Adding a new database

From time to time, you may need to add a new database to the internal PostgreSQL instance.

Before you do, ask yourself how valuable the data is. The internal PostgreSQL service is not intended to be highly available or extremely reliable. It’s designed for persistent storage for low-value data such as the JupyterHub session database, where the worst thing that happens after data loss is that users lose running sessions and may have to reauthenticate.

Assuming that the internal PostgreSQL is indeed the right choice for your needs, there are several steps.

Decide on a database name

The service requires a database name, a username, and a password. Usually the database name and user should be identical and should match the application that will consume the database (for example, gafaelfawr or exposurelog). We will use exposurelog as the model for the remainder of this document.

Add the database to the deployment

Go to the applications/postgres/templates directory and edit deployment.yaml to add an entry for the new database. You should copy an existing entry to get the syntax correct, and then change the names. The result should look like this:

{{- with .Values.exposurelog_db }}
  value: {{ .user }}
  value: {{ .db }}
      name: "postgres"
      key: "exposurelog_password"
{{- end }}

Add the secret for the database

Both the postgres Phalanx application and any applications that talk to that database need to share a secret for the database password.

Pick one of the applications that uses the database as the primary owner for that password. Add a new entry to secrets.yaml for that password. For example, the entry for the database password in the exposurelog application looks like this:

  description: "Password for the exposurelog database."
    type: password

Then, add an entry to applications/postgres/secrets.yaml that copies this secret into a postgres application secret. For example:

  description: "Password for the exposurelog database."
  if: exposurelog_db
    application: exposurelog
    key: exposurelog_password

If any other applications also need to use the same database, add a similar entry to their secrets.yaml files with a copy directive.

Generate the new secret and update the Vault secrets to include it by following the standard secrets sync process.

Finally, edit the postgres values-environment.yaml files for the environments that need this database and add a section for your new database with appropriate user and db entries:

  user: "exposurelog"
  db: "exposurelog"

Now start the PR and review process.

Restart with new values

Now it’s finally time to synchronize PostgreSQL in each environment. All you should need to do is sync the application in Argo CD.

This will cause a brief service interruption in the cluster while the deployment is recreated with additional environment variables and PostgreSQL restarts. You may therefore want to wait for a maintenance window.

Once PostgreSQL restarts, the new database will be present, with the user and password set. At that point it is ready for use by your new application.