Comprehensive Guide to Implementing LVM-Based Backups for PostgreSQL: Ensuring Data Consistency and Minimizing Downtime

“Mastering the art of LVM backups in PostgreSQL is not just about securing data; it’s about achieving seamless data consistency, minimizing downtime, and ensuring that your database can stand resilient in the face of adversity. It’s the silent guardian of your database’s integrity, making it an indispensable tool in the toolkit of every PostgreSQL administrator.”

MinervaDB Data SRE

Logical Volume Manager (LVM) is a device mapper that provides logical volume management for the Linux kernel. Using LVM for backup purposes can be beneficial for PostgreSQL databases as it enables consistent snapshots, which are crucial for point-in-time recovery. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to implement LVM backup in PostgreSQL:

1. Pre-requisites:

  • Ensure LVM is installed on your system.
  • Confirm that your PostgreSQL data directory is on an LVM logical volume.
  • Make sure you have enough free space in the volume group for the snapshot.

2. Stop Database Writes (Optional):

  • This step is optional but recommended for ensuring consistency. You can momentarily stop all write operations or set your database to read-only mode.
  • In PostgreSQL, you can use pg_start_backup(‘label’) to prepare for a backup and halt all writes.

3. Create LVM Snapshot:

  • Use the lvcreate command to create an LVM snapshot. Here’s an example:
  • Replace 10G with the size of the snapshot, and adjust the volume group and logical volume names according to your setup.

4. Mount the Snapshot:

  • Create a mount point and mount the snapshot:

5. Resume Database Writes (Optional):

  • If you’ve stopped writes or set your database to read-only mode in step 2, you can now resume normal operations.
  • Use pg_stop_backup() in PostgreSQL to end the backup mode.

6. Copy Backup Data:

  • Use rsync or another file copy tool to copy the data from the snapshot to your backup location:

7. Unmount and Remove Snapshot:

  • After copying the data, unmount the snapshot and remove it:

8. Verify the Backup:

  • Ensure that all files have been copied correctly and that the backup is complete and consistent.

9. Test Recovery (Optional but Recommended):

  • To ensure that your backup is valid, try restoring it on a different server or environment and verify that PostgreSQL starts correctly and that the data is intact.


Implementing LVM backup for PostgreSQL allows you to create consistent backups with minimal impact on the running database. However, it’s crucial to monitor the size of the snapshot, as if it fills up, it will become invalid. Always test your backups regularly to ensure they can be restored in the event of a disaster.

About Shiv Iyer 452 Articles
Open Source Database Systems Engineer with a deep understanding of Optimizer Internals, Performance Engineering, Scalability and Data SRE. Shiv currently is the Founder, Investor, Board Member and CEO of multiple Database Systems Infrastructure Operations companies in the Transaction Processing Computing and ColumnStores ecosystem. He is also a frequent speaker in open source software conferences globally.