Replication slots were introduced with PostgreSQL 9.4 and are designed to ensure that any standby connected to the primary using a replication slot will always be able to retrieve the required WAL files. This removes the need to manually manage WAL file retention by estimating the number of WAL files that need to be maintained on the primary using wal_keep_segments. Do however be aware that if a standby is disconnected, WAL will continue to accumulate on the primary until either the standby reconnects or the replication slot is dropped.
To enable repmgr to use replication slots, set the boolean parameter use_replication_slots in repmgr.conf:
Replication slots must be enabled in postgresql.conf by setting the parameter max_replication_slots to at least the number of expected standbys (changes to this parameter require a server restart).
When cloning a standby, repmgr will automatically generate an appropriate slot name, which is stored in the repmgr.nodes table, and create the slot on the upstream node:
repmgr=# SELECT node_id, upstream_node_id, active, node_name, type, priority, slot_name FROM repmgr.nodes ORDER BY node_id; node_id | upstream_node_id | active | node_name | type | priority | slot_name ---------+------------------+--------+-----------+---------+----------+--------------- 1 | | t | node1 | primary | 100 | repmgr_slot_1 2 | 1 | t | node2 | standby | 100 | repmgr_slot_2 3 | 1 | t | node3 | standby | 100 | repmgr_slot_3 (3 rows)
repmgr=# SELECT slot_name, slot_type, active, active_pid FROM pg_replication_slots ; slot_name | slot_type | active | active_pid ---------------+-----------+--------+------------ repmgr_slot_2 | physical | t | 23658 repmgr_slot_3 | physical | t | 23687 (2 rows)
Note that a slot name will be created by default for the primary but not actually used unless the primary is converted to a standby using e.g. repmgr standby switchover.
Further information on replication slots in the PostgreSQL documentation: https://www.postgresql.org/docs/current/interactive/warm-standby.html#STREAMING-REPLICATION-SLOTS
Tip: While replication slots can be useful for streaming replication, it's recommended to monitor for inactive slots as these will cause WAL files to build up indefinitely, possibly leading to server failure.
As an alternative we recommend using 2ndQuadrant's Barman, which offloads WAL management to a separate server, removing the requirement to use a replication slot for each individual standby to reserve WAL. See section Cloning from Barman for more details on using repmgr together with Barman.