Hannu just gave me a good idea in this email on -hackers, proposing that pg_basebackup should get the xlog files again and again in a loop for the whole duration of the base backup. That’s now done in the aforementioned tool, whose options got a little more useful now:

Usage: pg_basebackup.py [-v] [-f] [-j jobs] "dsn" dest

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --version             show version and quit
  -x, --pg_xlog         backup the pg_xlog files
  -v, --verbose         be verbose and about processing progress
  -d, --debug           show debug information, including SQL queries
  -f, --force           remove destination directory if it exists
  -j JOBS, --jobs=JOBS  how many helper jobs to launch
  -D DELAY, --delay=DELAY
                        pg_xlog subprocess loop delay, see -x
  -S, --slave           auxilliary process
  --stdin               get list of files to backup from stdin

Yeah, as implementing the xlog idea required having some kind of parallelism, I built on it and the script now has a --jobs option for you to setup how many processes to launch in parallel, all fetching some base backup files in its own standard ( libpq) PostgreSQL connection, in compressed chunks of 8 MB (so that’s not 8 MB chunks sent over).

The xlog loop will fetch any WAL file whose ctime changed again, wholesale. It’s easier this way, and tools to get optimized behavior already do exist, either walmgr or walreceiver.

The script is still a little python self-contained short file, it just went from about 100 lines of code to about 400 lines. There’s no external dependency, all it needs is provided by a standard python installation. The problem with that is that it’s using select.poll() that I think is not available on windows. Supporting every system or adding to the dependencies, I’ve been choosing what’s easier for me.

import select
    p = select.poll()
    p.register(sys.stdin, select.POLLIN)

If you get to try it, please report about it, you should know or easily discover my email!