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Tip: How to make Rails properly handle database failovers on AWS RDS #12

crohr opened this Issue Sep 8, 2016 · 3 comments


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commented Sep 8, 2016

Problem: a client had multiple rails apps pointing to a few RDS databases, in multi-AZ mode. However, after initiating a database failover, the apps would appear to be stuck trying to reach the old database master, instead of gracefully killing the stale connection, and reconnecting.

After a few tries and a lot of digging, here is the configuration for Rails' DATABASE_URL that appears to work for our multi-AZ PostgreSQL RDS instances:


Or in a config/database.yml:

host: rds-dbhost
port: 5432
username: dbuser
password: dbpassword
database: dbname
pool: 5
encoding: unicode
reconnect: true
connect_timeout: 2
keepalives_idle: 30
keepalives_interval: 10
keepalives_count: 2
checkout_timeout: 5
reaping_frequency: 10


  • If you're not using DATABASE_URL, you can also use the same settings in your config/database.yml.
  • These settings are quite aggressive and should probably be tuned if your latency to reach your database is somewhat high.
  • Some are probably redundant/useless, or plain wrong, so let me know in the comments ;) But at least the failover is now happening in less than a minute.

Relevant documentation:

@crohr crohr added the published label Sep 8, 2016

@crohr crohr closed this Sep 8, 2016


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commented Sep 19, 2017

Came across this because I'm trying to figure out how to get ActiveRecord to reconnect after an ELB connection timeout:

This config doesn't seem to be helping for that use case. Have you ever run into that by any chance? I'm not sure how it differs from the failover case.


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commented Apr 20, 2018

We tried this config but still getting a downtime on failover. Should this be without downtime?


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commented Mar 17, 2019

Sorry to necrobump this issue but does reconnect actually do anything here? From what I can tell this is a MySQL specific configuration option.

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