Performance Tuning PostgreSQL Containers in a Docker Environment

Pankaj kushwaha
2 min readMar 21, 2023

Performance tuning PostgreSQL containers in a Docker environment involves optimizing both the container and the PostgreSQL configuration to ensure that the database runs efficiently. Here are some tips to help you get the best performance from your PostgreSQL containers:

  1. Assign resources wisely: Use the --memory and --cpus flags to allocate appropriate resources to the PostgreSQL container. Make sure the container has enough memory and CPU resources to handle the workload without causing resource contention with other containers or the host system.
  • docker run --memory=4g --cpus=4 ...
  1. Use a dedicated volume for data storage: For improved I/O performance, use a dedicated volume or mount a host directory to store PostgreSQL data. This ensures data persistence and enables better disk I/O performance.
  • docker run -v /path/to/host/directory:/var/lib/postgresql/data ...
  1. Optimize PostgreSQL configuration: Create a custom postgresql.conf file with optimized settings for your workload. Some important settings to consider are:
  • shared_buffers: Increase the shared memory buffer to accommodate more data in memory.
  • effective_cache_size: Increase the cache size to improve the planner's decisions.
  • work_mem: Increase the working memory to allow for more complex query operations.
  • maintenance_work_mem: Increase the maintenance memory to speed up vacuum and index creation operations.
  • max_connections: Adjust the maximum allowed connections based on your application's needs.
  • checkpoint_completion_target: Increase the checkpoint completion target to spread checkpoint I/O over a longer period.
  1. Mount the custom configuration file to the container and point to it using the POSTGRES_CONFIG_FILE environment variable:
  • docker run -v /path/to/custom/postgresql.conf:/etc/postgresql/postgresql.conf -e POSTGRES_CONFIG_FILE=/etc/postgresql/postgresql.conf ...
  1. Use connection pooling: Employ a connection pooling solution, like PgBouncer or Pgpool-II, to reduce connection overhead and improve performance. This can be done by running a separate container for the connection pooler and linking it to the PostgreSQL container.
  2. Enable JIT compilation: Enable Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation in PostgreSQL to improve query performance for complex workloads. Add the following settings to your custom postgresql.conf file:
  • jit = on max_jit_above_cost = 100000
  • min_jit_inline_above_cost = 100000
  • jit_inline_above_cost = 50000
  1. Utilize proper indexing: Make sure your database schema has proper indexing to speed up query performance. Regularly analyze and optimize your indexing strategy based on query patterns and access frequency.
  2. Vacuum and analyze: Regularly vacuum and analyze your database to keep the statistics up-to-date and to remove dead rows. This helps the PostgreSQL query planner make better decisions.
  3. Monitor performance: Use monitoring tools like docker stats, pg_stat_statements, or third-party solutions to track your PostgreSQL container's performance. Regular monitoring helps identify performance bottlenecks and areas for improvement.

By following these performance tuning tips, you can optimize your PostgreSQL containers in a Docker environment, ensuring efficient and responsive database operations for your applications.

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Pankaj kushwaha

Database/System Administrator | DevOPS | Cloud Specialist | DevOPS