Integrate your charm with PostgreSQL

From Zero to Hero: Write your first Kubernetes charm > Integrate your charm with PostgreSQL

See previous: Expose the version of the application behind your charm

This document is part of a series, and we recommend you follow it in sequence. However, you can also jump straight in by checking out the code from the previous branches:

git clone
cd juju-sdk-tutorial-k8s
git checkout 03_set_workload_version
git checkout -b 04_integrate_with_psql 

A charm often requires or supports relations to other charms. For example, to make our application fully functional we need to connect it to the PostgreSQL database. In this chapter of the tutorial we will update our charm so that it can be integrated with the existing PostgreSQL charm.


  1. Fetch the required database interface charm libraries
  2. Define the charm relation interface
  3. Import the database interface libraries and define database event handlers
  4. Update the unit status to reflect the integration state
  5. Validate your charm
  6. Review the final code

Fetch the required database interface charm libraries

Navigate to your charm directory and fetch the data_interfaces charm library from Charmhub:

ubuntu@charm-dev:~/fastapi-demo$ charmcraft fetch-lib charms.data_platform_libs.v0.data_interfaces

Your charm directory should now contain the structure below:

└── charms
    └── data_platform_libs
        └── v0

Well done, you’ve got everything you need to set up a database relation!

Define the charm relation interface

Now, time to define the charm relation interface.

First, find out the name of the interface that PostgreSQL offers for other charms to connect to it. According to the documentation of the PostgreSQL charm, the interface is called postgresql_client.

Next, open the charmcraft.yaml file of your charm and, before the containers section, define a relation endpoint using a requires block, as below. This endpoint says that our charm is requesting a relation called database over an interface called postgresql_client with a maximum number of supported connections of 1. (Note: Here, database is a custom relation name, though in general we recommend sticking to default recommended names for each charm.)

    interface: postgresql_client
    limit: 1

That will tell juju that our charm can be integrated with charms that provide the same postgresql_client interface, for example, the official PostgreSQL charm.

Read more: File ‘charmcraft.yaml’

Import the database interface libraries and define database event handlers

We now need to implement the logic that wires our application to a database. When a relation between our application and the data platform is formed, the provider side (i.e., the data platform) will create a database for us and it will provide us with all the information we need to connect to it over the relation – e.g., username, password, host, port, etc. On our side, we nevertheless still need to set the relevant environment variables to point to the database and restart the service.

To do so, we need to update our charm “src/” to do all of the following:

  • Import the DataRequires class from the interface library; this class represents the relation data exchanged in the client-server communication.
  • Define the event handlers that will be called during the relation lifecycle.
  • Bind the event handlers to the observed relation events.

Import the database interface libraries

First, at the top of the file, import the database interfaces library:

# Import the 'data_interfaces' library.
# The import statement omits the top-level 'lib' directory 
# because 'charmcraft pack' copies its contents to the project root.
from charms.data_platform_libs.v0.data_interfaces import DatabaseCreatedEvent
from charms.data_platform_libs.v0.data_interfaces import DatabaseRequires

You might have noticed that despite the charm library being placed in the lib/charms/..., we are importing it via:

from charms.data_platform_libs ...

and not

from lib.charms.data_platform_libs...

The former is not resolvable by default but everything works fine when the charm is deployed. Why? Because upon running the src/, the PYTHONPATH environment variable is being set by the dispatch script which results in the latter import path to get resolved.

Read more: File `dispatch`

If you’re experiencing issues with your IDE or just trying to run the file on your own, make sure to set/update PYTHONPATH to include lib directory as well.

# from the charm project directory (~/fastapi-demo), set
export PYTHONPATH=lib
# or update

Read more: Library > Location

Add relation event observers

Next, in the __init__ method, define a new instance of the ‘DatabaseRequires’ class. This is required to set the right permissions scope for the PostgreSQL charm. It will create a new user with a password and a database with the required name (below, names_db), and limit the user permissions to only this particular database (that is, below, names_db).

# The 'relation_name' comes from the 'charmcraft.yaml file'.
# The 'database_name' is the name of the database that our application requires. 
# See the application documentation in the GitHub repository.
self.database = DatabaseRequires(self, relation_name="database", database_name="names_db")

Now, add event observers for all the database events:

# See
self.framework.observe(self.database.on.database_created, self._on_database_created)
self.framework.observe(self.database.on.endpoints_changed, self._on_database_created)

Fetch the database authentication data

Now we need to extract the database authentication data and endpoints information. We can do that by adding a fetch_postgres_relation_data method to our charm class. Inside this method, we first retrieve relation data from the PostgreSQL using the fetch_relation_data method of the database object. We then log the retrieved data for debugging purposes. Next we process any non-empty data to extract endpoint information, the username, and the password and return this process data as a dictionary. Finally, we ensure that, if no data is retrieved, we return an empty dictionary, so that the caller knows that the database is not yet ready.

def fetch_postgres_relation_data(self):
    """Fetch postgres relation data.

    This function retrieves relation data from a postgres database using
    the `fetch_relation_data` method of the `database` object. The retrieved data is
    then logged for debugging purposes, and any non-empty data is processed to extract
    endpoint information, username, and password. This processed data is then returned as
    a dictionary. If no data is retrieved, the unit is set to waiting status and
    the program exits with a zero status code."""
    relations = self.database.fetch_relation_data()
    logger.debug("Got following database data: %s", relations)
    for data in relations.values():
        if not data:
            continue"New PSQL database endpoint is %s", data["endpoints"])
        host, port = data["endpoints"].split(":")
        db_data = {
            "db_host": host,
            "db_port": port,
            "db_username": data["username"],
            "db_password": data["password"],
        return db_data
    return {}

Share the authentication information with your application

Our application consumes database authentication information in the form of environment variables. Let’s update the Pebble service definition with an environment key and let’s set this key to a dynamic value – the class property self.app_environment. Your _pebble_layer property should look as below:

def _pebble_layer(self):
    """Return a dictionary representing a Pebble layer."""
    command = " ".join(
    pebble_layer = {
        "summary": "FastAPI demo service",
        "description": "pebble config layer for FastAPI demo server",
        "services": {
            self.pebble_service_name: {
                "override": "replace",
                "summary": "fastapi demo",
                "command": command,
                "startup": "enabled",
                "environment": self.app_environment,
    return ops.pebble.Layer(pebble_layer)

Now, let’s define this property such that, every time it is called, it dynamically fetches database authentication data and also prepares the output in a form that our application can consume, as below:

def app_environment(self):
    """This property method creates a dictionary containing environment variables
    for the application. It retrieves the database authentication data by calling
    the `fetch_postgres_relation_data` method and uses it to populate the dictionary.
    If any of the values are not present, it will be set to None.
    The method returns this dictionary as output.
    db_data = self.fetch_postgres_relation_data()
    if not db_data:
        return {}
    env = {
        "DEMO_SERVER_DB_HOST": db_data.get("db_host", None),
        "DEMO_SERVER_DB_PORT": db_data.get("db_port", None),
        "DEMO_SERVER_DB_USER": db_data.get("db_username", None),
        "DEMO_SERVER_DB_PASSWORD": db_data.get("db_password", None),
    return env

Finally, let’s define the method that is called on the database created event:

def _on_database_created(self, event: DatabaseCreatedEvent) -> None:
    """Event is fired when postgres database is created."""

The diagram below illustrates the workflow for the case where the database integration exists and for the case where it does not:

Untitled Diagram.drawio(1)

Update the unit status to reflect the integration state

Now that the charm is getting more complex, there are many more cases where the unit status needs to be set. It’s often convenient to do this in a more declarative fashion, which is where the collect-status event can be used.

Read more: Events > Collect App Status and Collect Unit Status

In your charm’s __init__ add a new observer:

        framework.observe(self.on.collect_unit_status, self._on_collect_status)

And define a method that does the various checks, adding appropriate statuses. The library will take care of selecting the ‘most significant’ status for you.

def _on_collect_status(self, event):
    port = self.config["server-port"]
    if port == 22:
        event.add_status(ops.BlockedStatus("Invalid port number, 22 is reserved for SSH"))
    if not self.model.get_relation("database"):
        # We need the user to do 'juju integrate'.
        event.add_status(ops.BlockedStatus("Waiting for database relation"))
    elif not self.database.fetch_relation_data():
        # We need the charms to finish integrating.
        event.add_status(ops.WaitingStatus("Waiting for database relation"))
        status = self.container.get_service(self.pebble_service_name)
    except (ops.pebble.APIError, ops.ModelError, ops.pebble.ConnectionError):
        event.add_status(ops.MaintenanceStatus("Waiting for Pebble in workload container"))
        if not status.is_running():
            event.add_status(ops.MaintenanceStatus("Waiting for the service to start up"))
    # If nothing is wrong, then the status is active.

We also want to clean up the code to remove the places where we’re setting the status outside of this method, other than anywhere we’re wanting a status to show up during the event execution (such as MaintenanceStatus). In _on_config_changed, change the port 22 check to:

    if port == 22:
        # The collect-status handler will set the status to blocked."Invalid port number, 22 is reserved for SSH")

And remove the self.unit.status = WaitingStatus line from _update_layer_and_restart (similarly replacing it with a logging line if you prefer).

Validate your charm

Time to check the results!

First, repack and refresh your charm:

charmcraft pack
juju refresh \
  --path="./demo-api-charm_ubuntu-22.04-amd64.charm" \
  demo-api-charm --force-units --resource \

Next, deploy the postgresql-k8s charm:

juju deploy postgresql-k8s --channel=14/stable --trust

Now, integrate our charm with the newly deployed postgresql-k8s charm:

juju integrate postgresql-k8s demo-api-charm

Read more: Integration, juju integrate

Finally, run:

juju status --relations --watch 1s

You should see both applications get to the active status, and also that the postgresql-k8s charm has a relation to the demo-api-charm over the postgresql_client interface, as below:

Model        Controller           Cloud/Region        Version  SLA          Timestamp
charm-model  tutorial-controller  microk8s/localhost  3.0.0    unsupported  13:50:39+01:00

App             Version  Status  Scale  Charm           Channel  Rev  Address         Exposed  Message
demo-api-charm  0.0.9    active      1  demo-api-charm             1  no       
postgresql-k8s           active      1  postgresql-k8s  14/stable      29  no       Primary

Unit               Workload  Agent  Address      Ports  Message
demo-api-charm/0*  active    idle         
postgresql-k8s/0*  active    idle         Primary

Relation provider              Requirer                       Interface          Type     Message
postgresql-k8s:database        demo-api-charm:database        postgresql_client  regular  
postgresql-k8s:database-peers  postgresql-k8s:database-peers  postgresql_peers   peer     
postgresql-k8s:restart         postgresql-k8s:restart         rolling_op         peer 

The relation appears to be up and running, but we should also test that it’s working as intended. First, let’s try to write something to the database by posting some name to the database via API using curl as below – where is a pod IP and 8000 is our app port. You can repeat the command for multiple names.

curl -X 'POST' \
  '' \
  -H 'accept: application/json' \
  -H 'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded' \
  -d 'name=maksim'

If you changed the server-port config value in the previous section, don’t forget to change it back to 8000 before doing this!

Second, let’s try to read something from the database by running:


This should produce something similar to the output below (of course, with the names that you decided to use):


Congratulations, your integration with PostgreSQL is functional!

Review the final code

For the full code see: 04_integrate_with_psql

For a comparative view of the code before and after this doc see: Comparison

See next: Preserve your charm’s data

Contributors: @beliaev-maksim, @bschimke95, @eaudetcobello, @florezal, @lengau, @tony-meyer , @tmihoc

Last updated 4 days ago. Help improve this document in the forum.