PostgreSQL is an advanced Object-Relational database management system
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PostgreSQL 10 SQL Database Server container image

This container image includes PostgreSQL 10 SQL database server for OpenShift and general usage. Users can choose between RHEL, CentOS and Fedora based images. The RHEL images are available in the Red Hat Container Catalog, the CentOS images are available on Docker Hub, and the Fedora images are available in Fedora Registry. The resulting image can be run using podman.

Note: while the examples in this README are calling podman, you can replace any such calls by docker with the same arguments


This container image provides a containerized packaging of the PostgreSQL postgres daemon and client application. The postgres server daemon accepts connections from clients and provides access to content from PostgreSQL databases on behalf of the clients. You can find more information on the PostgreSQL project from the project Web site (


For this, we will assume that you are using the rhscl/postgresql-10-rhel7 image, available via postgresql:10 imagestream tag in Openshift. If you want to set only the mandatory environment variables and not store the database in a host directory, execute the following command:

$ podman run -d --name postgresql_database -e POSTGRESQL_USER=user -e POSTGRESQL_PASSWORD=pass -e POSTGRESQL_DATABASE=db -p 5432:5432 rhscl/postgresql-10-rhel7

This will create a container named postgresql_database running PostgreSQL with database db and user with credentials user:pass.

Note: user postgres is reserved for internal usage

Port 5432 will be exposed and mapped to the host. If you want your database to be persistent across container executions, also add a -v /host/db/path:/var/lib/pgsql/data argument (see below). This will be the PostgreSQL database cluster directory.

The same can be achieved in an Openshift instance using templates provided by Openshift or available in examples:

$ oc process -f examples/postgresql-ephemeral-template.json -p POSTGRESQL_VERSION=10 -p POSTGRESQL_USER=user -p POSTGRESQL_PASSWORD=pass -p POSTGRESQL_DATABASE=db | oc create -f -

If the database cluster directory is not initialized, the entrypoint script will first run initdb and setup necessary database users and passwords. After the database is initialized, or if it was already present, postgres is executed and will run as PID 1. You can stop the detached container by running podman stop postgresql_database.

Environment variables and volumes

The image recognizes the following environment variables that you can set during initialization by passing -e VAR=VALUE to the Docker run command.

User name for PostgreSQL account to be created

Password for the user account

Database name

Password for the postgres admin account (optional)

Alternatively, the following options are related to migration scenario:

Hostname/IP to migrate from

Password for the remote 'postgres' admin user

Set to 'yes' to ignore sql import errors

The following environment variables influence the PostgreSQL configuration file. They are all optional.

The maximum number of client connections allowed

Sets the maximum number of transactions that can be in the "prepared" state. If you are using prepared transactions, you will probably want this to be at least as large as max_connections

Sets how much memory is dedicated to PostgreSQL to use for caching data

Set to an estimate of how much memory is available for disk caching by the operating system and within the database itself

You can also set the following mount points by passing the -v /host/dir:/container/dir:Z flag to Docker.

PostgreSQL database cluster directory

Notice: When mouting a directory from the host into the container, ensure that the mounted directory has the appropriate permissions and that the owner and group of the directory matches the user UID or name which is running inside the container.

Typically (unless you use podman run -u option) processes in container run under UID 26, so -- on GNU/Linux -- you can fix the datadir permissions for example by:

$ setfacl -m u:26:-wx /your/data/dir
$ podman run <...> -v /your/data/dir:/var/lib/pgsql/data:Z <...>

Data migration

PostgreSQL container supports migration of data from remote PostgreSQL server. You can run it like:

$ podman run -d --name postgresql_database \

The migration is done the dump and restore way (running pg_dumpall against remote cluster and importing the dump locally by psql). Because the process is streamed (unix pipeline), there are no intermediate dump files created during this process to not waste additional storage space.

If some SQL commands fail during applying, the default behavior of the migration script is to fail as well to ensure the all or nothing result of scripted, unattended migration. In most common cases, successful migration is expected (but not guaranteed!), given you migrate from a previous version of PostgreSQL server container, that is created using the same principles as this one (e.g. migration from openshift/postgresql-92-centos7 to centos/postgresql-95-centos7). Migration from a different kind of PostgreSQL container can likely fail.

If this all or nothing principle is inadequate for you, and you know what you are doing, there's optional POSTGRESQL_MIGRATION_IGNORE_ERRORS option which does best effort migration (some data might be lost, it is up to user to review the standard error output and fix the issues manually in post-migration time).

Please keep in mind that the container image provides help for users' convenience, but fully automatic migration is not guaranteed. Thus, before you start proceeding with the database migration, get prepared to perform manual steps in order to get all your data migrated.

Note that you might not use variables like POSTGRESQL_USER in migration scenario, all the data (including info about databases, roles or passwords are copied from old cluster). Ensure that you use the same OPTIONAL_CONFIGURATION_VARIABLES as you used for initialization of the old PostgreSQL container. If some non-default configuration is done on remote cluster, you might need to copy the configuration files manually, too.

Security warning: Note that the IP communication between old and new PostgreSQL clusters is not encrypted by default, it is up to user to configure SSL on remote cluster or ensure security via different means.

PostgreSQL auto-tuning

When the PostgreSQL image is run with the --memory parameter set and if there are no values provided for POSTGRESQL_SHARED_BUFFERS and POSTGRESQL_EFFECTIVE_CACHE_SIZE those values are automatically calculated based on the value provided in the --memory parameter.

The values are calculated based on the upstream formulas. For the shared_buffers we use 1/4 of given memory and for the effective_cache_size we set the value to 1/2 of the given memory.

PostgreSQL admin account

The admin account postgres has no password set by default, only allowing local connections. You can set it by setting the POSTGRESQL_ADMIN_PASSWORD environment variable when initializing your container. This will allow you to login to the postgres account remotely. Local connections will still not require a password.

Changing passwords

Since passwords are part of the image configuration, the only supported method to change passwords for the database user (POSTGRESQL_USER) and postgres admin user is by changing the environment variables POSTGRESQL_PASSWORD and POSTGRESQL_ADMIN_PASSWORD, respectively.

Changing database passwords through SQL statements or any way other than through the environment variables aforementioned will cause a mismatch between the values stored in the variables and the actual passwords. Whenever a database container starts it will reset the passwords to the values stored in the environment variables.

Upgrading database (by switching to newer PostgreSQL image version)

** Warning! Please, before you decide to do the data directory upgrade, always ensure that you've carefully backed up all your data and that you are OK with potential manual rollback! **

This image supports automatic upgrade of data directory created by the PostgreSQL server version 9.6 (and only this version) - provided by sclorg image. The upgrade process is designed so that you should be able to just switch from image A to image B, and set the $POSTGRESQL_UPGRADE variable appropriately to explicitly request the database data transformation.

The upgrade process is internally implemented via pg_upgrade binary, and for that purpose the container needs to contain two versions of PostgreSQL server (have a look at man pg_upgrade for more info).

For the pg_upgrade process - and the new server version, we need to initialize a brand new data directory. That's data directory is created automatically by container tooling under /var/lib/pgsql/data, which is usually external bind-mountpoint. The pg_upgrade execution is then similar to dump&restore approach -- it starts both old and new PostgreSQL servers (within container) and "dumps" the old datadir while and at the same time it "restores" it into new datadir. This operation requires a lot of data files copying, so you can decide what type of upgrade you'll do by setting $POSTGRESQL_UPGRADE appropriately:

The data files are copied from old datadir to new datadir. This option has low risk of data loss in case of some upgrade failure.

Data files are hard-linked from old to the new data directory, which brings performance optimization - but the old directory becomes unusable, even in case of failure.

Note that because we copy data directory, you need to make sure that you have enough space for the copy; upgrade failure because of not enough space might lead to data loss.

Extending image

This image can be extended in Openshift using the Source build strategy or via the standalone source-to-image application (where available). For this, we will assume that you are using the rhscl/postgresql-10-rhel7 image, available via postgresql:10 imagestream tag in Openshift.

For example to build customized image new-postgresql with configuration from run:

$ oc new-app postgresql:10~ \
  --name new-postgresql \
  --context-dir examples/extending-image/ \

or via s2i:

$ s2i build --context-dir examples/extending-image/ rhscl/postgresql-10-rhel7 new-postgresql

The directory passed to Openshift should contain one or more of the following directories:


Source all *.sh files from this directory during early start of the container. There's no PostgreSQL daemon running on background.


Contained configuration files (*.conf) will be included at the end of image postgresql.conf file.


Contained shell scripts (*.sh) are sourced when the database is freshly initialized (after successful initdb run which made the data directory non-empty). At the time of sourcing these scripts, the local PostgreSQL server is running. For re-deployments scenarios with persistent data directory, the scripts are not sourced (no-op).


Same sematics as postgresql-init/, except that these scripts are always sourced (after postgresql-init/ scripts, if they exist).

During the s2i build all provided files are copied into /opt/app-root/src directory in the new image. Only one file with the same name can be used for customization and user provided files are preferred over default files in /usr/share/container-scripts/- so it is possible to overwrite them.


At first the postgres daemon writes its logs to the standard output, so these are available in the container log. The log can be examined by running:

podman logs <container>

Then log output is redirected to logging collector process and will appear in directory "pg_log".

See also

Dockerfile and other sources for this container image are available on In that repository, the Dockerfile for CentOS is called Dockerfile, the Dockerfile for RHEL7 is called Dockerfile.rhel7, the Dockerfile for RHEL8 is called Dockerfile.rhel8, and the Dockerfile for Fedora is called Dockerfile.fedora.