Cyan Audit Logo


Cyan Audit provides an easy-to-use SQL-searchable log of who changed your data and when. It is a stable, powerful and mature DML logging extension for PostgreSQL 9.6+.

Cyan Audit is written entirely in pl/pgsql and is trigger-based, so it does not require admin privileges at the cluster or system levels.

Basic Usage

Install Cyan Audit:

$ tar zxvf
$ cd cyanaudit-X.X
$ ./ -d dbname [ -h dbhost -p dbport -U dbuser ]

Turn on logging for schemas public and app_schema:

app_db# select cyanaudit.fn_update_audit_fields('public');
app_db# select cyanaudit.fn_update_audit_fields('app_schema');

Search the logs by querying the view vw_audit_log:

app_db=# select recorded, txid, table_name, column_name, pk_vals, op, old_value, new_value
app_db-#   from cyanaudit.vw_audit_log
app_db-#  where recorded > now() - interval '5 min' -- less than 5 min ago
app_db-#    and pk_vals[1] = '7' -- the modified row's pk value is '7'
app_db-#    and table_name = 'employees'
app_db-#    and column_name = 'family_name';
         recorded          |  txid   | table_name | column_name | pk_vals | op | old_value | new_value
 2016-02-06 16:07:32.63177 | 1901268 | employees  | family_name | {7}     | U  | Riley     | Chase
(1 row)

The audit log view looks like this:

| Column      | Description  
| recorded    | clock_timestamp of each logged operation.  
| uid         | UID of application user, set with SELECT fn_set_current_uid(uid). 
| user_email  | Derived from uid (see GUC SETTINGS below for configuring).  
| txid        | Indexed for easy lookup.  
| table_name  | Affected table (schema-qualified if not in search_path)
| column_name | Column whose values are given in old_value and new_value.
| pk_vals[]   | affected row's pk values (after update) cast as text.
| op          | operation ('I', 'U', or 'D')  
| old_value   | NULL on 'I'. Never NULL on 'D'. IS DISTINCT FROM new_value.
| new_value   | NULL on 'D'. Never NULL on 'I'. IS DISTINCT FROM old_value.

With \pset format wrapped, these columns fit nicely across a ~200 col display

Disable logging for a particularly noisy column:

UPDATE cyanaudit.tb_audit_field
   SET enabled = false
 WHERE table_schema = 'app_schema'
   AND table_name = 'customers'
   AND column_name = 'last_modified';

Disable logging for the current session:

SET cyanaudit.enabled = 0;

Play back the inverse of your last transaction:

SELECT cyanaudit.fn_undo_transaction( cyanaudit.fn_get_last_txid() );

Shorthand for above:

SELECT cyanaudit.fn_undo_last_transaction();

Application Hooks

Set uid value to 42 for all subsequent activity in the current session:

SELECT cyanaudit.fn_set_current_uid( 42 );

Set the description for all future DML in this transaction:

SELECT cyanaudit.fn_set_transaction_label( 'Change last name' );

Set the description for all past, unlabled DML in this transaction:

SELECT cyanaudit.fn_label_transaction( 'User disabled due to inactivity' );

Set the label for all unlabled DML in this session's last logged transaction:

SELECT cyanaudit.fn_label_last_transaction( 'User enabled' );

Un-set uid and last txid, turn logging back on:


Final Configuration Steps

Tell Cyan Audit how to populate vw_audit_log.user_email based on logged uids:

UPDATE cyanaudit.tb_config SET value = 'users'          where name = 'user_table'
UPDATE cyanaudit.tb_config SET value = 'user'           where name = 'user_table_uid_col'
UPDATE cyanaudit.tb_config SET value = 'email_address'  where name = 'user_table_email_col''

Enable setting uid automatically when current_user matches users.username:

UPDATE cyanaudit.tb_config SET value = 'username' WHERE name = 'user_table_username_col';

Set the tablespace to which rotated logs will be moved:

ALTER DATABASE mydb SET cyanaudit.archive_tablespace        = 'big_n_slow';

Cause all sessions to reload settings by forcing reconnect (optional):

SELECT pg_terminate_backend(pid) 
  FROM pg_stat_activity 
 WHERE pid != pg_backend_pid()
   AND datname = current_database();

Re-scan for schema changes in all tracked schemas:

SELECT cyanaudit.fn_update_audit_fields();

Set up :logwhere alias by customizing this line & adding to your .psqlrc:

\set logwhere 'select recorded, uid, user_email, txid, description, table_schema, table_name, column_name, pk_vals, op, old_value, new_value from cyanaudit.vw_audit_log where' 

Use the :logwhere alias (previous step) to see all activity from the last 5 minutes:

app_db# :logwhere recorded > now() - interval '5 min';

Log Maintenance

Cyan Audit's logs are divided (sharded) into partitions, which are created every time you run If you ran it at 2016-01-10 09:00, it would create a new partition called cyanaudit.tb_audit_event_20160110_0900.

Cron to rotate logs weekly, dropping archive tables over 10 in quantity, over 20GB in size, and over 30 days in age:

0 0 * * 0  /usr/pgsql-X.X/bin/ -U postgres -d app_db -n 10 -s 20 -a 30

Cron to back up logs nightly (skips tables already having current backup):

5 0 * * *  /usr/pgsql-X.X/bin/ -U postgres -d app_db /mnt/backups/cyanaudit/app_db/

Restore a couple backup files to an existing Cyan Audit installation:

# /usr/pgsql/9.3/bin/ -U postgres -d app_db \
    /mnt/backups/cyanaudit/app_db/tb_audit_event_20180101_1200.gz \

Reinstalling or Upgrading Cyan Audit In Place

If you wish to reinstall Cyan Audit without dropping it, simply re-run the install script and it will automatically re-install the same version you currently have installed:

./ -d app_db -U postgres

If you'd like to upgrade an existing installation, simply use the -V flag with the version you'd like to install:

./ -d app_db -U postgres -V 2.2

Uninstalling Cyan Audit

Cyan Audit lives entirely in the cyanaudit schema, and can be dropped as follows:

psql> DROP SCHEMA cyanaudit CASCADE

Cyan Audit's scripts can be removed as follows:

# rm /var/lib/psql-X.X/bin/[cC]yanaudit*

Removing & Reinstalling Cyan Audit

Sometimes a completely fresh install might be needed (please report the bug if so). In this case, it will involve a little bit of downtime, but you can back up all of your logs, remove, reinstall and restore the logs, as follows:

  1. Rotate logs using
  2. Back up all logs using
  3. Shut down database access (e.g. by turning off pgbouncer)
  4. Run again to catch the last bit of logs
  5. Install new cyanaudit scripts using ./ from cyanaudit directory
  6. Create backup of cyanaudit.tb_audit_field (for the enabled values) and cyanaudit.tb_config for the new installation:
    CREATE TABLE public.tb_audit_field_backup AS SELECT * FROM cyanaudit.tb_audit_field;
    CREATE TABLE public.tb_cyanaudit_config_backup AS SELECT * FROM cyanaudit.tb_config;
  7. DROP SCHEMA cyanaudit CASCADE;
  8. ./ -d app_db -h localhost
  9. select fn_update_audit_fields('public') # (Also run this for any other schema being logged)
  10. Restore the configs from your backups of tb_audit_field and tb_config:
    UPDATE cyanaudit.tb_audit_field af
       SET enabled = afb.enabled
      FROM public.tb_audit_field_backup afb
     WHERE afb.table_schema = af.table_schema
       AND afb.table_name = af.table_name
       AND afb.column_name = af.column_name;
    UPDATE cyanaudit.tb_config c
       SET value = ccb.value
      FROM public.tb_cyanaudit_config_backup ccb
     WHERE =;
  11. Re-enable database access (e.g. restart pgbouncer)
  12. TEST THE SYSTEM. Log in. See if things are being logged.
  13. Restore old logs using, remembering to restore only as much logs as are normally kept on the server (not the whole history!)

Important Notes

  • When using with pgbouncer or other connnection poolers, you must use session-level pooling (not statement-level or transaction-level) for fn_set_current_uid() and fn_label_last_txid() to have any effect. Additionally, you must have the pooler issue a DISCARD ALL command to reset the persistent server connection after a client disconnects.

  • fn_update_audit_fields() will hold an exclusive lock on all of your tables until the function returns. On a test database with about 3500 columns, this took 12 seconds. Please make sure you run this at a time when it is acceptable for your tables to be locked for up to a minute.

  • When Cyan Audit finds a new column (e.g. during fn_update_audit_fields()), it will decide the default value for enabled as follows:

    If any column on same table is enabled, then true.
    Else If we know of fields on this table but all are inactive, then false.
    Else If we know of no fields in this table, then:
        If any field in same schema is enabled, then true.
        Else If we know of fields in this schema but all are inactive, then false.
        Else true
  • When querying vw_audit_log, being as specific as possible about your table_name and column_name will greatly speed up search results.


  • Cyan Audit is released under the PostgreSQL license. Please see the accompanying LICENSE file for more details.

  • Cyan Audit is written and maintained by Moshe Jacobson --

  • Development sponsored by Nead Werx, Inc. --