Backup on object stores

CloudNativePG natively supports online/hot backup of PostgreSQL clusters through continuous physical backup and WAL archiving on an object store. This means that the database is always up (no downtime required) and that Point In Time Recovery is available.

The operator can orchestrate a continuous backup infrastructure that is based on the Barman Cloud tool. Instead of using the classical architecture with a Barman server, which backs up many PostgreSQL instances, the operator relies on the barman-cloud-wal-archive, barman-cloud-check-wal-archive, barman-cloud-backup, barman-cloud-backup-list, and barman-cloud-backup-delete tools. As a result, base backups will be tarballs. Both base backups and WAL files can be compressed and encrypted.

For this, it is required to use an image with barman-cli-cloud included. You can use the image for this scope, as it is composed of a community PostgreSQL image and the latest barman-cli-cloud package.


Always ensure that you are running the latest version of the operands in your system to take advantage of the improvements introduced in Barman cloud (as well as improve the security aspects of your cluster).

A backup is performed from a primary or a designated primary instance in a Cluster (please refer to replica clusters for more information about designated primary instances), or alternatively on a standby.

Common object stores

If you are looking for a specific object store such as AWS S3, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, Google Cloud Storage, or MinIO Gateway, or a compatible provider, please refer to Appendix A - Common object stores.

Retention policies


Retention policies are not currently available on volume snapshots.

CloudNativePG can manage the automated deletion of backup files from the backup object store, using retention policies based on the recovery window.

Internally, the retention policy feature uses barman-cloud-backup-delete with --retention-policy “RECOVERY WINDOW OF {{ retention policy value }} {{ retention policy unit }}”.

For example, you can define your backups with a retention policy of 30 days as follows:

kind: Cluster
      destinationPath: "<destination path here>"
          name: aws-creds
          key: ACCESS_KEY_ID
          name: aws-creds
          key: ACCESS_SECRET_KEY
    retentionPolicy: "30d"

There's more ...

The recovery window retention policy is focused on the concept of Point of Recoverability (PoR), a moving point in time determined by current time - recovery window. The first valid backup is the first available backup before PoR (in reverse chronological order). CloudNativePG must ensure that we can recover the cluster at any point in time between PoR and the latest successfully archived WAL file, starting from the first valid backup. Base backups that are older than the first valid backup will be marked as obsolete and permanently removed after the next backup is completed.

Compression algorithms

CloudNativePG by default archives backups and WAL files in an uncompressed fashion. However, it also supports the following compression algorithms via barman-cloud-backup (for backups) and barman-cloud-wal-archive (for WAL files):

  • bzip2
  • gzip
  • snappy

The compression settings for backups and WALs are independent. See the DataBackupConfiguration and WALBackupConfiguration sections in the API reference.

It is important to note that archival time, restore time, and size change between the algorithms, so the compression algorithm should be chosen according to your use case.

The Barman team has performed an evaluation of the performance of the supported algorithms for Barman Cloud. The following table summarizes a scenario where a backup is taken on a local MinIO deployment. The Barman GitHub project includes a deeper analysis.

Compression Backup Time (ms) Restore Time (ms) Uncompressed size (MB) Compressed size (MB) Approx ratio
None 10927 7553 395 395 1:1
bzip2 25404 13886 395 67 5.9:1
gzip 116281 3077 395 91 4.3:1
snappy 8134 8341 395 166 2.4:1

Tagging of backup objects

Barman 2.18 introduces support for tagging backup resources when saving them in object stores via barman-cloud-backup and barman-cloud-wal-archive. As a result, if your PostgreSQL container image includes Barman with version 2.18 or higher, CloudNativePG enables you to specify tags as key-value pairs for backup objects, namely base backups, WAL files and history files.

You can use two properties in the .spec.backup.barmanObjectStore definition:

  • tags: key-value pair tags to be added to backup objects and archived WAL file in the backup object store
  • historyTags: key-value pair tags to be added to archived history files in the backup object store

The excerpt of a YAML manifest below provides an example of usage of this feature:

kind: Cluster
        backupRetentionPolicy: "expire"
        backupRetentionPolicy: "keep"