Perl script to assist with autofailover, failover and switchover of Slony-I replication sets in PostgreSQL.
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#Slony-I Failover / Switchover

Perl script to assist with performing switchover and failover of replication sets in PostgreSQL databases replicated using Slony-I.

The script can be run in interactive mode to suggest switchover or failover and will create a slonik script to perform the suggested action.

It's hard to put together a script for all situations as different Slony configurations can have different complexities (hence the existence of slonik), but this script is intended to be used for building and running slonik scripts to move all sets from one node to another.

There is also an autofailover mode which will sit and poll each node and perform a failover of failed nodes. This mode should be assumed as experimental, as there can be quite a few decisions to be made when failing over different setups.

##Example usage

Launch interactive mode with command line parameters:

$ ./ -h localhost -db TEST -cl test_replication

Launch with configuration file, a minimal configuration file would be:

slony_database_host = localhost
slony_database_name = TEST
slony_cluster_name = test_replication
$ ./ -f slony_failover.conf

Run as a daemon in debian:

$ sudo cp init.debian /etc/init.d/slony_failover
$ cp slony_failover.conf /var/slony/slony_failover/slony_failover.conf
$ sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/slony_failover
$ sudo update-rc.d slony_failover start 99 2 3 4 5 . stop 24 0 1 6 
$ sudo invoke-rc.d slony_failover start

##Command line parameters

$ ./ [options]
Switch Description
-f Read all configuration from config file
-h Host running PostgreSQL instance to read state of Slony-I cluster from
-p Port of above PostgreSQL database instance
-db Name of above PostgreSQL database instance
-cl Name of Slony-I cluster
-u User to connect to above PostgreSQL database instance
-P Password for above user (Use .pgpass instead where possible)
-i Print information about slony cluster and exit

##Configuration file parameters

Section Parameter Type Default Comment
General lang en/fr 'en' The language to print messages in, currently only english and french
General prefix_directory /full/path/to/directory '/tmp/slony_failovers' Working directory for script to generate slonik scripts and log files
General separate_working_directory boolean 'true' Append a separate working directory to the prefix_directory for each run
General slonik_path /full/path/to/bin/directory null Slonik binary if not in current path
General pid_filename /path/to/pidfile '/var/run/' Pid file to use when running in autofailover mode
General enable_try_blocks boolean false Write slonik script with try blocks where possible to aid error handling
General lockset_method single/multiple 'multiple' Write slonik script that locks all sets
General pull_aliases_from_comments boolean false If true, script will pull text from comment fields and use to generate
possibly meaningful aliases for nodes and sets.
For sl_set this uses the entire comment, and sl_node text in parentheses.
General log_line_prefix text null Prefix to add to log lines, special values:
%p = process ID
%t = timestamp without milliseconds
%m = timestamp with milliseconds
General failover_offline_subscriber_only boolean false If set to true any subscriber only nodes that are unavailable at the time
of failover will also be failed over. If false any such nodes will be
excluded from the preamble and not failed over, however this may be problematic
especially in the case where the most up to date node is the unavailable one.
General drop_failed_nodes boolean false After failover automatically drop the failed nodes.
Slon Config slony_database_host IP Address/Hostname null PostgreSQL Hostname of database to read Slony configuration from
Slon Config slony_database_port integer 5432 PostgreSQL Port of database to read Slony configuration from
Slon Config slony_database_name name null PostgreSQL database name to read Slony configuration from
Slon Config slony_database_user username 'slony' Username to use to connect when reading Slony configuration
Slon Config slony_database_password password '' Recommended to leave blank and use .pgpass file
Slon Config slony_cluster_name name null Name of Slony-I cluster to read configuration for
Logging enable_debugging boolean false Enable printing of debug messages to stdout
Logging log_filename base file name 'failover.log' File name to use for script process logging, special values as per strftime spec
Logging log_to_postgresql boolean false Store details of failover script runs in a postgresql database
Logging log_database_host IP Address/Hostname null PostgreSQL Hostname of logging database
Logging log_database_port integer null PostgreSQL Port of logging database
Logging log_database_name name null PostgreSQL database name of logging database
Logging log_database_user username null Username to use to connect when logging to database
Logging log_database_password password '' Recommended to leave blank and use .pgpass file
Autofailover enable_autofailover boolean 'false' Rather than interactive mode sit and watch the cluster state for failed
origin/forwarding nodes; upon detection trigger automated failover.
Autofailover autofailover_forwarding_providers boolean 'false' If true a failure of a pure forwarding provider will also trigger failover
Autofailover autofailover_config_any_node boolean 'true' After reading the initial cluster configuration, subsequent reads of the configuration
will use conninfo read from sl_subscribe to read from any node.
Autofailover autofailover_poll_interval integer 500 How often to check for failure of nodes (milliseconds)
Autofailover autofailover_node_retry integer 2 When failure is detected, retry this many times before initiating failover
Autofailover autofailover_sleep_time integer 1000 Interval between retries (milliseconds)
Autofailover autofailover_perspective_sleep_time integer 20000 Interval between lag reads for failed nodes from surviving nodes. If greater than zero any observation that nodes have failed is checked from surviving nodes perspective by checking if lag times are extending. This does not guarantee 100% the nodes are down but if set to a large enough interval (at least sync_interval_timeout) can back up our observation.
Autofailover autofailover_majority_only boolean false Only fail over if the quantity of surviving nodes is greater than the quantity of failed nodes. Intended to be used to prevent a split-brain scenario in conjunction with some other logic to monitor and fence off the old origin if it is in the minority.
Autofailover autofailover_is_quorum boolean false If this script is running on a separate host set to true to treat it as a quorum server. Effectively increments sum of surviving nodes when calculating the majority above.


  • 08/04/2012 - Hash together some ideas for interactive failover perl script
  • 04/11/2012 - Experiment with different use of try blocks (currently can't use multiple lock sets indide try)
  • 13/04/2014 - Update to work differently for Slony 2.2+
  • 05/05/2014 - Experiment with autofailover ideas
  • 10/09/2014 - Add some logic to autofailover for doing extra checks from perspective of other nodes. Still a naive autofailover implementaition imho.


See the LICENCE file.