) details for your read replicas. If so, set the time-to-live (TTL) value to less than 30 seconds. Doing this prevents the read replica from holding on to a stale IP address (and thus, prevents it from synchronizing with the new primary). To learn more about this and other best practices, see Amazon RDS basic operational guidelines.

  • PostgreSQL 12 and all earlier versions – The read replicas restart automatically after a fail over to the standby replica because the standby (now primary) has a different IP address and a different instance name. Restarting synchronizes the read replica with the new primary.

To learn more about failover, see Failover process for Amazon RDS. To learn more about how read replicas work in a Multi-AZ deployment, see Working with DB instance read replicas.

To provide failover support for a read replica, you can create the read replica as a Multi-AZ DB instance so that Amazon RDS creates a standby of your replica in another Availability Zone (AZ). Creating your read replica as a Multi-AZ DB instance is independent of whether the source database is a Multi-AZ DB instance.

Using cascading read replicas with RDS for PostgreSQL

As of version 14.1, RDS for PostgreSQL supports cascading read replicas. With cascading read replicas, you can scale reads without adding overhead to your source RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance. Updates to the WAL log aren't sent by the source DB instance to each read replica. Instead, each read replica in a cascading series sends WAL log updates to the next read replica in the series. This reduces the burden on the source DB instance.

With cascading read replicas, your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance sends WAL data to the first read replica in the chain. That read replica then sends WAL data to the second replica in the chain, and so on. The end result is that all read replicas in the chain have the changes from the RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance, but without the overhead solely on the source DB instance.

You can create a series of up to three read replicas in a chain from a source RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance. For example, suppose that you have an RDS for PostgreSQL 14.1 DB instance, rpg-db-main. You can do the following:

  • Starting with rpg-db-main, create the first read replica in the chain, read-replica-1.

  • Next, from read-replica-1, create the next read replica in the chain, read-replica-2.

  • Finally, from read-replica-2, create the third read replica in the chain, read-replica-3.

You can't create another read replica beyond this third cascading read replica in the series for rpg-db-main. A complete series of instances from an RDS for PostgreSQL source DB instance through to the end of a series of cascading read replicas can consist of at most four DB instances.

For cascading read replicas to work, turn on automatic backups on your RDS for PostgreSQL. Create the read replica first and then turn on automatic backups on the RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance. The process is the same as for other Amazon RDS DB engines. For more information, see Creating a read replica.

As with any read replica, you can promote a read replica that's part of a cascade. Promoting a read replica from within a chain of read replicas removes that replica from the chain. For example, suppose that you want to move some of the workload off of your rpg-db-main DB instance to a new instance for use by the accounting department only. Assuming the chain of three read replicas from the example, you decide to promote read-replica-2. The chain is affected as follows:

  • Promoting read-replica-2 removes it from the replication chain.

    • It is now a full read/write DB instance.

    • It continues replicating to read-replica-3, just as it was doing before promotion.

  • Your rpg-db-main continues replicating to read-replica-1.

For more information about promoting read replicas, see Promoting a read replica to be a standalone DB instance.

Note

For cascading read replicas, RDS for PostgreSQL supports 15 read replicas for each source DB instance at first level of replication, and 5 read replicas for each source DB instance at the second and third level of replication.

Creating cross-Region cascading read replicas with RDS for PostgreSQL

RDS for PostgreSQL supports cross-Region cascading read replicas. You can create a cross-Region replica from the source DB instance, and then create same-Region replicas from it. You can also create a same-Region replica from the source DB instance, and then create cross-Region replicas from it.

Create a cross-Region replica and then create same-Region replicas

You can use an RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance with version 14.1 or higher, rpg-db-main, to do the following:

  1. Start with rpg-db-main (US-EAST-1), create the first cross-Region read replica in the chain, read-replica-1 (US-WEST-2).

  2. Using the first cross-Region read-replica-1 (US-WEST-2), create the second read replica in the chain, read-replica-2 (US-WEST-2).

  3. Using read-replica-2, create the third read replica in the chain, read-replica-3 (US-WEST-2).

Create a same-Region replica and then create cross-Region replicas

You can use an RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance with version 14.1 or higher, rpg-db-main, to do the following:

  1. Starting with rpg-db-main (US-EAST-1), create the first read replica in the chain, read-replica-1 (US-EAST-1).

  2. Using read-replica-1 (US-EAST-1), create the first cross-Region read replica in the chain, read-replica-2 (US-WEST-2).

  3. Using read-replica-2 (US-WEST-2), create the third read replica in the chain, read-replica-3 (US-WEST-2).

Limitations in creating cross-Region read replicas
  • A cross-Region cascading chain of database replicas can span a maximum of two Regions, with a maximum of four levels. The four levels include the database source and three read replicas.

Advantages of using cascading read replicas
  • Improved read scalability – By distributing read queries across multiple replicas, cascading replication helps balance the load. This improves performance, especially in read-heavy applications, by reducing the strain on the writer database.

  • Geographical distribution – Cascading replicas can be located in different geographic locations. This reduces latency for users located far from the primary database and provides a local read replica, enhancing performance and user experience.

  • High availability and disaster recovery – In the event of a primary server failure, replicas can be promoted to primary, ensuring continuity. cascading replication further enhances this by providing multiple layers of failover options, improving the overall resilience of the system.

  • Flexibility and modular growth – As the system grows, new replicas can be added at different levels without major reconfiguration of the primary database. This modular approach allows for scalable and manageable growth of the replication setup.

For more information about the advantages of using replication, see About replication in Cloud SQL.

Best practice for using cross-Region read replicas
  • Before promoting a replica, create additional replicas. This will save time, and provide efficient handling of the workload.

How streaming replication works for different RDS for PostgreSQL versions

As discussed in Read replica configuration with PostgreSQL, RDS for PostgreSQL uses PostgreSQL's native streaming replication protocol to send WAL data from the source DB instance. It sends source WAL data to read replicas for both in-Region and cross-Region read replicas. With version 9.4, PostgreSQL introduced physical replication slots as a supporting mechanism for the replication process.

A physical replication slot prevents a source DB instance from removing WAL data before it's consumed by all read replicas. Each read replica has its own physical slot on the source DB instance. The slot keeps track of the oldest WAL (by logical sequence number, LSN) that might be needed by the replica. After all slots and DB connections have progressed beyond a given WAL (LSN), that LSN becomes a candidate for removal at the next checkpoint.

Amazon RDS uses Amazon S3 to archive WAL data. For in-Region read replicas, you can use this archived data to recover the read replica when necessary. An example of when you might do so is if the connection between source DB and read replica is interrupted for any reason.

In the following table, you can find a summary of differences between PostgreSQL versions and the supporting mechanisms for in-Region and cross-Region used by RDS for PostgreSQL.

In-Region Cross-Region
PostgreSQL 14.1 and higher versions
  • Replication slots

  • Amazon S3 archive

  • Replication slots

PostgreSQL 13 and lower versions
  • Amazon S3 archive

  • Replication slots

For more information, see Monitoring and tuning the replication process.

Understanding the parameters that control PostgreSQL replication

The following parameters affect the replication process and determine how well read replicas stay up to date with the source DB instance:

max_wal_senders

The max_wal_senders parameter specifies the maximum number of connections that the source DB instance can support at the same time over the streaming replication protocol. The default for RDS for PostgreSQL 13 and higher releases is 20. This parameter should be set to slightly higher than the actual number of read replicas. If this parameter is set too low for the number of read replicas, replication stops.

For more information, see max_wal_senders in the PostgreSQL documentation.

wal_keep_segments

The wal_keep_segments parameter specifies the number of write-ahead log (WAL) files that the source DB instance keeps in the pg_wal directory. The default setting is 32.

If wal_keep_segments isn't set to a large enough value for your deployment, a read replica can fall so far behind that streaming replication stops. If that happens, Amazon RDS generates a replication error and begins recovery on the read replica. It does so by replaying the source DB instance's archived WAL data from Amazon S3. This recovery process continues until the read replica has caught up enough to continue streaming replication. You can see this process in action as captured by the PostgreSQL log in Example: How a read replica recovers from replication interruptions.

Note

In PostgreSQL version 13, the wal_keep_segments parameter is named wal_keep_size. It serves the same purpose as wal_keep_segments, but its default value is in megabytes (MB) (2048 MB) rather than the number of files. For more information, see wal_keep_segments and wal_keep_size in the PostgreSQL documentation.

max_slot_wal_keep_size

The max_slot_wal_keep_size parameter controls the quantity of WAL data that the RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance retains in the pg_wal directory to serve slots. This parameter is used for configurations that use replication slots. The default value for this parameter is -1, meaning that there's no limit to how much WAL data is kept on the source DB instance. For information about monitoring your replication slots, see Monitoring replication slots for your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance.

For more information about this parameter, see max_slot_wal_keep_size in the PostgreSQL documentation.

Whenever the stream that provides WAL data to a read replica is interrupted, PostgreSQL switches into recovery mode. It restores the read replica by using archived WAL data from Amazon S3 or by using the WAL data associated with the replication slot. When this process is complete, PostgreSQL re-establishes streaming replication.

Example: How a read replica recovers from replication interruptions

In the following example, you find the log details that demonstrate the recovery process for a read replica. The example is from an RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance running PostgreSQL version 12.9 in the same Amazon Web Services Region as the source DB, so replication slots aren't used. The recovery process is the same for other RDS for PostgreSQL DB instances running PostgreSQL earlier than version 14.1 with in-Region read replicas.

When the read replica lost contact with the source DB instance, Amazon RDS records the issue in the log as FATAL: could not receive data from WAL stream message, along with the ERROR: requested WAL segment ... has already been removed. As shown in the bold line, Amazon RDS recovers the replica by replaying an archived WAL file.

2014-11-07 19:01:10 UTC::@:[23180]:DEBUG:  switched WAL source from archive to stream after failure 2014-11-07 19:01:10 UTC::@:[11575]:LOG: started streaming WAL from primary at 1A/D3000000 on timeline 1 2014-11-07 19:01:10 UTC::@:[11575]:FATAL: could not receive data from WAL stream: ERROR:  requested WAL segment 000000010000001A000000D3 has already been removed 2014-11-07 19:01:10 UTC::@:[23180]:DEBUG: could not restore file "00000002.history" from archive: return code 0 2014-11-07 19:01:15 UTC::@:[23180]:DEBUG: switched WAL source from stream to archive after failure recovering 000000010000001A000000D3 2014-11-07 19:01:16 UTC::@:[23180]:LOG:  restored log file "000000010000001A000000D3" from archive

When Amazon RDS replays enough archived WAL data on the replica to catch up, streaming to the read replica begins again. When streaming resumes, Amazon RDS writes an entry to the log file similar to the following.

2014-11-07 19:41:36 UTC::@:[24714]:LOG:started streaming WAL from primary at 1B/B6000000 on timeline 1

Setting the parameters that control shared memory

The parameters you set determine the size of shared memory for tracking transaction IDs, locks, and prepared transactions. The shared memory structure of a standby instance must be equal or greater than that of a primary instance. This ensures that the former doesn't run out of shared memory during recovery. If the parameter values on the replica are less than the parameter values on the primary, Amazon RDS will automatically adjust the replica parameters and restart the engine.

The parameters affected are:

  • max_connections

  • max_worker_processes

  • max_wal_senders

  • max_prepared_transactions

  • max_locks_per_transaction

To avoid RDS reboots of replicas due to insufficient memory, we recommend applying the parameter changes as a rolling reboot to each replica. You must apply the following rules, when you set the parameters:

  • Increasing the parameter values:

    • You should always increase the parameter values of all the read replicas first, and perform a rolling reboot of all replicas. Then, apply the parameter changes on the primary instance and reboot.

  • Decreasing the parameter values:

    • You should first decrease the parameter values of the primary instance and perform a reboot. Then, apply the parameter changes to all the associated read replicas and perform a rolling reboot.

Monitoring and tuning the replication process

We strongly recommend that you routinely monitor your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance and read replicas. You need to ensure that your read replicas are keeping up with changes on the source DB instance. Amazon RDS transparently recovers your read replicas when interruptions to the replication process occur. However, it's best to avoid needing to recover at all. Recovering using replication slots is faster than using the Amazon S3 archive, but any recovery process can affect read performance.

To determine how well your read replicas are keeping up with the source DB instance, you can do the following:

  • Check the amount of ReplicaLag between source DB instance and replicas. Replica lag is the amount of time, in seconds, that a read replica lags behind its source DB instance. This metric reports the result of the following query.

    SELECT extract(epoch from now() - pg_last_xact_replay_timestamp()) AS "ReplicaLag";

    Replica lag is an indication of how well a read replica is keeping up with the source DB instance. It's the amount of latency between the source DB instance and a specific read instance. A high value for replica lag can indicate a mismatch between the DB instance classes or storage types (or both) used by the source DB instance and its read replicas. The DB instance class and storage types for DB source instance and all read replicas should be the same.

    Replica lag can also be the result of intermittent connection issues. You can monitor replication lag in Amazon CloudWatch by viewing the Amazon RDS ReplicaLag metric. To learn more about ReplicaLag and other metrics for Amazon RDS, see Amazon CloudWatch metrics for Amazon RDS.

  • Check the PostgreSQL log for information you can use to adjust your settings. At every checkpoint, the PostgreSQL log captures the number of recycled transaction log files, as shown in the following example.

    2014-11-07 19:59:35 UTC::@:[26820]:LOG:  checkpoint complete: wrote 376 buffers (0.2%); 0 transaction log file(s) added, 0 removed, 1 recycled; write=35.681 s, sync=0.013 s, total=35.703 s; sync files=10, longest=0.013 s, average=0.001 s

    You can use this information to figure out how many transaction files are being recycled in a given time period. You can then change the setting for wal_keep_segments if necessary. For example, suppose that the PostgreSQL log at checkpoint complete shows 35 recycled for a 5-minute interval. In this case, the wal_keep_segments default value of 32 isn't sufficient to keep pace with the streaming activity, so you should increase the value of this parameter.

  • Use Amazon CloudWatch to monitor metrics that can predict replication issues. Rather than analyzing the PostgreSQL log directly, you can use Amazon CloudWatch to check metrics that have been collected. For example, you can check the value of the TransactionLogsGeneration metric to see how much WAL data is being generated by the source DB instance. In some cases, the workload on your DB instance might generate a large amount of WAL data. If so, you might need to change the DB instance class for your source DB instance and read replicas. Using an instance class with high (10 Gbps) network performance can reduce replica lag.

Monitoring replication slots for your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instance

All versions of RDS for PostgreSQL use replication slots for cross-Region read replicas. RDS for PostgreSQL 14.1 and higher versions use replication slots for in-Region read replicas. In-region read replicas also use Amazon S3 to archive WAL data. In other words, if your DB instance and read replicas are running PostgreSQL 14.1 or higher, replication slots and Amazon S3 archives are both available for recovering the read replica. Recovering a read replica using its replication slot is faster than recovering from Amazon S3 archive. So, we recommend that you monitor the replication slots and related metrics.

You can view the replication slots on your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instances by querying the pg_replication_slots view, as follows.

postgres=> SELECT * FROM pg_replication_slots; slot_name | plugin | slot_type | datoid | database | temporary | active | active_pid | xmin | catalog_xmin | restart_lsn | confirmed_flush_lsn | wal_status | safe_wal_size | two_phase ---------------------------+--------+-----------+--------+----------+-----------+--------+------------+------+--------------+-------------+---------------------+------------+---------------+----------- rds_us_west_1_db_555555555 | | physical | | | f | t | 13194 | | | 23/D8000060 | | reserved | | f (1 row)

The wal_status of reserved value means that the amount of WAL data held by the slot is within the bounds of the max_wal_size parameter. In other words, the replication slot is properly sized. Other possible status values are as follows:

  • extended – The slot exceeds the max_wal_size setting, but the WAL data is retained.

  • unreserved – The slot no longer has the all required WAL data. Some of it will be removed at the next checkpoint.

  • lost – Some required WAL data has been removed. The slot is no longer usable.

The unreserved and lost states of the wal_status are seen only when max_slot_wal_keep_size is non-negative.

The pg_replication_slots view shows you the current state of your replication slots. To assess the performance of your replication slots, you can use Amazon CloudWatch and monitor the following metrics:

  • OldestReplicationSlotLag – Lists the slot that has the most lag, that is the one that's furthest behind the primary. This lag can be associated with the read replica but also the connection.

  • TransactionLogsDiskUsage – Shows how much storage is being used for WAL data. When a read replica lags significantly, the value of this metric can increase substantially.

To learn more about using Amazon CloudWatch and its metrics for RDS for PostgreSQL, see Monitoring Amazon RDS metrics with Amazon CloudWatch. For more information about monitoring streaming replication on your RDS for PostgreSQL DB instances, see Best practices for Amazon RDS PostgreSQL replication on the Amazon Database Blog.

Troubleshooting for RDS for PostgreSQL read replica

Following, you can find troubleshooting ideas for some common RDS for PostgreSQL read replica issues.

Terminate the query that causes the read replica lag

Transactions either in active or idle in transaction state that are running for a long time in the database might interfere with the WAL replication process, thereby increasing the replication lag. Therefore, be sure to monitor the runtime of these transactions with the PostgreSQL pg_stat_activity view.

Run a query on the primary instance similar to the following to find the process ID (PID) of the query that's running for a long time:

SELECT datname, pid,usename, client_addr, backend_start, xact_start, current_timestamp - xact_start AS xact_runtime, state, backend_xmin FROM pg_stat_activity WHERE state='active';
SELECT now() - state_change as idle_in_transaction_duration, now() - xact_start as xact_duration,* FROM pg_stat_activity WHERE state = 'idle in transaction' AND xact_start is not null ORDER BY 1 DESC;

After identifying the PID of the query, you can choose to end the query.

Run a query on the primary instance similar to the following to terminate the query that's running for a long time:

SELECT pg_terminate_backend(PID);