PostgreSQL WAL Files Backup - User Guide for VMware

Feb 4, 2021
Corporate Practices


Welcome to the comprehensive user guide on performing PostgreSQL WAL (Write-Ahead Logging) files backup using VMware. This guide is brought to you by ClubMaxSEO, a trusted provider of SEO services for businesses and consumers, specializing in optimizing website content for improved visibility and search engine rankings.

Why Backup PostgreSQL WAL Files?

In order to ensure the safety and integrity of your PostgreSQL database, it is crucial to regularly backup the WAL files. The WAL files contain the changes made to the database and are essential for recovery in case of system failures or data corruption. By backing up the WAL files, you can restore the database to a specific point in time, minimizing the risk of data loss.

Understanding PostgreSQL WAL Files

Before we dive into the backup process, let's gain a basic understanding of what WAL files are and how they function within PostgreSQL.

WAL files, also known as Write-Ahead Logs, are a feature of PostgreSQL that provides durability and crash recovery capabilities. They ensure that changes to the database are logged before the actual modifications are made to the data itself. This logging mechanism allows PostgreSQL to recover the database to a consistent state, even in the event of system failures or unexpected shutdowns.

Backup Methods

There are multiple methods available for backing up PostgreSQL WAL files when utilizing VMware. Let's explore some of the most commonly used methods:

1. Using pg_basebackup

One method to backup WAL files is by utilizing the pg_basebackup utility provided by PostgreSQL. This utility allows you to take a base backup of the PostgreSQL instance, including all the necessary WAL files, and transfer them to a designated backup location. This method provides a full backup of the database and ensures that all the WAL files required for restoration are included.

2. Leveraging VMware Snapshots

Another approach is to leverage VMware's snapshot feature to back up WAL files. By creating a snapshot of the virtual machine running PostgreSQL, you can capture the current state of the database, including the WAL files. This method offers a convenient way to restore the database to a specific point in time by reverting to the snapshot.

3. Combination of Continuous Archiving and WAL Shipping

In some scenarios, it may be beneficial to implement a combination of continuous archiving and WAL shipping. Continuous archiving involves continuously copying the WAL files to an archive location using the archive_command configuration parameter. With WAL shipping, these archived WAL files are then transported to a remote standby server, providing an additional layer of redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities.

Best Practices for PostgreSQL WAL Files Backup

To ensure a successful backup process and mitigate the risk of data loss, it is recommended to follow these best practices:

1. Regularly Schedule Backups

Establish a regular backup schedule to ensure that the PostgreSQL WAL files are consistently backed up. By having a predefined backup frequency, you can maintain an up-to-date backup of the database, minimizing the potential data loss.

2. Store Backups on Separate Storage

It is crucial to store the backup files on a separate storage medium, preferably on a different physical server or in the cloud. This safeguards the backup from being affected by the same system failures or disasters that impact the production database.

3. Test Your Backups

To validate the integrity of your backup process, perform regular tests to restore the database from the backed-up WAL files. By simulating a recovery scenario, you can ensure that the backup files are usable and the restoration process is properly documented.

4. Monitor Backup Metrics

Implement monitoring and alerting mechanisms to track the backup success rate, backup completion time, and any potential errors or warnings. By closely monitoring these metrics, you can quickly identify issues and take proactive measures to rectify them.


In conclusion, backing up PostgreSQL WAL files is crucial for maintaining the safety and integrity of your database. By following the best practices and utilizing the appropriate backup methods, such as using pg_basebackup, leveraging VMware snapshots, or implementing continuous archiving and WAL shipping, you can ensure that your data remains protected and recoverable.

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Jason Smith
Great guide for PostgreSQL backup!
Nov 8, 2023
Sanjeev Wadhwa
The clear instructions make it easy for users at any level to follow along.
Oct 22, 2023
Shauna Hill
Is there a specific frequency recommended for performing WAL backups?
Oct 18, 2023
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Oct 4, 2023
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Is there a way to automate the backup process using VMware tools?
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