Moving a PostgreSQL Server

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Preface

At some point you may need to upsize your PostgreSQL server, particular if you have implemented one on a old Raspberry Pi. This article discusses moving your server to a new home.

Create the New Server

Before you can move the old data to a new server, you need a new server. The PiSQL article is mostly applicable (although you will do your initial base OS configuration different than from a Raspberry Pi setup) if you are using Debian or Ubuntu to host the new server, so use that, or the guide of your choice, to stand up a new PostgreSQL server.

Transfer the Old Server’s Data to the New

Stop All Services That Use the Old Server

This could involve multiple hosts, but we don’t want new data to be written to server as it will be lost.

Dump the Old Data

On the old server:

  1. sudo su -
  2. Change to a directory with a large amount of space.
  3. sudo -u postgres pg_dumpall -c --if-exists >oldpgdata.sql

Copy the Old Data to the New Sever

Copy the file oldpgdata.sql to the new server.

‘Restore’ the Data Into the New Server

sudo -u postgres psql -f oldpgdata.sql postgres 2>&1 | tee restore.log

Check the restore.log for any relevant errors (non-existing databases to drop, ‘postgres’, and ‘template1’ already existing are expected). If there are none, you should be able use the databases.

Use the New Server

Point your existing services at the new server instead of the old.

Configure Backups

As usual, configure backups of the databases (see PiSQL guide, for example).

Decommission Old Server

You should now be able to shut down the older server for good.

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