A Puppet Module for Backing Up / Maintaining / Tuning Your Puppet Enterprise Databases




3,361 latest version

5.0 quality score

Version information

  • 1.1.0 (latest)
  • 1.0.1
  • 1.0.0
released Aug 7th 2020
This version is compatible with:
  • Puppet Enterprise 2021.1.x, 2021.0.x, 2019.8.x, 2019.7.x, 2019.5.x, 2019.4.x, 2019.3.x, 2019.2.x, 2019.1.x, 2019.0.x, 2018.1.x
  • Puppet >= 5.5.0
  • RedHat

Start using this module


puppetlabs/pe_databases — version 1.1.0 Aug 7th 2020

Table of Contents


This module provides tuning, maintenance, and backups for PE PostgreSQL.

What does this module provide?

By default you get the following:

  1. Customized settings for PE PostgreSQL
  2. Maintenance to keep the pe-puppetdb database lean and fast
  3. Backups for all PE PostgreSQL databases
  • The pe-puppetdb database is backed up every week
  • Other databases are backed up every night


In order to use this module, classify the node running PE PostgreSQL with the pe_databases class. That node is the Primary Master in a Monolithic installation, or the PE PuppetDB host in a Split install.

To classify via the PE Console, create a new node group called "PE Database Maintenance". Then pin the node running pe-postgresql to that node group. It is not recommended to classify using a pre-existing node group in the PE Console.

Items you may want to configure

Backup Schedule

You can modify the default backup schedule by provide an array of hashes that describes the databases to backup and their backup schedule. Please refer to the hieradata_examples directory of this repository for examples.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you change the default schedule, it will stop managing the associated crontab entries, and there's not a clean way to automatically remove unmanaged crontab entries. So you should delete all pe-postgres crontab entries via crontab -r -u pe-postgres and let Puppet repopulate them if you change the default schedule. Otherwise, you will create duplicate backups.

Backup Retention Policy

By default, the backup script will retain two backups for each database. When the backup script runs, it will remove the older of the two backups before starting the backup itself. You can configure the retention policy by setting pe_databases::backup::retention_policy: <NUMBER_OF_BACKUPS_TO_RETAIN>.

Disable Maintenance

The maintenance cron jobs will perform a VACUUM FULL on various pe-puppetdb tables to keep them lean and fast. A VACUUM FULL is a blocking operation and you will see the PuppetDB command queue grow while the cron jobs run. The blocking should be short lived and the PuppetDB command queue should work itself down after, however, if for some reason you experience issues you can disable the maintenance cron jobs. You can do so by setting pe_databases::maintenance::disable_maintenance: true in your hieradata.

With PE 2018.1.7 and 2019.0.2 and newer, this module uses pg_repack which does not block.

General PostgreSQL Recommendations


Under normal operating conditions, there is very little tuning needed for PE PostgreSQL.

If you are using a Monolithic installation of Puppet Enterprise then the default settings are well-tuned. If you are using a dedicated node for PE PostgreSQL, then some of the settings can be tuned upwards, but likely with little difference in performance.

This module attempts to provide default settings that accommodate both a Monolithic install and a dedicated PE PostgreSQL instance. Those defaults change based on the $all_in_one_pe parameter.


This is the documentation for Pupet Enterprise backups:

This module provides an alternative to backup just the PE PostgreSQL databases.

It is recommended that you backup each database individually so that if you have an issue with one database you do not have to restore all databases.

Under ideal conditions you would backup all databases daily, however, backing up large databases such as pe-puppetdb, results in excessive disk I/O so you may prefer to backup pe-puppetdb weekly while backing up the rest of the smaller databases daily.

The choice to backup pe-puppetdb more frequently should be based on the business needs.

This module provides a script for backing up PE PostgreSQL databases and two default cron jobs: one weekly to back up the pe-puppetdb database, and one daily to backup every database except pe-puppetdb.


This module provides cron jobs to VACUUM FULL tables in the pe-puppetdb database:

  • facts tables are VACUUMed Tuesdays and Saturdays at 4:30AM
  • catalogs tables are VACUUMed Sundays and Thursdays at 4:30AM
  • other tables are VACUUMed on the 20th of the month at 5:30AM

Note: You may be able to improve the performance (reduce time to completion) of maintenance tasks by increasing the maintenance_work_mem setting.

With PE 2018.1.7 and 2019.0.2 and newer, this module uses pg_repack instead of VACUUM FULL.


Generally speaking, PostgreSQL keeps itself in good shape with a process called auto vacuuming. This is enabled by default and tuned for Puppet Enterprise out of the box.

Note that there is a difference between VACUUM and VACUUM FULL. VACUUM FULL rewrites a table on disk while VACUUM simply marks deleted row so the space that row occupied can be used for new data.

VACUUM FULL is generally not necessary, and if run too-frequently can cause excessive disk I/O. However, in the case of pe-puppetdb the way it constantly receives and updates data causes bloat, and it is beneficial to VACUUM FULL the facts and catalogs tables every few days. We, however, do not recommend a VACUUM FULL on the reports or resource_events tables as they are large and VACUUM FULL may cause extended downtime.


Reindexing is also a prudent exercise. It may not be necessary very often, but doing every month or so can definitely prevent performance issues in the long run. In the scope of what this module provides, a VACUUM FULL will rewrite the table and all of its indexes so tables are reindexed during the VACUUM FULL maintenance cron jobs. That only leaves the reports and resource_events tables to be reindexed. Unfortunately, the most common place to get a DEADLOCK error mentioned below is when reindexing the reports table.

Reindexing is a blocking operation. While an index is rebuilt, the data in the table cannot change and other operations have to wait for the rebuild to complete. If you don’t have a large installation or you have a lot of memory or fast storage, you may be able to complete a reindex while your Puppet Enterprise installation is up. PuppetDB will backup commands in its command queue and the PE Console may throw errors about not being able to load data. After the reindex is complete, the PuppetDB command queue will be processed and the PE Console will work as expected.

In some cases, you cannot complete a reindex while the Puppet Enterprise services are trying to use the database. You may receive a DEADLOCK error because the table that is supposed to be reindexed has too many requests on it and the reindex command cannot complete. In these cases you need to stop the Puppet Enterprise services, run the reindex, and then start the Puppet Enterprise services again. If you are getting a DEADLOCK error you can reduce the frequency of reindexing, the most important times to reindex are when you add new nodes, so reindexing is more important early in your PE installation when you are adding new nodes but less important to do frequently when you are in a steady state.

With PE 2018.1.7 and 2019.0.2 and newer, this module uses pg_repack instead of VACUUM FULL.

PostgreSQL Settings


You can improve the speed of vacuuming, reindexing, and backups by increasing this setting. Consider a table that is 1GB. If maintenance_work_mem is 256MB, then to perform operations on the table a quarter of it will be read into memory, operated on, then written out to disk, and then that will repeat three more times. If maintenance_work_mem is 1GB then the entire table can be read into memory, operated on, then written out to disk.

Note: that each autovacuum worker can use up to this much memory, if you do not set autovacuum_work_mem as well.


Puppet Enterprise ships with a default work_mem of 4MB. For most installations, this is all that is needed, however, at a larger scale you may need to increase to 8MB or 16MB. One way to know if you need more work_mem is to change the log_temp_files setting to 0 which will log all temporary files created by PostgreSQL. When you see a lot of temporary files being logged over the work_mem threshold then it’s time to consider increasing work_mem, however, you should first run a REINDEX and VACUUM ANALYZE to see if that reduces the number of temporary files being logged.

Another way to determine the need for an increase in work_mem is to get the query plan from a slow running query (accomplished by adding EXPLAIN ANALYZE to the beginning of the query). Query plans that have something like Sort Method: external merge Disk in them indicate a possible need for for more work_mem.

This is discussed on the Tuning Your PostgreSQL Server Wiki


This setting is essentially maintenance_work_mem but for autovacuum processes only. Usually you will set maintenance_work_mem higher and this lower, since autovacuum_work_mem is used by autovacuum_max_workers number of autovacuum processes.


The larger your database the more autovacuum workers you may need. The default of 3 is reasonable for most small or medium installations of Puppet Enterprise. When you’re tracking the size of your database tables and indexes and you notice some of them seem to keep getting larger then you might need more autovacuum workers.

If you’ve installed PE PostgreSQL on its own node, then we recommend CPU / 2 as a default for this setting (with a maximum of 8). For a Monolithic installation, increasing this setting means you likely need to compensate by reducing other settings that may cause your CPU to be over-subscribed during a peak. Those settings would be PuppetDB Command Processing Threads and Puppet Server JRuby Instances.

checkpoint_segments and checkpoint_completion_target

We suggest a middle ground of 128 for checkpoint_segments and .9 for checkpoint_completion_target. As mentioned in the PostgreSQL Wiki, the larger value you use for checkpoint_segments affords you better performance but you sacrifice in potential recovery time.

If you see messages like “LOG: checkpoints are occurring too frequently (xx seconds apart)” then you definitely want to increase your checkpoint_segments.