Kubectl Plugin

CloudNativePG provides a plugin for kubectl to manage a cluster in Kubernetes.


You can install the cnpg plugin using a variety of methods.


For air-gapped systems, installation via package managers, using previously downloaded files, may be a good option.

Via the installation script

curl -sSfL \
  https://github.com/cloudnative-pg/cloudnative-pg/raw/main/hack/install-cnpg-plugin.sh | \
  sudo sh -s -- -b /usr/local/bin

Using the Debian or RedHat packages

In the releases section of the GitHub repository, you can navigate to any release of interest (pick the same or newer release than your CloudNativePG operator), and in it you will find an Assets section. In that section are pre-built packages for a variety of systems. As a result, you can follow standard practices and instructions to install them in your systems.

Debian packages

For example, let's install the 1.18.1 release of the plugin, for an Intel based 64 bit server. First, we download the right .deb file.

$ wget https://github.com/cloudnative-pg/cloudnative-pg/releases/download/v1.18.1/kubectl-cnpg_1.18.1_linux_x86_64.deb

Then, install from the local file using dpkg:

$ dpkg -i kubectl-cnpg_1.18.1_linux_x86_64.deb 
(Reading database ... 16102 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack kubectl-cnpg_1.18.1_linux_x86_64.deb ...
Unpacking cnpg (1.18.1) over (1.18.1) ...
Setting up cnpg (1.18.1) ...

RPM packages

As in the example for .deb packages, let's install the 1.18.1 release for an Intel 64 bit machine. Note the --output flag to provide a file name.

curl -L https://github.com/cloudnative-pg/cloudnative-pg/releases/download/v1.18.1/kubectl-cnpg_1.18.1_linux_x86_64.rpm \
  --output kube-plugin.rpm

Then install with yum, and you're ready to use:

$ yum --disablerepo=* localinstall kube-plugin.rpm
yum --disablerepo=* localinstall kube-plugin.rpm    
Failed to set locale, defaulting to C.UTF-8
Dependencies resolved.
 Package            Architecture         Version                   Repository                  Size
 cnpg               x86_64               1.18.1-1                  @commandline                14 M

Transaction Summary
Install  1 Package

Total size: 14 M
Installed size: 43 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y

Using Krew

If you already have Krew installed, you can simply run:

kubectl krew install cnpg

When a new version of the plugin is released, you can update the existing installation with:

kubectl krew update
kubectl krew upgrade cnpg

Supported Architectures

CloudNativePG Plugin is currently built for the following operating system and architectures:

  • Linux
  • amd64
  • arm 5/6/7
  • arm64
  • s390x
  • ppc64le
  • macOS
  • amd64
  • arm64
  • Windows
  • 386
  • amd64
  • arm 5/6/7
  • arm64


Once the plugin was installed and deployed, you can start using it like this:

kubectl cnpg <command> <args...>

Generation of installation manifests

The cnpg plugin can be used to generate the YAML manifest for the installation of the operator. This option would typically be used if you want to override some default configurations such as number of replicas, installation namespace, namespaces to watch, and so on.

For details and available options, run:

kubectl cnpg install generate --help

The main options are:

  • -n: the namespace in which to install the operator (by default: cnpg-system)
  • --replicas: number of replicas in the deployment
  • --version: minor version of the operator to be installed, such as 1.17. If a minor version is specified, the plugin will install the latest patch version of that minor version. If no version is supplied the plugin will install the latest MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH version of the operator.
  • --watch-namespace: comma separated string containing the namespaces to watch (by default all namespaces)

An example of the generate command, which will generate a YAML manifest that will install the operator, is as follows:

kubectl cnpg install generate \
  -n king \
  --version 1.17 \
  --replicas 3 \
  --watch-namespace "albert, bb, freddie" \
  > operator.yaml

The flags in the above command have the following meaning: - -n king install the CNPG operator into the king namespace - --version 1.17 install the latest patch version for minor version 1.17 - --replicas 3 install the operator with 3 replicas - --watch-namespace "albert, bb, freddie" have the operator watch for changes in the albert, bb and freddie namespaces only


The status command provides an overview of the current status of your cluster, including:

  • general information: name of the cluster, PostgreSQL's system ID, number of instances, current timeline and position in the WAL
  • backup: point of recoverability, and WAL archiving status as returned by the pg_stat_archiver view from the primary - or designated primary in the case of a replica cluster
  • streaming replication: information taken directly from the pg_stat_replication view on the primary instance
  • instances: information about each Postgres instance, taken directly by each instance manager; in the case of a standby, the Current LSN field corresponds to the latest write-ahead log location that has been replayed during recovery (replay LSN).


The status information above is taken at different times and at different locations, resulting in slightly inconsistent returned values. For example, the Current Write LSN location in the main header, might be different from the Current LSN field in the instances status as it is taken at two different time intervals.

kubectl cnpg status sandbox
Cluster in healthy state
Name:               sandbox
Namespace:          default
System ID:          7039966298120953877
PostgreSQL Image:   ghcr.io/cloudnative-pg/postgresql:16.1
Primary instance:   sandbox-2
Instances:          3
Ready instances:    3
Current Write LSN:  3AF/EAFA6168 (Timeline: 8 - WAL File: 00000008000003AF00000075)

Continuous Backup status
First Point of Recoverability:  Not Available
Working WAL archiving:          OK
Last Archived WAL:              00000008000003AE00000079   @   2021-12-14T10:16:29.340047Z
Last Failed WAL: -

Certificates Status
Certificate Name             Expiration Date                Days Left Until Expiration
----------------             ---------------                --------------------------
cluster-example-ca           2022-05-05 15:02:42 +0000 UTC  87.23
cluster-example-replication  2022-05-05 15:02:42 +0000 UTC  87.23
cluster-example-server       2022-05-05 15:02:42 +0000 UTC  87.23

Streaming Replication status
Name       Sent LSN      Write LSN     Flush LSN     Replay LSN    Write Lag        Flush Lag        Replay Lag       State      Sync State  Sync Priority
----       --------      ---------     ---------     ----------    ---------        ---------        ----------       -----      ----------  -------------
sandbox-1  3AF/EB0524F0  3AF/EB011760  3AF/EAFEDE50  3AF/EAFEDE50  00:00:00.004461  00:00:00.007901  00:00:00.007901  streaming  quorum      1
sandbox-3  3AF/EB0524F0  3AF/EB030B00  3AF/EB030B00  3AF/EB011760  00:00:00.000977  00:00:00.004194  00:00:00.008252  streaming  quorum      1

Instances status
Name       Database Size  Current LSN   Replication role  Status  QoS         Manager Version
----       -------------  -----------   ----------------  ------  ---         ---------------
sandbox-1  302 GB         3AF/E9FFFFE0  Standby (sync)    OK      Guaranteed  1.11.0
sandbox-2  302 GB         3AF/EAFA6168  Primary           OK      Guaranteed  1.11.0
sandbox-3  302 GB         3AF/EBAD5D18  Standby (sync)    OK      Guaranteed  1.11.0

You can also get a more verbose version of the status by adding --verbose or just -v

kubectl cnpg status sandbox --verbose
Cluster in healthy state
Name:               sandbox
Namespace:          default
System ID:          7039966298120953877
PostgreSQL Image:   ghcr.io/cloudnative-pg/postgresql:16.1
Primary instance:   sandbox-2
Instances:          3
Ready instances:    3
Current Write LSN:  3B1/61DE3158 (Timeline: 8 - WAL File: 00000008000003B100000030)

PostgreSQL Configuration
archive_command = '/controller/manager wal-archive --log-destination /controller/log/postgres.json %p'
archive_mode = 'on'
archive_timeout = '5min'
checkpoint_completion_target = '0.9'
checkpoint_timeout = '900s'
cluster_name = 'sandbox'
dynamic_shared_memory_type = 'sysv'
full_page_writes = 'on'
hot_standby = 'true'
jit = 'on'
listen_addresses = '*'
log_autovacuum_min_duration = '1s'
log_checkpoints = 'on'
log_destination = 'csvlog'
log_directory = '/controller/log'
log_filename = 'postgres'
log_lock_waits = 'on'
log_min_duration_statement = '1000'
log_rotation_age = '0'
log_rotation_size = '0'
log_statement = 'ddl'
log_temp_files = '1024'
log_truncate_on_rotation = 'false'
logging_collector = 'on'
maintenance_work_mem = '2GB'
max_connections = '1000'
max_parallel_workers = '32'
max_replication_slots = '32'
max_wal_size = '15GB'
max_worker_processes = '32'
pg_stat_statements.max = '10000'
pg_stat_statements.track = 'all'
port = '5432'
shared_buffers = '16GB'
shared_memory_type = 'sysv'
shared_preload_libraries = 'pg_stat_statements'
ssl = 'on'
ssl_ca_file = '/controller/certificates/client-ca.crt'
ssl_cert_file = '/controller/certificates/server.crt'
ssl_key_file = '/controller/certificates/server.key'
synchronous_standby_names = 'ANY 1 ("sandbox-1","sandbox-3")'
unix_socket_directories = '/controller/run'
wal_keep_size = '512MB'
wal_level = 'logical'
wal_log_hints = 'on'
cnpg.config_sha256 = '3cfa683e23fe513afaee7c97b50ce0628e0cc634bca8b096517538a9a4428efc'

PostgreSQL HBA Rules

# Grant local access
local all all peer map=local

# Require client certificate authentication for the streaming_replica user
hostssl postgres streaming_replica all cert
hostssl replication streaming_replica all cert
hostssl all cnpg_pooler_pgbouncer all cert

# Otherwise use the default authentication method
host all all all scram-sha-256

Continuous Backup status
First Point of Recoverability:  Not Available
Working WAL archiving:          OK
Last Archived WAL:              00000008000003B00000001D   @   2021-12-14T10:20:42.272815Z
Last Failed WAL: -

Streaming Replication status
Name       Sent LSN      Write LSN     Flush LSN     Replay LSN    Write Lag        Flush Lag        Replay Lag       State      Sync State  Sync Priority
----       --------      ---------     ---------     ----------    ---------        ---------        ----------       -----      ----------  -------------
sandbox-1  3B1/61E26448  3B1/61DF82F0  3B1/61DF82F0  3B1/61DF82F0  00:00:00.000333  00:00:00.000333  00:00:00.005484  streaming  quorum      1
sandbox-3  3B1/61E26448  3B1/61E26448  3B1/61DF82F0  3B1/61DF82F0  00:00:00.000756  00:00:00.000756  00:00:00.000756  streaming  quorum      1

Instances status
Name       Database Size  Current LSN   Replication role  Status  QoS         Manager Version
----       -------------  -----------   ----------------  ------  ---         ---------------
sandbox-1                 3B1/610204B8  Standby (sync)    OK      Guaranteed  1.11.0
sandbox-2                 3B1/61DE3158  Primary           OK      Guaranteed  1.11.0
sandbox-3                 3B1/62618470  Standby (sync)    OK      Guaranteed  1.11.0

The command also supports output in yaml and json format.


The meaning of this command is to promote a pod in the cluster to primary, so you can start with maintenance work or test a switch-over situation in your cluster

kubectl cnpg promote cluster-example cluster-example-2

Or you can use the instance node number to promote

kubectl cnpg promote cluster-example 2


Clusters created using the CloudNativePG operator work with a CA to sign a TLS authentication certificate.

To get a certificate, you need to provide a name for the secret to store the credentials, the cluster name, and a user for this certificate

kubectl cnpg certificate cluster-cert --cnpg-cluster cluster-example --cnpg-user appuser

After the secret it's created, you can get it using kubectl

kubectl get secret cluster-cert

And the content of the same in plain text using the following commands:

kubectl get secret cluster-cert -o json | jq -r '.data | map(@base64d) | .[]'


The kubectl cnpg restart command can be used in two cases:

  • requesting the operator to orchestrate a rollout restart for a certain cluster. This is useful to apply configuration changes to cluster dependent objects, such as ConfigMaps containing custom monitoring queries.

  • request a single instance restart, either in-place if the instance is the cluster's primary or deleting and recreating the pod if it is a replica.

# this command will restart a whole cluster in a rollout fashion
kubectl cnpg restart [clusterName]

# this command will restart a single instance, according to the policy above
kubectl cnpg restart [clusterName] [pod]

If the in-place restart is requested but the change cannot be applied without a switchover, the switchover will take precedence over the in-place restart. A common case for this will be a minor upgrade of PostgreSQL image.


If you want ConfigMaps and Secrets to be automatically reloaded by instances, you can add a label with key cnpg.io/reload to it.


The kubectl cnpg reload command requests the operator to trigger a reconciliation loop for a certain cluster. This is useful to apply configuration changes to cluster dependent objects, such as ConfigMaps containing custom monitoring queries.

The following command will reload all configurations for a given cluster:

kubectl cnpg reload [cluster_name]


The kubectl cnpg maintenance command helps to modify one or more clusters across namespaces and set the maintenance window values, it will change the following fields:

  • .spec.nodeMaintenanceWindow.inProgress
  • .spec.nodeMaintenanceWindow.reusePVC

Accepts as argument set and unset using this to set the inProgress to true in case setand to false in case of unset.

By default, reusePVC is always set to false unless the --reusePVC flag is passed.

The plugin will ask for a confirmation with a list of the cluster to modify and their new values, if this is accepted this action will be applied to all the cluster in the list.

If you want to set in maintenance all the PostgreSQL in your Kubernetes cluster, just need to write the following command:

kubectl cnpg maintenance set --all-namespaces

And you'll have the list of all the cluster to update

The following are the new values for the clusters
Namespace  Cluster Name     Maintenance  reusePVC
---------  ------------     -----------  --------
default    cluster-example  true         false
default    pg-backup        true         false
test       cluster-example  true         false
Do you want to proceed? [y/n]: y


The kubectl cnpg report command bundles various pieces of information into a ZIP file. It aims to provide the needed context to debug problems with clusters in production.

It has two sub-commands: operator and cluster.

report Operator

The operator sub-command requests the operator to provide information regarding the operator deployment, configuration and events.


All confidential information in Secrets and ConfigMaps is REDACTED. The Data map will show the keys but the values will be empty. The flag -S / --stopRedaction will defeat the redaction and show the values. Use only at your own risk, this will share private data.


By default, operator logs are not collected, but you can enable operator log collection with the --logs flag

  • deployment information: the operator Deployment and operator Pod
  • configuration: the Secrets and ConfigMaps in the operator namespace
  • events: the Events in the operator namespace
  • webhook configuration: the mutating and validating webhook configurations
  • webhook service: the webhook service
  • logs: logs for the operator Pod (optional, off by default) in JSON-lines format

The command will generate a ZIP file containing various manifest in YAML format (by default, but settable to JSON with the -o flag). Use the -f flag to name a result file explicitly. If the -f flag is not used, a default time-stamped filename is created for the zip file.


The report plugin obeys kubectl conventions, and will look for objects constrained by namespace. The CNPG Operator will generally not be installed in the same namespace as the clusters. E.g. the default installation namespace is cnpg-system

kubectl cnpg report operator -n <namespace>

results in

Successfully written report to "report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>.zip" (format: "yaml")

With the -f flag set:

kubectl cnpg report operator -n <namespace> -f reportRedacted.zip

Unzipping the file will produce a time-stamped top-level folder to keep the directory tidy:

unzip reportRedacted.zip

will result in:

Archive:  reportRedacted.zip
   creating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/
   creating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/deployment.yaml
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/operator-pod.yaml
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/events.yaml
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/validating-webhook-configuration.yaml
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/mutating-webhook-configuration.yaml
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/webhook-service.yaml
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/cnpg-ca-secret.yaml
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/cnpg-webhook-cert.yaml

If you activated the --logs option, you'd see an extra subdirectory:

Archive:  report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>.zip
  <snipped …>
  creating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/operator-logs/
  inflating: report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/operator-logs/cnpg-controller-manager-66fb98dbc5-pxkmh-logs.jsonl


The plugin will try to get the PREVIOUS operator's logs, which is helpful when investigating restarted operators. In all cases, it will also try to get the CURRENT operator logs. If current and previous logs are available, it will show them both.

====== Begin of Previous Log =====
2023-03-28T12:56:41.251711811Z {"level":"info","ts":"2023-03-28T12:56:41Z","logger":"setup","msg":"Starting CloudNativePG Operator","version":"1.19.1","build":{"Version":"1.19.0+dev107","Commit":"cc9bab17","Date":"2023-03-28"}}
2023-03-28T12:56:41.251851909Z {"level":"info","ts":"2023-03-28T12:56:41Z","logger":"setup","msg":"Starting pprof HTTP server","addr":""}
  <snipped …>

====== End of Previous Log =====
2023-03-28T12:57:09.854306024Z {"level":"info","ts":"2023-03-28T12:57:09Z","logger":"setup","msg":"Starting CloudNativePG Operator","version":"1.19.1","build":{"Version":"1.19.0+dev107","Commit":"cc9bab17","Date":"2023-03-28"}}
2023-03-28T12:57:09.854363943Z {"level":"info","ts":"2023-03-28T12:57:09Z","logger":"setup","msg":"Starting pprof HTTP server","addr":""}

If the operator hasn't been restarted, you'll still see the ====== Begin … and ====== End … guards, with no content inside.

You can verify that the confidential information is REDACTED by default:

cd report_operator_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/
head cnpg-ca-secret.yaml
  ca.crt: ""
  ca.key: ""
  creationTimestamp: "2022-03-22T10:42:28Z"
  - apiVersion: v1
    fieldsType: FieldsV1

With the -S (--stopRedaction) option activated, secrets are shown:

kubectl cnpg report operator -n <namespace> -f reportNonRedacted.zip -S

You'll get a reminder that you're about to view confidential information:

WARNING: secret Redaction is OFF. Use it with caution
Successfully written report to "reportNonRedacted.zip" (format: "yaml")
unzip reportNonRedacted.zip
head cnpg-ca-secret.yaml
  ca.crt: LS0tLS1CRUdJTiBD…
  ca.key: LS0tLS1CRUdJTiBF…
  creationTimestamp: "2022-03-22T10:42:28Z"
  - apiVersion: v1
    fieldsType: FieldsV1

report Cluster

The cluster sub-command gathers the following:

  • cluster resources: the cluster information, same as kubectl get cluster -o yaml
  • cluster pods: pods in the cluster namespace matching the cluster name
  • cluster jobs: jobs, if any, in the cluster namespace matching the cluster name
  • events: events in the cluster namespace
  • pod logs: logs for the cluster Pods (optional, off by default) in JSON-lines format
  • job logs: logs for the Pods created by jobs (optional, off by default) in JSON-lines format

The cluster sub-command accepts the -f and -o flags, as the operator does. If the -f flag is not used, a default timestamped report name will be used. Note that the cluster information does not contain configuration Secrets / ConfigMaps, so the -S is disabled.


By default, cluster logs are not collected, but you can enable cluster log collection with the --logs flag


kubectl cnpg report cluster <clusterName> [flags]

Note that, unlike the operator sub-command, for the cluster sub-command you need to provide the cluster name, and very likely the namespace, unless the cluster is in the default one.

kubectl cnpg report cluster example -f report.zip -n example_namespace

and then:

unzip report.zip
Archive:  report.zip
   creating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/
   creating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/cluster.yaml
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/cluster-pods.yaml
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/cluster-jobs.yaml
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/events.yaml

Remember that you can use the --logs flag to add the pod and job logs to the ZIP.

kubectl cnpg report cluster example -n example_namespace --logs

will result in:

Successfully written report to "report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>.zip" (format: "yaml")
unzip report_cluster_<TIMESTAMP>.zip
Archive:  report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>.zip
   creating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/
   creating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/cluster.yaml
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/cluster-pods.yaml
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/cluster-jobs.yaml
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/manifests/events.yaml
   creating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/logs/
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/logs/cluster-example-full-1.jsonl
   creating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/job-logs/
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/job-logs/cluster-example-full-1-initdb-qnnvw.jsonl
  inflating: report_cluster_example_<TIMESTAMP>/job-logs/cluster-example-full-2-join-tvj8r.jsonl


The kubectl cnpg logs command allows to follow the logs of a collection of pods related to CloudNativePG in a single go.

It has at the moment one available sub-command: cluster.

Cluster logs

The cluster sub-command gathers all the pod logs for a cluster in a single stream or file. This means that you can get all the pod logs in a single terminal window, with a single invocation of the command.

As in all the cnpg plugin sub-commands, you can get instructions and help with the -h flag:

kubectl cnpg logs cluster -h

The logs command will display logs in JSON-lines format, unless the --timestamps flag is used, in which case, a human readable timestamp will be prepended to each line. In this case, lines will no longer be valid JSON, and tools such as jq may not work as desired.

If the logs cluster sub-command is given the -f flag (aka --follow), it will follow the cluster pod logs, and will also watch for any new pods created in the cluster after the command has been invoked. Any new pods found, including pods that have been restarted or re-created, will also have their pods followed. The logs will be displayed in the terminal's standard-out. This command will only exit when the cluster has no more pods left, or when it is interrupted by the user.

If logs is called without the -f option, it will read the logs from all cluster pods until the time of invocation and display them in the terminal's standard-out, then exit. The -o or --output flag can be provided, to specify the name of the file where the logs should be saved, instead of displaying over standard-out. The --tail flag can be used to specify how many log lines will be retrieved from each pod in the cluster. By default, the logs cluster sub-command will display all the logs from each pod in the cluster. If combined with the "follow" flag -f, the number of logs specified by --tail will be retrieved until the current time, and and from then the new logs will be followed.

NOTE: unlike other cnpg plugin commands, the -f is used to denote "follow" rather than specify a file. This keeps with the convention of kubectl logs, which takes -f to mean the logs should be followed.


kubectl cnpg logs cluster <clusterName> [flags]

Using the -f option to follow:

kubectl cnpg report cluster cluster-example -f

Using --tail option to display 3 lines from each pod and the -f option to follow:

kubectl cnpg report cluster cluster-example -f --tail 3
{"level":"info","ts":"2023-06-30T13:37:33Z","logger":"postgres","msg":"2023-06-30 13:37:33.142 UTC [26] LOG:  ending log output to stderr","source":"/controller/log/postgres","logging_pod":"cluster-example-3"}
{"level":"info","ts":"2023-06-30T13:37:33Z","logger":"postgres","msg":"2023-06-30 13:37:33.142 UTC [26] HINT:  Future log output will go to log destination \"csvlog\".","source":"/controller/log/postgres","logging_pod":"cluster-example-3"}

With the -o option omitted, and with --output specified:

kubectl-cnpg logs cluster cluster-example --output my-cluster.log

Successfully written logs to "my-cluster.log"


The kubectl cnpg destroy command helps remove an instance and all the associated PVCs from a Kubernetes cluster.

The optional --keep-pvc flag, if specified, allows you to keep the PVCs, while removing all metadata.ownerReferences that were set by the instance. Additionally, the cnpg.io/pvcStatus label on the PVCs will change from ready to detached to signify that they are no longer in use.

Running again the command without the --keep-pvc flag will remove the detached PVCs.


kubectl cnpg destroy [CLUSTER_NAME] [INSTANCE_ID]

The following example removes the cluster-example-2 pod and the associated PVCs:

kubectl cnpg destroy cluster-example 2

Cluster hibernation

Sometimes you may want to suspend the execution of a CloudNativePG Cluster while retaining its data, then resume its activity at a later time. We've called this feature cluster hibernation.

Hibernation is only available via the kubectl cnpg hibernate [on|off] commands.

Hibernating a CloudNativePG cluster means destroying all the resources generated by the cluster, except the PVCs that belong to the PostgreSQL primary instance.

You can hibernate a cluster with:

kubectl cnpg hibernate on <cluster-name>

This will:

  1. shutdown every PostgreSQL instance
  2. detach the PVCs containing the data of the primary instance, and annotate them with the latest database status and the latest cluster configuration
  3. delete the Cluster resource, including every generated resource - except the aforementioned PVCs

When hibernated, a CloudNativePG cluster is represented by just a group of PVCs, in which the one containing the PGDATA is annotated with the latest available status, including content from pg_controldata.


A cluster having fenced instances cannot be hibernated, as fencing is part of the hibernation procedure too.

In case of error the operator will not be able to revert the procedure. You can still force the operation with:

kubectl cnpg hibernate on cluster-example --force

A hibernated cluster can be resumed with:

kubectl cnpg hibernate off <cluster-name>

Once the cluster has been hibernated, it's possible to show the last configuration and the status that PostgreSQL had after it was shut down. That can be done with:

kubectl cnpg hibernate status <cluster-name>

Benchmarking the database with pgbench

Pgbench can be run against an existing PostgreSQL cluster with following command:

kubectl cnpg pgbench <cluster-name> -- --time 30 --client 1 --jobs 1

Refer to the Benchmarking pgbench section for more details.

Benchmarking the storage with fio

fio can be run on an existing storage class with following command:

kubectl cnpg fio <fio-job-name> -n <namespace>

Refer to the Benchmarking fio section for more details.

Requesting a new physical backup

The kubectl cnpg backup command requests a new physical backup for an existing Postgres cluster by creating a new Backup resource.


From release 1.21, the backup command accepts a new flag, -m to specify the backup method. To request a backup using volume snapshots, set -m volumeSnapshot

The following example requests an on-demand backup for a given cluster:

kubectl cnpg backup [cluster_name]

or, if using volume snapshots (from release 1.21)

kubectl cnpg backup [cluster_name] -m volumeSnapshot

The created backup will be named after the request time:

kubectl cnpg backup cluster-example
backup/cluster-example-20230121002300 created

By default, a newly created backup will use the backup target policy defined in the cluster to choose which instance to run on. However, you can override this policy with the --backup-target option.

In the case of volume snapshot backups, you can also use the --online option to request an online/hot backup or an offline/cold one: additionally, you can also tune online backups by explicitly setting the --immediate-checkpoint and --wait-for-archive options.

The "Backup" section contains more information about the configuration settings.

Launching psql

The kubectl cnpg psql command starts a new PostgreSQL interactive front-end process (psql) connected to an existing Postgres cluster, as if you were running it from the actual pod. This means that you will be using the postgres user.


As you will be connecting as postgres user, in production environments this method should be used with extreme care, by authorized personnel only.

kubectl cnpg psql cluster-example

psql (16.1 (Debian 16.1-1.pgdg110+1))
Type "help" for help.


By default, the command will connect to the primary instance. The user can select to work against a replica by using the --replica option:

kubectl cnpg psql --replica cluster-example
psql (16.1 (Debian 16.1-1.pgdg110+1))

Type "help" for help.

postgres=# select pg_is_in_recovery();
(1 row)

postgres=# \q

This command will start kubectl exec, and the kubectl executable must be reachable in your PATH variable to correctly work.

Snapshotting a Postgres cluster


The kubectl cnpg snapshot command has been removed. Please use the backup command to request backups using volume snapshots.

Using pgAdmin4 for evaluation/demonstration purposes only

pgAdmin stands as the most popular and feature-rich open-source administration and development platform for PostgreSQL. For more information on the project, please refer to the official documentation.

Given that the pgAdmin Development Team maintains official Docker container images, you can install pgAdmin in your environment as a standard Kubernetes deployment.


Deployment of pgAdmin in Kubernetes production environments is beyond the scope of this document and, more broadly, of the CloudNativePG project.

However, for the purposes of demonstration and evaluation, CloudNativePG offers a suitable solution. The cnpg plugin implements the pgadmin4 command, providing a straightforward method to connect to a given database Cluster and navigate its content in a local environment such as kind.

For example, you can install a demo deployment of pgAdmin4 for the cluster-example cluster as follows:

kubectl cnpg pgadmin4 cluster-example

This command will produce:

ConfigMap/cluster-example-pgadmin4 created
Deployment/cluster-example-pgadmin4 created
Service/cluster-example-pgadmin4 created
Secret/cluster-example-pgadmin4 created


After deploying pgAdmin, forward the port using kubectl and connect through your browser by following the on-screen instructions.

Screenshot of desktop installation of pgAdmin

As usual, you can use the --dry-run option to generate the YAML file:

kubectl cnpg pgadmin4 --dry-run cluster-example

pgAdmin4 can be installed in either desktop or server mode, with the default being server.

In server mode, authentication is required using a randomly generated password, and users must manually specify the database to connect to.

On the other hand, desktop mode initiates a pgAdmin web interface without requiring authentication. It automatically connects to the app database as the app user, making it ideal for quick demos, such as on a local deployment using kind:

kubectl cnpg pgadmin4 --mode desktop cluster-example

After concluding your demo, ensure the termination of the pgAdmin deployment by executing:

kubectl cnpg pgadmin4 --dry-run cluster-example | kubectl delete -f -


Never deploy pgAdmin in production using the plugin.

Integration with K9s

The cnpg plugin can be easily integrated in K9s, a popular terminal-based UI to interact with Kubernetes clusters.

See k9s/plugins.yml for details.