Managing PostgreSQL versions

Usually, we are shipping three versions of PostgreSQL. We need to support running on all versions, as well as upgrading from the older versions to the newest.

Software definitions

The software definitions are in:

  • config/software/postgresql_old.rb
  • config/software/postgresql.rb
  • config/software/postgresql_new.rb

Default version

The version that should be installed by default is controlled by using the ‘link bin files’ step. The software definition with this step will be used on a new installation.


The gitlab-ctl pg-upgrade command is used to upgrade from postgresql_old or postgresql to postgresql_new. See our documentation for how to use it

Automatic upgrades

The gitlab-ctl pg-upgrade command is run on every upgrade. The default version used in the upgrade and revert command need to changed when wanting to change with PostgreSQL version gets automatically upgraded to during install.

Removing an older version

When it is time to remove an older version, perform the following steps:

  1. Run git rm config/software/postgresql_old.rb
  2. Run git mv config/software/postgresql{,_old}.rb
  3. Edit config/software/postgresql_old.rb and change name from postgresql to postgresql_old
  4. Run git mv config/software/postgresql{_new,}.rb
  5. Edit config/software/postgresql.rb and change name from postgresql_new to postgresql

Adding a new version

We currently support shipping three versions:

  1. Run git cp config/software/postgresql{,_new}.rb
  2. Edit config/software/postgresql_new.rb. Update:

    1. name to postgresql_new
    2. default_version to the new version
    3. version to have the new version, and the sha256
    4. major_version if necessary

Additionally, ensure that:

  1. The package build includes both versions of PostgreSQL
  2. Running gitlab-ctl pg-upgrade works

The case of libpq

Some modules, including pyscopg2, depend on PostgreSQL client library, i.e. libpq. It should be always linked to the latest bundled version. By using the latest version we rely on backward compatibility of libpq.