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Interactive Time Travel

In this guide, you'll learn how to interactively time travel with DBOS Cloud: how to query your application's database as of any past point in time within the time travel data retention period of your current plan.


Before following the steps in this guide, make sure you've deployed an application to DBOS Cloud.

In order to time travel, you need to locally install our time travel proxy. Please follow our time travel debugging tutorial to install the proxy via VSCode or manually. Then, start your proxy and connect it to your application database instance:

Open VSCode to your application folder. In the DBOS Cloud View, hover over the application you want to debug and select the Launch Debug Proxy menu item. This automatically launches the time travel proxy and connects it to your application database instance.

DBOS Time Travel Launch Debug Proxy Screenshot

For more information, please see the Time Travel Debugger reference


The DBOS time travel proxy securely connects to the provenance database, an append-only replica of your application database maintained by DBOS Cloud. It uses the historical information in this database to run time-travelled queries without modifying your application database.

Running Time-Travelled Queries

In this tutorial, we interactively run time-travelled queries on your application database using psql. First, connect psql to your local time travel proxy:

psql -h localhost -p 2345 -U postgres

By default, any queries you run will reflect the current state of your database. Let's assume you've deployed the "Hello, Database" quickstart application to DBOS Cloud. The application's dbos_hello table tracks how many times each person has been greeted. The following query tells you how many times Mike has been greeted:

postgres=> select greet_count from dbos_hello where name = 'Mike';

Now, let's time travel! To view your database at a past point in time, you can set the timestamp through the special DBOS TS <timestamp>; command. We support any timestamp string in RFC 3339 format. For example, to view your database at 4:00:00 PM PDT (UTC-07:00) on 2024-04-26, and see how many times Mike had been greeted as of then, run:

postgres=> DBOS TS '2024-04-26T16:00:00-07:00';
postgres=> select greet_count from dbos_hello where name = 'Mike';

You can run any SELECT statement on the database to query its state as of the timestamp you chose. Statements that modify schemas or data (INSERT, UPDATE, DROP TABLE, etc.) will not have any effect. At any time, you can run DBOS TS <timestamp>; again to travel to a different time. You can also run DBOS SNAPSHOT RESET; to return to the present time.