Custom installation

As described in the Components chapter, there a couple of ways how to set up up pgwatch2. Two most common ways though are the central Config DB based “pull” approach and the YAML file based “push” approach, plus Grafana to visualize the gathered metrics.

Config DB based setup

Overview of installation steps

  1. Install Postgres or use any available existing instance - v9.4+ required for the config DB and v11+ for the metrics DB.

  2. Bootstrap the Config DB.

  3. Bootstrap the metrics storage DB (PostgreSQL here).

  4. Install pgwatch2 - either from pre-built packages or by compiling the Go code.

  5. Prepare the “to-be-monitored” databases for monitoring by creating a dedicated login role name as a minimum.

  6. Optional step - install the administrative Web UI + Python & library dependencies.

  7. Add some databases to the monitoring configuration via the Web UI or directly in the Config DB.

  8. Start the pgwatch2 metrics collection agent and monitor the logs for any problems.

  9. Install and configure Grafana and import the pgwatch2 sample dashboards to start analyzing the metrics.

  10. Make sure that there are auto-start SystemD services for all components in place and optionally set up also backups.

Detailed steps for the Config DB based “pull” approach with Postgres metrics storage

Below are sample steps to do a custom install from scratch using Postgres for the pgwatch2 configuration DB, metrics DB and Grafana config DB.

All examples here assume Ubuntu as OS - but it’s basically the same for RedHat family of operations systems also, minus package installation syntax differences.

  1. Install Postgres

    Follow the standard Postgres install procedure basically. Use the latest major version available, but minimally v11+ is recommended for the metrics DB due to recent partitioning speedup improvements and also older versions were missing some default JSONB casts so that a few built-in Grafana dashboards need adjusting otherwise.

    To get the latest Postgres versions, official Postgres PGDG repos are to be preferred over default disto repos. Follow the instructions from:

  2. Install pgwatch2 - either from pre-built packages or by compiling the Go code

    • Using pre-built packages

      The pre-built DEB / RPM / Tar packages are available on the Github releases page.

      # find out the latest package link and replace below, using v1.8.0 here
      sudo dpkg -i pgwatch2_v1.8.0-SNAPSHOT-064fdaf_linux_64-bit.deb
    • Compiling the Go code yourself

      This method of course is not needed unless dealing with maximum security environments or some slight code changes are required.

      1. Install Go by following the official instructions

      2. Get the pgwatch2 project’s code and compile the gatherer daemon

        git clone
        cd pgwatch2/pgwatch2
        # after fetching all the Go library dependencies (can take minutes)
        # an executable named "pgwatch2" should be generated. Additionally it's a good idea
        # to copy it to /usr/bin/pgwatch2-daemon as that's what the default SystemD service expects.
    • Configure a SystemD auto-start service (optional)

      Sample startup scripts can be found at /etc/pgwatch2/startup-scripts/pgwatch2.service or online here. Note that they are OS agnostic and might need some light adjustment of paths, etc - so always test them out.

  3. Boostrap the config DB

    1. Create a user to “own” the pgwatch2 schema

      Typically called pgwatch2 but can be anything really, if the schema creation file is adjusted accordingly.

      psql -c "create user pgwatch2 password 'xyz'"
      psql -c "create database pgwatch2 owner pgwatch2"
    2. Roll out the pgwatch2 config schema

      The schema will most importantly hold connection strings of DB-s to be monitored and the metric definitions.

      # FYI - one could get the below schema files also directly from Github
      # if re-using some existing remote Postgres instance where pgwatch2 was not installed
      psql -f /etc/pgwatch2/sql/config_store/config_store.sql pgwatch2
      psql -f /etc/pgwatch2/sql/config_store/metric_definitions.sql pgwatch2
  1. Bootstrap the metrics storage DB

    1. Create a dedicated database for storing metrics and a user to “own” the metrics schema

      Here again default scripts expect a role named “pgwatch2” but can be anything if to adjust the scripts.

      psql -c "create database pgwatch2_metrics owner pgwatch2"
    2. Roll out the pgwatch2 metrics storage schema

      This is a place to pause and first think how many databases will be monitored, i.e. how much data generated, and based on that one should choose an according metrics storage schema. There are a couple of different options available that are described here in detail, but the gist of it is that you don’t want too complex partitioning schemes if you don’t have zounds of data and don’t need the fastest queries. For a smaller amount of monitored DBs (a couple dozen to a hundred) the default “metric-time” is a good choice. For hundreds of databases, aggressive intervals, or long term storage usage of the TimescaleDB extension is recommended.

      cd /etc/pgwatch2/sql/metric_store
      psql -f roll_out_metric_time.psql pgwatch2_metrics

      NB! Default retention for Postgres storage is 2 weeks! To change, use the --pg-retention-days / PW2_PG_RETENTION_DAYS gatherer parameter.

  2. Prepare the “to-be-monitored” databases for metrics collection

    As a minimum we need a plain unprivileged login user. Better though is to grant the user also the pg_monitor system role, available on v10+. Superuser privileges should be normally avoided for obvious reasons of course, but for initial testing in safe environments it can make the initial preparation (automatic helper rollouts) a bit easier still, given superuser privileges are later stripped.

    NB! To get most out of your metrics some SECURITY DEFINER wrappers functions called “helpers” are recommended on the DB-s under monitoring. See the detailed chapter on the “preparation” topic here for more details.

  3. Install Python 3 and start the Web UI (optional)

    NB! The Web UI is not strictly required but makes life a lot easier for Config DB based setups. Technically it would be fine also to manage connection strings of the monitored DB-s directly in the “pgwatch2.monitored_db” table and add/adjust metrics in the “pgwatch2.metric” table, and Preset Configs in the “pgwatch2.preset_config” table.

    1. Install Python 3 and Web UI requirements

      # first we need Python 3 and "pip" - the Python package manager
      sudo apt install python3 python3-pip
      cd /etc/pgwatch2/webpy/
      sudo pip3 install -U -r requirements_pg_metrics.txt
      # NB! Replace with "requirements_influx_metrics.txt" if using InfluxDB to store metrics
    2. Exposing component logs (optional)

      For use cases where exposing the component (Grafana, Postgres, Influx, gatherer daemon, Web UI itself) logs over the “/logs” endpoint remotely is wanted, then in the custom setup mode some actual code changes are needed to specify where logs of all components are situated - see top of the file for that. Defaults are set to work with the Docker image.

    3. Start the Web UI

      # NB! The defaults assume a local Config DB named pgwatch2, DB user pgwatch2
      python3 --datastore=postgres --pg-metric-store-conn-str="dbname=pgwatch2_metrics user=pgwatch2"

      Default port for the Web UI: 8080. See --help for all options.

      target_session_attrs is set to read-write by default. This allows connecting to rw node when multiple (comma separated) hosts on -H / --host / PW2_PGHOST (i.e. config DB being PG cluster)

    4. Configure a SystemD auto-start service (optional)

      Sample startup scripts can be found at /etc/pgwatch2/webpy/startup-scripts/pgwatch2-webui.service or online here. Note that they are OS agnostic and always need some light adjustment of paths, etc - so always test them out.

  4. Configure DB-s and metrics / intervals to be monitored

    • From the Web UI “/dbs” page

    • Via direct inserts into the Config DB pgwatch2.monitored_db table

  5. Start the pgwatch2 metrics collection agent

    1. The gatherer has quite some parameters (use the --help flag to show them all), but simplest form would be:

      # default connections params expect a trusted localhost Config DB setup
      # so mostly the 2nd line is not needed actually
      pgwatch2-daemon \
        --host=localhost --user=pgwatch2 --dbname=pgwatch2 \
        --datastore=postgres --pg-metric-store-conn-str=postgresql://pgwatch2@localhost:5432/pgwatch2_metrics \
      # or via SystemD if set up in step #2
      useradd -m -s /bin/bash pgwatch2 # default SystemD templates run under the pgwatch2 user
      sudo systemctl start pgwatch2
      sudo systemctl status pgwatch2

      After initial verification that all works it’s usually good idea to set verbosity back to default by removing the verbose flag.

      Another tip to configure connection strings inside SystemD service files is to use the “systemd-escape” utility to escape special characters like spaces etc if using the LibPQ connect string syntax rather than JDBC syntax.

    2. Alternative start command when using InfluxDB storage:

      pgwatch2-daemon \
        --host=localhost --user=pgwatch2 --dbname=pgwatch2 \
        --datastore=influx \
        --ihost=my-influx-db --idbname=pgwatch2 --iuser=pgwatch2 --ipassword=xyz

      NB! pgwatch2 has also support for writing metrics into two separate Influx databases in parallel as the Open Source version has no HA options comparable to Postgres.

    3. Monitor the console or log output for any problems

      If you see metrics trickling into the “pgwatch2_metrics” database (metric names are mapped to table names and tables are auto-created), then congratulations - the deployment is working! When using some more aggressive preset metrics config then there are usually still some errors though, due to the fact that some more extensions or privileges are missing on the monitored database side. See the according chapter here.

    NB! When you’re compiling your own gatherer then the executable file will be named just pgwatch2 instead of pgwatch2-daemon to avoid mixups.

  1. Install Grafana

    1. Create a Postgres database to hold Grafana internal config, like dashboards etc

      Theoretically it’s not absolutely required to use Postgres for storing Grafana internal settings / dashboards, but doing so has 2 advantages - you can easily roll out all pgwatch2 built-in dashboards and one can also do remote backups of the Grafana configuration easily.

      psql -c "create user pgwatch2_grafana password 'xyz'"
      psql -c "create database pgwatch2_grafana owner pgwatch2_grafana"
    2. Follow the instructions from, basically something like:

      wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -
      echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/grafana.list
      sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install grafana
      # review / change config settings and security, etc
      sudo vi /etc/grafana/grafana.ini
      # start and enable auto-start on boot
      sudo systemctl daemon-reload
      sudo systemctl start grafana-server
      sudo systemctl status grafana-server

      Default Grafana port: 3000

    3. Configure Grafana config to use our pgwatch2_grafana DB

      Place something like below in the “[database]” section of /etc/grafana/grafana.ini

      type = postgres
      host = my-postgres-db:5432
      name = pgwatch2_grafana
      user = pgwatch2_grafana
      password = xyz

      Taking a look at [server], [security] and [auth*] sections is also recommended.

    4. Set up the pgwatch2 metrics database as the default datasource

      We need to tell Grafana where our metrics data is located. Add a datasource via the Grafana UI (Admin -> Data sources) or adjust and execute the “pgwatch2/bootstrap/grafana_datasource.sql” script on the pgwatch2_grafana DB.

    5. Add pgwatch2 predefined dashboards to Grafana

      This could be done by importing the pgwatch2 dashboard definition JSON-s manually, one by one, from the “grafana_dashboards” folder (“Import Dashboard” from the Grafana top menu) or via as small helper script located at /etc/pgwatch2/grafana-dashboards/ The script needs some adjustment for metrics storage type, connect data and file paths.

    6. Optionally install also Grafana plugins

      Currently one pre-configured dashboard (Biggest relations treemap) use an extra plugin - if planning to that dash, then run the following:

      grafana-cli plugins install savantly-heatmap-panel
    7. Start discovering the preset dashbaords

      If the previous step of launching pgwatch2 daemon succeeded and it was more than some minutes ago, one should already see some graphs on dashboards like “DB overview” or “DB overview Unprivileged / Developer mode” for example.

YAML based setup

From v1.4 one can also deploy the pgwatch2 gatherer daemons more easily in a de-centralized way, by specifying monitoring configuration via YAML files. In that case there is no need for a central Postgres “config DB”.

YAML installation steps

  1. Install pgwatch2 - either from pre-built packages or by compiling the Go code.

  2. Specify hosts you want to monitor and with which metrics / aggressivness in a YAML file or files, following the example config located at /etc/pgwatch2/config/instances.yaml or online here. Note that you can also use env. variables inside the YAML templates!

  3. Bootstrap the metrics storage DB (not needed it using Prometheus mode).

  4. Prepare the “to-be-monitored” databases for monitoring by creating a dedicated login role name as a minimum.

  5. Run the pgatch2 gatherer specifying the YAML config file (or folder), and also the folder where metric definitions are located. Default location: /etc/pgwatch2/metrics.

  6. Install and configure Grafana and import the pgwatch2 sample dashboards to start analyzing the metrics. See above for instructions.

  7. Make sure that there are auto-start SystemD services for all components in place and optionally set up also backups.

Relevant gatherer parameters / env. vars: --config / PW2_CONFIG and --metrics-folder / PW2_METRICS_FOLDER.

For details on individual steps like installing pgwatch2 see the above paragraph.

NB! The Web UI component cannot be used in file based mode.

Using InfluxDB for metrics storage

An alternative flow for the above examples would be to replace Postgres metrics storage with InfluxDB. This might be a good idea when you have hundreds of databases to monitor or want to use very aggressive intervals as InfluxDB has the smallest disk footprint of the supported options (with more CPU / RAM usage though). See the Sizing recommendations chapter for indicative numbers.

  1. Install InfluxDB (the Open Source version)

    1. From project package repositories:

    Follow the instructions from or just download and install the latest package:

    1. Or directly from the packages:

      INFLUX_LATEST=$(curl -so- \
                        | jq .tag_name | grep -oE '[0-9\.]+')
      sudo dpkg -i influxdb_${INFLUX_LATEST}_amd64.deb
  2. Review / adjust the config and start the server

    Take a look at the default config located at /etc/influxdb/influxdb.conf and edit per use case / hardware needs. Most importantly one should enable authentication if not running InfluxDB on the same host as the collector or to set the server to listen only on localhost (the bind-address parameter).

    Also changing the wal-fsync-delay parameter usually makes sense to get better performance, as metric data is usually something where we can in the worst case lose the latest half a second of data without problems.

    See here for more information on configuring InfluxDB.

  3. Create a non-root user, a metrics database and a retention policy (optional)

    If security is topic one should create a separate non-root login user (e.g. “pgwatch2”) to be used by the metrics gathering daemon to store metrics. See here for details on creating new users.

    If going that road one also needs to create manually a database and a retention policy to go with it as by default old metrics data is not purged. These tasks by the way are also tried by the pgwatch2 daemon automatically, but will fail if not an admin user.

    Sample commands:

    CREATE USER pgwatch2 WITH PASSWORD 'qwerty'
    GRANT READ ON pgwatch2 TO pgwatch2
    GRANT WRITE ON pgwatch2 TO pgwatch2

Default port for the InfluxDB client API: 8086