Direct technisch advies?
Home > Blog

How to Postgres on Kubernetes, part 2

Edco Wallet 5-9-2023 8:39
Catégories: Blog, PostgreSQL

In part one, Nathan Koopmans, cloud platform engineer at OptimaData, showed how to create a simple plain PostgreSQL setup. Even though this works fine, you still want more data security. Therefore, in this second part, we look at the CloudNativePG operator for Kubernetes.


One of the biggest advantages to using the CloudNativePG operator is that it takes many things off your hands. For example, failover is automatic, it manages its own volume claims and has a built-in exporter for Prometheus-metrics. When you scale the deployment, it also automatically expands the pods and related issues related to the database. You miss these things with a setup like the one discussed in part one. Since the CloudNativePG operator is open source and free to use, it can also be applied in hobby and small business environments, where high availability is desired but costs must be kept down.

Download the operator

To get started, we are going to download the latest version of the operator. This can be found on CloudNativePG's Github page.

On the right side, click on the version under Releases.

Download the CloudNativePG operator

On the new page you will see all bug fixes and improvements. Scroll down to the Assets heading. Here, look for the .yaml file. In this case, it is cnpg-1.20.1.yaml. We can use wget to get this file:


You can also apply this directly by using the command kubectl apply -f instead of wget, but I always like to have the file offline for verification before I apply it.

Apply the operator

After downloading the yaml file, it still needs to be applied. You do that in the following way:

kubectl apply -f cnpg-1.20.1.yaml

Apply the CloudNativePG operator​​​​​​

In my screenshot, you can see some roles and CRDs (customresourcedefinition) on unchanges. That is due to an earlier installation of the cnpg-1.20.1.yaml. So in your case it may be slightly different from my screenshot. At the top of the output you can see that a namespace has been created called cnpg-system. This namespace contains the operator POD and other operator related items.

Run the command kubectl get all -n cnpg-system to see what all is in the namespace.

How to Postgres on Kubernetes with CloudNativePG and namespaces

The operator plugin

Now that we have the operator installed, we can install the command-line plug-in. This will allow us, when we have deployed our cluster later, to retrieve additional information. In the documentation we can find under "CloudNativePG Plugin" how to install the plug-in:

curl -sSfL | -SFL

  sudo sh -s -- -b /usr/local/bin

After installing the plugin, you can use kubectl cnpg status cluster name -n namespace to retrieve the status of the cluster. I will show the output in a later step.

​​​​​​Creating a cluster

Now that all the preparations are done, we can start creating a cluster. The CloudNativePG documentation provides an example for a cluster using cluster-example.yaml:

# Example of PostgreSQL cluster


child: Cluster


  name: cluster-example


  instances: 3

  # Example of rolling update strategy:

  # - unsupervised: automated update of the primary once all

  # replicas have been upgraded (default)

  # - supervised: requires manual supervision to perform

  # the switchover of the primary

  primaryUpdateStrategy: unsupervised

  # Require 1Gi of space


    size: 1Gi

We modify this slightly to make it work for us. Note: check what your storage class is and how much space you want to allocate. In my case, I chose longhorn since that is my used storage solution and 5Gi space since I have enough. With kubectl get sc you can see which storage classes you have at your disposal.

Creating a cluster with CloudNativePG operator​​​​​​

In the end, my example-cluster.yaml looks like this:


child: Cluster


  name: test-cluster


    env: database



  primaryUpdateStrategy: supervised

  instances: 3


    size: 5Gi



        - ReadWriteOnce



          storage: 5Gi

      storageClassName: longhorn

      volumeMode: Filesystem



      log_line_prefix: '%t [%p]: [%l-1] user=%u,db=%d,app=%a,client=%h '


      - host all all md5

The cluster wants to run in its own namespace, so I create a new namespace first:

kubectl create ns testcluster

Creating a cluster with CloudNativePG and namespace

Then we can now start applying the cluster-example.yaml:

kubectl apply -f cluster-example.yaml -n testcluster

Creating a cluster with CloudNativePG and cluster-example​​​​​​To keep an eye on what all is created, you can use the command kubectl get all -n testcluster.

Create a cluster with CloudNativePG, get all command​​​​​​

You can run the command several times, however, you can also put watch in front of it. With the program watch the screen is refreshed every 2 seconds. The command then looks like this watch kubectl get all -n testcluster or if you want to watch only the pods watch kubectl get pods -n testcluster

After a moment of patience, there are 3 pods in the running state:

Create a cluster with CloudNativePG running state

Since it is a newly set up cluster, for convenience we will assume that test-cluster-1 is the master / primary and 2 and 3 slave. We can check this with the plug-in we installed a few steps back, namely the cnpg plug-in.

kubectl cnpg status test-cluster -n test-cluster

You will then see the following output:

How to Postgres on Kubernetes with CloudNativePG cnpg plugin

This confirms the presumption that test-cluster-1 is indeed the primary. We have three instances, all three are ready and the cluster is healthy. Now it's time to see if we can connect.

Make connection

The setup with CloudNativePG requires a different way to connect to the database within the pod. To start, we need to find out the password assigned to the postgres user. This can be done with the following command:

kubectl get secrets -n testcluster

How to Postgres on Kubernetes with CloudNativePG and connection

Here we see a secret called test-cluster-superuser, this is the secret from which we need to extract the password. The fields contained in the secret can be retrieved with kubectl describe secrets test-cluster-superuser -n testcluster we will see the password field. Now we are going to extract the password and make it readable:

kubectl get secret test-cluster-superuser -n testcluster -o jsonpath='{.data.password}' | base64 --decode

How to Postgres on Kubernetes with CloudNativePG and secret​​​​​​

The password I'm not showing here. It is a long string of numbers and letters. Copy it to a separate document so we can use it so easily. What we're going to do now is start a port-forward to the pod which is primary. This way we can see that the database is working.

kubectl port-forward -n test-cluster test-cluster-1 5432:5432 &

The & character at the end performs the task in the background. This allows us to keep working in the same window. In part one, I already showed the use of the psql client (psql). However instead of connecting on the node IP address, we now do so on the localhost IP address, namely This is controlled by the port-forward.

The default user is postgres, we put the password in a separate document and we need that now.

psql -h -U postgres

How to Postgres on Kubernetes with CloudNativePG passwords​​​​​​

With \l, you can see the databases. Now that we are actually getting information back, we know it is working properly.


In part one and part two, I showed how to use PostgreSQL within Kubernetes. I assume you have already thought about security within the Kubernetes cluster, such as setting up the securityContext per pod. That is beyond the scope of this explanation series. Regarding the operator, the securityContext and RBAC (Role-Based Access Control) are already well taken care of. More information about the securityContext can be found in the Kubernetes documentation.

Wrap up

In the examples, we did a simple setup of PostgreSQL. Nothing has been done to the other configuration of parameters and that's where a lot can be gained in terms of performance. It is always advisable to take a look at this so that your data or that of your client is safe and quickly available. 

How to Postgres on Kubernetes, part 1

Back to blogoverview