This article is meant to be a short tutorial on how to setup PG/Q for your databases.

PG/Q is a PostgreSQL module providing a queuing system. It’s developed by Skype and published under the terms of the BSD license.

It’s part of the SkyTools package.


  • You need root privileges on your database server
  • PG/Q uses a ticker process to distribute the events to the consumers. That’s why you have be able to run a daemon process on the database server.
  • The pgqadm python script is called if you’re not installing the .deb from the Debian Sid repositories
  • If you find errors in this howto, please contact me

SkyTools Installation

There are package in debian sid that’ll do the trick (called skytools and skytools-modules-8.3) but however, if your debian doesn’t provice packages or you just want a more recent version, here’s how to build the debian packages yourself:

Download SkyTools

Go to the download page and download the most recent source package.

Unzip it either graphically or with the following command:

tar xfz skytools-2.1.9.tar.gz

Change to the newly extracted directory:

cd skytools-2.1.9

Building the package

To make sure you’ve got the required dependencies installed, run (as root):

apt-get install postgresql libpq-dev postgresql-server-dev-8.3 python python-dev

And for the Package creation:

apt-get install devscripts yada

After that you just have to start the build process using

make deb83

If you’ve got an older/newer postgresql-server version, deb82, deb81 or anything like that.

After make is finished, there should be two .deb files in the parent directory:

cd ..
ls -l *.deb

will output something like that:

-rw-r--r-- 1 manuel manuel 136304 16. Jul 09:52 skytools_2.1.9_i386.deb
-rw-r--r-- 1 manuel manuel  47572 16. Jul 09:52 skytools-modules-8.3_2.1.9_i386.deb

Now just run dpkg -i to install them:

dpkg -i skytools_2.1.9_i386.deb skytools-modules-8.3_2.1.9_i386.deb

Create pgqadm configuration

pgqadm is a command line tool for PG/Q that helps you setup your database and provides an event ticker to distribute the events to the consumers.

I recommend to create a new user for pgqadmin:

adduser --system pgqadm
su pgqadm -s /bin/bash
cd ~
mkdir cfg log pid

and in your database:


It’s not necessary to provide a password for pgqadm because we’ll use IDENT authentication to connect to the database (unless you’ve configured your system not to).

pgqadm needs a config file for every database it should manage:


# part of the .pid file, should be globally unique
job_name = pgqadm_dbname

# database connection string
db = dbname=dbname

# how often to run maintenance [minutes]
maint_delay_min = 5

# how often to check for activity [secs]
loop_delay = 0.1

logfile = ~/log/%(job_name)s.log
pidfile = ~/pid/%(job_name)

use_skylog = 0

Modify the config file to suit your needs and save it (e.g. as /home/pgqadm/cfg/dbname.ini).

Setup your Database

To enable PG/Q for your database, several tables and functions have to be created. pgqadm does this for you if you invoke

pgqadm /home/pgqadm/cfg/dbname.ini install

Autostart pgqadm ticker daemon

Unless the pgqadm ticker is started, no events can be recieved.

I’d recommend writing an init script to start it for all your databases:

save this script as /etc/init.d/pgqadm_ticker and make it executable:

chmod +x /etc/init.d/pgqadm_ticker

use update-rc.d to automatically start it

update-rc.d pgqadm_ticker defaults

That should be it. Now just start the deamon manually (you just need to do this the first time)

/etc/init.d/pgqadm_ticker start

Use PG/Q

The following commands are all SQL statements.

It’s also possible to use pgqadm for these tasks. Read the manual page of pgqadm for further help.

First you have to create a queue:


Producer side

After that, events can be created (e.g. in trigger functions):

pgq.insert_event('queueName', 'eventType', 'data');

Consumer side

To receive events, you have to register a “Consumer”:

pgq.register_consumer('queueName', 'consumerName');

Every consumer will receive all of the events.


int8 batchId;
-- infinite loop
  batchId = pgq.next_batch('queueName', 'consumerName');
  if (batchId == null) then sleep(delayInterval);
  else {

-- end infinite loop