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Sleepycat, PostgreSQL Snazz Up Their Open-Source Databases

Sleepycat, PostgreSQL Snazz Up Their Open-Source Databases

Open-source database updates are in the air, with Sleepycat Software releasing a new version of Berkeley DB XML on Monday and the PostgreSQL Global Development Group putting out Version 8.1 at OpenDBCon in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday.

PostgreSQL 8.1 includes performance improvements and advanced SQL features that will support bigger data warehouses, higher-volume transaction processing and more complex distributed enterprise software.

Bruce Momjian, a member of the core PostgreSQL development team, said the focus of the update is to move PostgreSQL beyond the OLTP (online transaction processing) market where it's been at home up until now.

"We've always done well in that market," he said. "We've moving more into the data warehousing area with table partitioning and the bit map index."

The update features big improvements for multi-CPU systems, he said. Whereas PostgreSQL has in the past been held back from scalability, it now will scale almost linearly, depending on how many CPUs are available.

Sleepycat, PostgreSQL Snazz Up Their Open-Source Databases

By Lisa Vaas

November 7, 2005

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Open-source database updates are in the air, with Sleepycat Software releasing a new version of Berkeley DB XML on Monday and the PostgreSQL Global Development Group putting out Version 8.1 at OpenDBCon in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday.

PostgreSQL 8.1 includes performance improvements and advanced SQL features that will support bigger data warehouses, higher-volume transaction processing and more complex distributed enterprise software.

Bruce Momjian, a member of the core PostgreSQL development team, said the focus of the update is to move PostgreSQL beyond the OLTP (online transaction processing) market where it's been at home up until now.

"We've always done well in that market," he said. "We've moving more into the data warehousing area with table partitioning and the bit map index."

The update features big improvements for multi-CPU systems, he said. Whereas PostgreSQL has in the past been held back from scalability, it now will scale almost linearly, depending on how many CPUs are available.

Click here to read about the fate of CA's open-source database Ingres.

"With every release we've been able to chip away at what we need to do to be completely linear," he said.

The last sticking point as far as linear scalability goes was to make some buffer improvements in 8.1, Momjian said.

The important thing was to fix it so it didn't hamper performance on single-CPU machines, he said. "The trick was to get something that worked, that didn't require any configuration on users' part, and that didn't require special binary."

The improved multiprocessor performance will make for performance gains on 8-way, 16-way, dual-core and multicore CPU systems.

With 8.1, getting a lock on a single-CPU machine has become more efficient, with the machine relying on heuristics that tell it to take a little nap and to attempt to get the lock again in a little while, instead of beating itself against the kernel, Momjian said.

"That's given us very good multiprocessor performance while working very well on a single-CPU machine and not needing anyone to set CPU parameters saying whether they're on a single-CPU machine or a multi-CPU machine," he said.

Other new, advanced database features in PostgreSQL 8.1 include IN/OUT parameters, substantially improving support of complex business logic for J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) and .Net applications.


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