4. Install and configure a database

AiiDA relies on a PostgreSQL database. You can run this locally on your computer, or use an external service. This is up to you. If you are sharing or performing co-calculation with colleagues, we recommend that you perform day-day calculations on a local database and export the results you want to share when it is convenient. This can then easily be imported in a central database for everyone to access.

What you need to configure the database in AiiDA is the hostname or IP address of the PostgreSQL database server, a username, a password, a database name and a port number. Please notice that the password can be intercepted, so do not chose something that you typically use for high security services, even though it is only used on your local computer.

AiiDA uses the psycopg2 adapter to access the PostgreSQL database server from Python.

The next steps are divided into a systemwide installation of the PostgreSQL server and a Conda specific one. In case you use the regular Python virtual environments, follow the first, in case you prefer to work in Conda follow the second. In the end there is a common section that describe how to set of the actual databases which is served by the PostgreSQL server.

In general we assume that the user of the database we will create does not correlate with the system users.

Installing and running the PostgreSQL server as a system service

On Fedora 30, please follow these steps to configure a usable database for AiiDA for the first time.

  1. Let us install PostgreSQL:

    $ sudo dnf install postgresql
    $ sudo dnf install postgresql-server
  2. Then we initialize the service:

    $ sudo initdb
  3. And then enable (so that it restarts if you computer restarts) and start it:

    $ sudo systemctl enable postgresql
    $ sudo systemctl start postgresql
  4. The installation created the user postgres which you can use to administer the databases, users etc. Let us now add the database aiidadb and the user aiida and give them the necessary privileges and passwords. First, let us get into the PostgreSQL interactive terminal:

    $ sudo su - postgres
    $ psql
  5. Now we need to do something important. We need to change the ident entries in the pg_hba.conf file to md5. In order to locate this file, let us ask PostgreSQL:

    # SHOW hba_file;
  6. Say the location is /var/lib/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf, which is pretty typical on Fedora 30. Exit the PostgreSQL interactive terminal with \q. Also, make sure you exit from the postgres user. When you are back as the regular user, replace all entries of ident with md5 by running the command:

    $ sudo sed -i 's/ident/md5/g' /var/lib/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf

    The md5 obscures your password so that it is not sent over the network in clear text. However, it can still be obtained from your AiiDA config file. Also, we would like to note that md5 is outdated and not anymore secure. How secure you need this to be is of course something you should consider. The more modern way is scram-sha-256, however some adapters does not yet support this since it is a new option that requires PostgreSQL 10 or later. This goes for AiiDA as well. Currently only md5 is supported. However, according to this post <https://www.postgresql.org/docs/11/auth-password.html> it seems as long as md5 is present in pg_hba.conf the client side determines the encryption used.

  7. Now, let us go back into the Postgreqsl interactive terminal again to create the database and user:

    $ sudo su - postgres
    $ psql
    # CREATE USER aiida WITH PASSWORD '<password>';

You supply the password of your choice as <password>.

Installing and running the PostgreSQL server as a Conda service

Let us now install the PostgreSQL server and setup the database called aiidadb for the user aiida by issuing the following commands:

% conda install postgresql
% initdb -D /home/username/aiida-vasp
% pg_ctl -D /home/username/aiida-vasp start
% createuser -P aiida
% createdb -O aiida aiidadb
% psql aiidadb

The last two lines are executed in the PostgreSQL interactive terminal invoked by the psql command. If a user wants, it is fully possible to have sevaral AiiDA databases running (also using the same user and password). In AiiDA it is possible to change which database to use. Keep that in mind, in case a use case should present itself to you, where this makes sense.

Common steps for systemwide and Conda service install

Finally we need to make sure we have the correct permissions on aiidadb for the user aiida. In order to give all permissions on aiidadb to user aiida issue the following command in the PostgreSQL interactive terminal:


Please notice you need the semicolon after the commands. We have now created the necessary database aiidadb and the user aiida and given all permissions to the user aiida on the database aiidadb. Also note that we have forced a specific encoding when setting up the database using the systems approach.

We can now continue to create the profile.