1. Sean Escriva
  2. hw-postgresql




Installs and configures PostgreSQL as a client or a server.



  • Debian, Ubuntu
  • Red Hat/CentOS/Scientific (6.0+ required) - "EL6-family"
  • Fedora
  • SUSE

Tested on:

  • Ubuntu 10.04, 11.10, 12.04
  • Red Hat 6.1, Scientific 6.1, CentOS 6.3


Requires Opscode's openssl cookbook for secure password generation.

Requires a C compiler and development headers in order to build the pg RubyGem to provide Ruby bindings in the ruby recipe.

Opscode's build-essential cookbook provides this functionality on Debian, Ubuntu, and EL6-family.

While not required, Opscode's database cookbook contains resources and providers that can interact with a PostgreSQL database. This cookbook is a dependency of database.


The following attributes are set based on the platform, see the attributes/default.rb file for default values.

  • node['postgresql']['version'] - version of postgresql to manage
  • node['postgresql']['dir'] - home directory of where postgresql data and configuration lives.

  • node['postgresql']['client']['packages'] - An array of package names that should be installed on "client" systems.

  • node['postgresql']['server']['packages'] - An array of package names that should be installed on "server" systems.

The following attributes are generated in recipe[postgresql::server].

  • node['postgresql']['password']['postgres'] - randomly generated password by the openssl cookbook's library.


The postgresql.conf and pg_hba.conf files are dynamically generated from attributes. Each key in node['postgresql']['config'] is a postgresql configuration directive, and will be rendered in the config file. For example, the attribute:

node['postgresql']['config']['listen_address'] = 'localhost'

Will result in the following line in the postgresql.conf file:

listen_address = 'localhost'

The attributes file contains default values for Debian and RHEL platform families (per the node['platform_family']). These defaults have disparity between the platforms because they were originally extracted from the postgresql.conf files in the previous version of this cookbook, which differed in their default config. The resulting configuration files will be the same as before, but the content will be dynamically rendered from the attributes. The helpful commentary will no longer be present. You should consult the PostgreSQL documentation for specific configuration details.

For values that are "on" or "off", they should be specified as literal true or false. String values will be used with single quotes. Any configuration option set to the literal nil will be skipped entirely. All other values (e.g., numeric literals) will be used as is. So for example:

node.default['postgresql']['config']['logging_collector'] = true
node.default['postgresql']['config']['datestyle'] = 'iso, mdy'
node.default['postgresql']['config']['ident_file'] = nil
node.default['postgresql']['config']['port] = 5432

Will result in the following config lines:

logging_collector = 'on'
datestyle = 'iso,mdy'
port = 5432

(no line printed for ident_file as it is nil)

The pg_hba.conf file is dynamically generated from the node['postgresql']['pg_hba'] attribute. This attribute must be an array of hashes, each hash containing the authorization data. As it is an array, you can append to it in your own recipes. The hash keys in the array must be symbols. Each hash will be written as a line in pg_hba.conf. For example, this entry from node['postgresql']['pg_hba']:

{:type => 'local', :db => 'all', :user => 'postgres', :addr => nil, :method => 'ident'}

Will result in the following line in pg_hba.conf:

local all postgres  ident

Use nil if the CIDR-ADDRESS should be empty (as above).



Includes the client recipe.


Installs the packages defined in the node['postgresql']['client']['packages'] attribute.


NOTE This recipe may not currently work when installing Chef with the "Omnibus" full stack installer on some platforms due to an incompatibility with OpenSSL. See COOK-1406. You can build from source into the Chef omnibus installation to work around this issue.

Install the pg gem under Chef's Ruby environment so it can be used in other recipes. The build-essential packages and postgresql client packages will be installed during the compile phase, so that the native extensions of pg can be compiled.


Includes the server_debian or server_redhat recipe to get the appropriate server packages installed and service managed. Also manages the configuration for the server:

  • generates a strong default password (via openssl) for postgres
  • sets the password for postgres
  • manages the postgresql.conf file.
  • manages the pg_hba.conf file.


Installs the postgresql server packages and sets up the service. You should include the postgresql::server recipe, which will include this on Debian platforms.


Manages the postgres user and group (with UID/GID 26, per RHEL package conventions), installs the postgresql server packages, initializes the database, and manages the postgresql service. You should include the postgresql::server recipe, which will include this on RHEL/Fedora platforms.


See the database for resources and providers that can be used for managing PostgreSQL users and databases.


On systems that need to connect to a PostgreSQL database, add to a run list recipe[postgresql] or recipe[postgresql::client].

On systems that should be PostgreSQL servers, use recipe[postgresql::server] on a run list. This recipe does set a password and expect to use it. It performs a node.save when Chef is not running in solo mode. If you're using chef-solo, you'll need to set the attribute node['postgresql']['password']['postgres'] in your node's json_attribs file or in a role.

On Debian family systems, SSL will be enabled, as the packages on Debian/Ubuntu also generate the SSL certificates. If you use another platform and wish to use SSL in postgresql, then generate your SSL certificates and distribute them in your own cookbook, and set the node['postgresql']['config']['ssl'] attribute to true in your role/cookboook/node.

Chef Solo Note

The following node attribute is stored on the Chef Server when using chef-client. Because chef-solo does not connect to a server or save the node object at all, to have the password persist across chef-solo runs, you must specify them in the json_attribs file used. For Example:

  "postgresql": {
    "password": {
      "postgres": "iloverandompasswordsbutthiswilldo"
  "run_list": ["recipe[postgresql::server]"]

License and Author

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.