SLE PostgreSQL 16

PostgreSQL 16 container based on the SLE Base Container Image.

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PostgreSQL 16 Container Image

Support Level SLSA Provenance: Available


PostgreSQL (often spelled as Postgres) is an extensible and SQL-compliant relational database management system (RDBMS).

PostgreSQL implements most of the SQL:2011 standard, and the RDBMS is ACID-compliant and transactional (including most DDL statements). The latter prevents locking issues using multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) as well as provides immunity to dirty reads and full serializability. PostgreSQL can handle complex SQL queries using different indexing methods that are not available in other databases. It features updateable views and materialized views, triggers, and foreign keys. The RDBMS supports functions and stored procedures. PostgreSQL's functionality can be extended using a vast collection of available extensions.


By default, the image launches PostgreSQL with the same configuration that comes with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The only environment variable required to start the container is the PostgreSQL root password.

$ podman run -it --rm -p 5432:5432 -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=my-password -v /path/to/data:/var/lib/pgsql/data:Z



PostgreSQL data directory location.

Environment variables

The PostgreSQL image uses several environment variables to configure the database initialization.

The only mandatory variable is POSTGRES_PASSWORD; other environment variables are optional.


The POSTGRES_PASSWORD environment variable is required to use the PostgreSQL image. It must not be empty or undefined. This environment variable sets the superuser password for PostgreSQL.


This optional environment variable is used in conjunction with POSTGRES_PASSWORD to set a user and its password. This variable creates the specified user with superuser power and a database with the same name. If it is not specified, the default user of postgres is used.


This optional environment variable can be used to define a different name for the default database created when the image is first started. If it is not specified, the value of POSTGRES_USER is used.


This optional environment variable can be used to send arguments to postgres initdb. The value is a space-separated string of arguments as postgres initdb expects them. This is useful for adding actions like data page checksums: -e POSTGRES_INITDB_ARGS="--data-checksums".


This optional environment variable can be used to define another location for the Postgres transaction log. By default, the transaction log is stored in a subdirectory of the main Postgres data folder (PGDATA). In certain situations, it is desirable to store the transaction log in a different directory that may be backed by storage with different performance or reliability characteristics.


This optional variable can be used to control the auth-method for host connections for all databases, users, and addresses. If unspecified, the scram-sha-256 password authentication is used.

On an uninitialized database, this populates pg_hba.conf via this approximate line:

echo "host all all all $POSTGRES_HOST_AUTH_METHOD" >> pg_hba.conf

For more information about possible values and their meanings, refer to the PostgreSQL documentation on password Authentication and pg_hba.conf.

Note 1: If you set POSTGRES_HOST_AUTH_METHOD to trust, then POSTGRES_PASSWORD is not required, since it allows anyone to connect without a password.

Note 2: If you set POSTGRES_HOST_AUTH_METHOD to an alternative value, you might need additional POSTGRES_INITDB_ARGS for the database to initialize correctly.


The value for this variable is /var/lib/pgsql/data. This location is a volume and another location is currently not supported.

Sensitive information

As an alternative to passing sensitive information via environment variables, _FILE can be appended to POSTGRES_INITDB_ARGS, POSTGRES_PASSWORD, POSTGRES_USER, and POSTGRES_DB environment variables. This makes the initialization script load the values for those variables from files present in the container. To, e.g., pass the password securely, you can store the password in a secret called postgress-pw and launch the container as follows:

$ podman run -it --rm
    -p 5432:5432 \
    -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD_FILE=/run/secrets/postgress-pw \
    --secret postgress-pw \
    -v /path/to/data:/var/lib/pgsql/data:Z \

Health, liveness, and readiness

There is one explicit health check added to the container image. This check executes the pg_isready for host localhost and port 5432.

The utility pg_isread checks the connection status of the server, and the exit status specifies the result of the connection check.

Initialization scripts

To perform additional initialization in an image derived from this one, add one or more *.sql, *.sql.gz, or *.sh scripts under /docker-entrypoint-initdb.d. After the entrypoint calls initdb to create the default PostgreSQL user and database, it runs any *.sql files, runs any executable *.sh scripts, and sources any non-executable *.sh scripts found in that directory to perform further initialization before starting the service.

Warning: Scripts in /docker-entrypoint-initdb.d are only executed when you start the container with an empty data directory. Any pre-existing databases are left untouched when the container starts.

Note: If one of the /docker-entrypoint-initdb.d scripts fails, and the container restarts with the already initialized data directory, it aborts the running scripts.

Database configuration

For information on the available configuration options, refer to the PostgreSQL documentation covering the specific version of your PostgreSQL server.

Below is a list of the most common configuration options:

  • Set options directly on the container run line via -c.
  • Use a custom configuration file and mount it.

Note: Configuration files (, postgresql.conf, pg_hba.conf, and pg_ident.conf) are stored in the location defined in PGDATA.

Backup and restore

The utilities pg_dump and pg_dumpall are available in the container.

To dump the entire contents of a database cluster, run the following command:

$ podman exec -t $CONTAINER_ID pg_dumpall -c -U $POSTGRES_USER > dump.sql

To restore a dump, run the following command:

$ cat dump.sql | podman exec -i $CONTAINER_ID psql -U $POSTGRES_USER -d $POSTGRES_DB

For more information on how to perform backup and restore, refer to the PostgreSQL documentation.


SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT

This documentation and the build recipe are licensed as MIT. The container itself contains various software components under various open source licenses listed in the associated Software Bill of Materials (SBOM).

This image is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, a reliable, secure, and scalable server operating system built to power mission-critical workloads in physical and virtual environments.

  • Image Data

    Last Built: 13 Jun 15:51 UTC

    Size: 141.5 MB

    Support Level: Acc

  • Health Index

    Last Scan:

    about 13 hours ago