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Managing pid file conflicts for multiple PostgreSQL instances

From: "Kevin Grittner" <Kevin(dot)Grittner(at)wicourts(dot)gov>
To: <pgsql-admin(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Managing pid file conflicts for multiple PostgreSQL instances
Date: 2007-09-02 17:45:14
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-admin
I ran into an issue with restarting a box after power was cycled with 72
instances of PostgreSQL running.  The problem appeared to be that the old
pid files, which PostgreSQL never got a chance to clean up, were causing
problems when the instances were started or stopped, due to reuse of the
pids by instances at different locations.  I posted on the hackers list
because I thought that there might be a way for PostgreSQL to detect this
and prevent the problems.  That is not feasible, but people offered three
suggestions for how to avoid running into the problem.  I'm posting a
summary of those solutions here on the admin list, to aid those who may
hit the issue and who may not be searching the developer archives for a
The original thread is here:
The three solutions suggested were:
(1) Run each instance under a different OS user.
(2) Set up a script to clean up old pid files when the OS is booted.
(3) Have a script which isn't normally used for managing the instances,
but only to clean up the pid files and start the instances after an abrupt
failure like a power loss.  (For example, we might do something like turn
off our existing PostgreSQL instance services under chkconfig and have a
"start-all" script to delete pid files and start the services.)
Any of the above should keep you out of trouble on a machine with multiple
PostgreSQL intances.  I do recommend that people in such a situation set
themselves up with one of these techniques before they hit a power failure
or hardware failure that might expose the issue, since it can be a little
confusing in the midst of recovery.  (Hmmm...  Maybe I'll try to find a
good place to put this information in the docs, and submit a doc patch....)

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