Installing PostgreSQL 9.1 on Debian 6.0 with Chef

11/8/2014 Update: Ignore all the babbling below and just install it from the PGDG repo.

node.set[:postgresql][:enable_pgdg_apt] = true
node.set[:postgresql][:version] = '9.1'
node.from_file(run_context.resolve_attribute('postgresql', 'default'))

include_recipe 'postgresql::server'

Original content follows…

On a project I’ve been working on I needed to get PostgreSQL updated from 8.4 to 9.anything on a Debian 6.0 system. 8.4 is the most up-to-date package on this particular system. Googling around didn’t turn anything up so this is a documentation of what I did to get it installed using Chef.

I’m assuming you’re using the postgresql cookbook and the apt cookbook.

One of the first things that you’ll probably run into while searching for a solution is the Debian Backports project. This is a repository of backported packages that will run on an older Debian system. This is where you’ll find packages for PostgreSQL 9.1. You’ll need to add this repository to APT. Add a new file called cookbooks/postgresql/recipes/squeeze_backports.rb with the following contents

apt_repository "squeeze-backports" do
  uri ""
  distribution "squeeze-backports"
  components ["main"]

You could add this recipe everywhere you use postgresql::server or postgresql::client, but I chose to just include it at the top of each of those recipes

include_recipe "postgresql::squeeze_backports"

Now with that repository you can install the packages using the -t option of apt-get. Unfortunately I couldn’t find an easy way for the package resource in chef to do this unobtrusively since it doesn’t look in our backports repository to figure out what version to install. I did find a bug report in Chef discussing this and a fix for it, but it wasn’t fixed in the version I was using. So we’ll do it the DevOps way and hack it…in cookbooks/postgresql/recipes/client.rb I replaced:

node['postgresql']['client']['packages'].each do |pg_pack|
  package pg_pack


execute "install postgresql-client from backports" do
  command "apt-get -t squeeze-backports install postgresql-client -y"
  not_if "dpkg-query -W postgresql-client|grep -q postgresql-client.+"

execute "install libpq-dev from backports" do
  command "apt-get -t squeeze-backports install libpq-dev -y"
  not_if "dpkg-query -W libpq-dev|grep -q libpq-dev.+"

and in cookbooks/postgresql/server_debian.rb I replaced:

node['postgresql']['server']['packages'].each do |pg_pack|
  package pg_pack


execute "install postgresql-server from backports" do
  command "apt-get -t squeeze-backports install postgresql -y"
  not_if "dpkg-query -W postgresql|grep -q postgresql.+"

One last thing you’ll need to do is make sure the PostgreSQL version is set correctly in cookbooks/postgresql/attributes/default.rb which just means removing the check for debian 6.0 so it defaults to 9.1. It ends up looking something like:

when "debian"

  when node['platform_version'].to_f <= 5.0
    default['postgresql']['version'] = "8.3"
    default['postgresql']['version'] = "9.1"

Given all of those changes and if all the moons line up then on your next chef client run you should have version 9.1 installed. Good luck and please add a comment if there is a more elegant way that I missed.