WalT server database

The section describes the database used by the WALT server.

General information

The database management system is postgresql. The systemd service name depends on the potgresql version, but you can type the following to find it:

$ systemctl status postgresql*main.service

All interaction is performed by subprocess server-db of walt-server-daemon. See walt help show dev-server for more information about those python processes.

Initialization code

WALT uses the defaut configuration of postgresql, unchanged.

However, the first time walt-server-daemon is started, it performs the following:

  • create a database user called root

  • create a database called walt and owned by root

  • create the tables and indexes

The relevant code is in server/walt/server/processes/db/postgres.py and server/walt/server/processes/db/db.py.

In case of a WALT version upgrade, the startup code in db.py may also perform a few modifications to the table and indexes when restarted for the first time.

Postgresql upgrades

When an OS upgrade is needed, walt-server-setup takes care of upgrading the WALT database to the new version of postgresql.

Connecting to the database, for debugging

When connected as root@walt-server, one can connect to the database using:

# psql walt
psql (15.6 (Debian 15.6-0+deb12u1))
Saisissez « help » pour l'aide.


By default, postgresql configuration allows connecting without a password when the OS user matches the database user; this is what happens here.

Alternatively, you can use walt advanced sql.

Basic postgresql usage tips

To list database tables use:

walt=> \dt

For details about a given table (columns, primary and foreign keys, indexes), use:

walt=> \d <table-name>

You can also obviously run SQL queries.

Notes about walt tables

The central table is devices. It gives the mac, ip, name, type and config of all devices detected on the network. Those devices include the nodes (type='node'), the server itself (type='server'), the network switches (type='switch'), and the other devices (type='unknown'). The primary key is mac, and it is referenced by foreign key constraints on most of the other tables.

Nodes have a dedicated table indicating which image they boot, their model (e.g. rpi-2-b) and a foreign key to devices.mac.

Switches also have a dedicated table.

Table images is a list of walt images (i.e. images in the registry managed by podman on the server).

Table switchports indicates the switch port names the user configured using walt device port-config.

Table poeoff indicates the reason why PoE is currently disabled on a given switch port (can be ‘powersave’, ‘poe-reboot’, etc). This information is relevant only until PoE is restored on the switch port; at this time, the table row is removed. It is useful for instance to avoid attempting soft-reboot when the node already has PoE off; and for the server to restore its knowledge about PoE status when restarting.

Table topology indicates current network topology knowledge. Flag confirmed is true only for the switch neighbors found at last walt device rescan. Devices detected by older scans but not the last one have confirmed=false. The neighboring relationship is symetric, so the table has two pairs of columns (switch1, port1) and (switch2, port2). Depending on the protocol, port1 and port2 may not be known; in this case their value is NULL.

Table logs, logstreams and checkpoints refer respectively to the log lines, log streams and log checkpoints. See walt help show logging for more info. Column logs.stream_id is a foreign key refering to logstreams.id.

Connecting to the database, as admin

The real admin user of potsgresql is user postgres. If ever you need it, you can connect as postgres using:

# su -c psql -l postgres

With this user, you can for instance create another database user, give it read-only access to walt tables, and use it to connect an external reporting or graphing tool. This is out of scope of this documentation.