Automatic PostgreSQL Upgrades with Docker and pgautoupgrade

Streamlining PostgreSQL Upgrades with Docker and pgautoupgrade


Upgrading PostgreSQL databases in Docker environments can be a daunting task, often requiring meticulous manual steps to ensure data integrity and minimize downtime. The pgautoupgrade Docker image offers an automated solution, simplifying the process and reducing potential errors.

1. Introduction to pgautoupgrade

The pgautoupgrade image automatically detects and upgrades the PostgreSQL version used in your data directory. After upgrading, it starts the PostgreSQL server, ensuring a seamless transition.

2. Getting Started with pgautoupgrade

To begin using pgautoupgrade, you'll need to update your Docker Compose configuration.

2.1 Basic Docker Compose Configuration

Modify your docker-compose.yml file to include the pgautoupgrade image:

    image: "pgautoupgrade/pgautoupgrade:latest"
      - postgres_data:/var/lib/postgresql/data/

2.2 Using a Specific PostgreSQL Version

For a specific PostgreSQL version, use a version tag:

    image: "pgautoupgrade/pgautoupgrade:15-alpine"
      - postgres_data:/var/lib/postgresql/data/
      POSTGRES_PASSWORD: mysecretpassword

This example uses PostgreSQL 15 on Alpine Linux.

3. One Shot Mode

If you just want to perform the upgrade without starting PostgreSQL afterwards, then you can use "One Shot" mode.

To use One Shot mode, add the PGAUTO_ONESHOT environment variable set to yes when running the container:

$ docker run --name pgauto -it \
	--mount type=bind,source=/path/to/your/database/directory,target=/var/lib/postgresql/data \
	-e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=password \

4. Key Features of pgautoupgrade

pgautoupgrade offers several valuable features for managing PostgreSQL upgrades in Docker environments:

  1. Automated Upgrades: Automatically upgrades PostgreSQL versions, reducing manual intervention.
  2. Compatibility: Supports multiple PostgreSQL versions, ensuring flexibility in deployment.
  3. One-Shot Mode: Allows for upgrade-only runs without starting PostgreSQL, useful for testing and validation.

5. Usage Considerations and Best Practices

When using pgautoupgrade, keep these considerations in mind:

  • Backups: Always ensure you have a backup before performing upgrades to safeguard against potential data loss.
  • Testing: Utilize the provided testing scripts to validate the upgrade process in a controlled environment.

6. Conclusion

By leveraging pgautoupgrade, developers can streamline the PostgreSQL upgrade process within Docker, enhancing efficiency and reliability. This tool is particularly valuable for environments where maintaining up-to-date database versions is critical without compromising operational stability.

For detailed instructions and advanced usage, visit the pgautoupgrade GitHub repository.