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Im planning to publish my postgresql server to a few untrusted clients.

I dont want them to modify any runtime setting, like work_mem or something risky to my server. In general I assume the pg_catalog schema is public but I don't want to allow updating pg_settings at all.

Is it possible?

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Could you tell a few words about the scenario? Anyway, I would think about placing the DB into a quite limited virtual machine - or drop the idea completely if the server should perform regardless of the usage of this DB. –  dezso Apr 9 '13 at 16:25
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2 Answers

I agree with Tometzky, just want to add some thoughts.

Firstly, if I had to publish my DB server, I would separate it from my own servers (or server processes) - either physically, if possible, or putting the public DB server into a VM, which is constrained in its resource consumption to a degree when it can't really affect other processes on the same physical machine.

Secondly, limiting changes to resource-related configuration parameters can be only of limited use. One can set work_mem, for example, to a fairly high value, and make huge sorts, but this will not affect the overall server performance more than, say, a four-way Cartesian product of one million rows each - which you can't prevent by any means...

And, unfortunately, I don't know any means of modifying a session's settings from an other session (be the latter connected with the postgres user). You can't even really see (to my knowledge) the changed settings of the other session. One possibility to control the usage of the public servers is checking resource consumption at the OS level, and kill the processes that show signs of abuse. This is, of course, not really friendly, but may be useful as a last resource.

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You can limit memory used by all postgres processes on a server that it'll not take the whole server memory. I doubt that it's possible to limit a single Postgres user on shared server instance without patching it. I you're concerned then you can run multiple instances of Postgres, each on different port, IP address or socket, each with it own memory limits.

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