Barman and repmgr – Essential Tools for PostgreSQL

If your company’s software engineers are veterans with PostgreSQL, chances are pretty good they are also familiar with the utilities, Barman and repmgr. Barman handles the management of the backup and recovery process for a Postgres instance. While repmgr, as hinted at by its name, performs a similar role with replication – in fact repmgr also offers a measure of integration with Barman.

Let’s take a closer look at both tools to see if they make sense as part of your PostgreSQL implementation. If your team is considering Postgres as a cheaper alternative to Oracle, perhaps this additional information helps make your decision easier. Good luck!

Barman – the PostgreSQL Choice for Disaster Recovery

Developed by the well-known purveyor of Postgres support, training, and development, 2ndQuadrant, Barman is a worthy open source option for organizations needing a tool to handle backups and restores for PostgreSQL. It also plays an important role in any company’s disaster recovery process. Barman helps ensure databases are back online as quickly as possible – a vital factor in achieving business continuity.

In fact, Barman focuses its functionality on disaster recovery scenarios. It supports the remote and hot backups of multiple database servers, while helping DBAs or other network personnel get everything up and running again. The tool also provides remote management capabilities for multiple servers, including ssh support.

Other features include the local storage of metadata, PITR (Point-In-Time-Recovery), file compression, retention policies, incremental backups, tar integration, and more. In short, Barman is a fully functional backup and recovery solution for Postgres. Since it is written in Python, companies with developers skilled in that language can make modifications as needed.

Version 2.1 of Barman was released earlier this year. 2ndQuadrant also provides documentation as well as commercial support and consulting options. As an open source software product, a robust online community is available for advice on usage. Any company using PostgreSQL needs to explore Barman as an option for database backup and disaster recovery.

Manage PostgreSQL Replication with repmgr

Another open source Postgres utility developed by 2ndQuadrant, repmgr handles database replication across multiple PostgreSQL servers. The latest version of repmgr – 3.3.1 – was released in March of 2017, supporting Postgres versions 9.3 and later. It leverages streaming replication and the PostgreSQL 9 Hot Standby feature to ensure superior performance in high scalability and availability environments as well as ease of administration.

One of the unsurprising features of repmgr, considering the developer, is its seamless integration with Barman. You are able to make clones from a Barman archive, instead of accessing a live server. This helps prevent a performance hit on a production server.  If live streaming replication gets interrupted, an archive can be easily used in a pinch.

As with Barman, 2ndQuadrant also provides commercial-level support and consulting options with repmgr. When used together, both tools make it easier for companies to build an industry-leading relational database solution at a fraction of the cost of going with Oracle. It is yet another example of the benefits of open source software.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the wide world of software development. As always, thanks for reading!

How to make DevOps emerge into Maturity

DevOps remains the rage throughout the technology industry. Companies look to its optimized organizational structure that – when combined with the leveraging of state of the art innovations in automation and virtualization – facilitates the production of software faster than ever before. This includes new application development as well as enhancements and bug fixes.

Still, DevOps is a relatively new movement in IT and, as such, it is still maturing. Let’s take a closer look at what’s hampering its adoption in the tech world, with an eye on whether implementing its concepts makes sense for your organization.

Organizations struggle with Change

Many large organizations attempting to embrace DevOps struggle with the large scope of change, spanning the technical, cultural, and structural. Separate teams that formerly ruled over a singular domain now have to work together as one group. This especially impacts the network administration and software engineering roles.

Technical hurdles involving the use of new automation tools as well as the latest in virtualization technology, like Docker, also need to be overcome. Companies already using these tools are more ready to take on the other changes required in a DevOps implementation. As we’ve noted in the past, already having Agile in place as a software development methodology makes it easier to add DevOps to the equation.

Corporate Culture and Legacy Systems hamper DevOps Adoption

A recent survey reported on in ZDNet revealed corporate culture remains the biggest barrier to DevOps at many organizations. In many cases, this “culture” includes a host of legacy systems still in use, in addition to a company structure defined by those singular domains mentioned earlier. Industry pundit, Shashi Kiran, commented on some of the issues hampering DevOps adoption in the IT world.

“Starting out with a clean slate is always relatively easy. Preserving or integrating legacy in brownfield environments is where it becomes both challenging and interesting. For the next several years that’s where the action is. Enterprises that have invested in technology over the past few decades suddenly find that they can now actually create tremendous legacy inertia to move forward. So, while many have adopted DevOps practices, it has begun in pockets across the organization,” said Kiran.

Fostering a Collaborative Spirit at Technology Companies

Getting past any cultural concerns adversely impacting DevOps implementation requires fostering collaboration and teamwork. Once again, this is one of the reasons DevOps works better at companies already familiar with Agile. Chris Cancialosi, Ph.D., a founder at gothamCulture, feels understanding the right metrics is another essential piece in convincing executives their investment in DevOps will pay dividends.

“First, measuring and understanding your current state baseline is critical. A valid and reliable assessment ensures you are in a position to change, assists in helping leaders understand the potential obstacles that currently exist in the system, and helps organize and prioritize the change activities that must happen in order to embed these new ways of working into the cultural fabric of your company,” said Cancialosi.

In short, once everyone realizes the positive difference DevOps, automation, and virtualization makes on the software delivery process, it becomes easier to make the necessary cultural and structural changes to fully embrace this new way of doing things.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights from the wide world of software development. As always, thanks for reading!