PostgreSQL 8.1 released
The PostgreSQL Global Development Group proudly announces the release of PostgreSQL 8.1, further extending PostgreSQL's lead as the most advanced open source database management system. Designed, built, and tested by a large and thriving community and backed by a growing number of corporate sponsors and support companies, version 8.1 will expand the scope of PostgreSQL application development. The new release includes performance improvements and advanced SQL features which will support bigger data warehouses, higher-volume transaction processing, and more complex distributed enterprise software.
These features will continue the adoption trend established by the previous release. Version 8.0 has been downloaded one million times in its first seven months, which compares with about 300,000 over a similar period for the prior release.
"The project is clearly accelerating in the minds of database users," said Lance Obermeyer, Director of Products at Pervasive Software, one of PostgreSQL's corporate sponsors. "Given the growing interest in open source infrastructure software, we're expecting PostgreSQL to pick up even more steam."
New Advanced Database Features
Roles: PostgreSQL now supports database roles, which simplify the management of large numbers of users with complex overlapping database rights.
IN/OUT Parameters: PostgreSQL functions now support IN, OUT and INOUT parameters, which substantially improves support of complex business logic for J2EE and .NET applications.
Two-Phase Commit (2PC): long in demand for WAN applications and heterogeneous data centers using PostgreSQL, this feature allows ACID-compliant transactions across widely separated servers.
Improved Multiprocessor (SMP) Performance: the buffer manager for 8.1 has been enhanced to scale almost linearly with the number of processors, leading to significant performance gains on 8-way, 16-way, dual-core, and multi-core CPU servers.
Bitmap Scan: indexes will be dynamically converted to bitmaps in memory when appropriate, giving up to twenty times faster index performance on complex queries against very large tables. This also helps simplify database management by greatly reducing the need for multi-column indexes.
Table Partitioning: the query planner is now able to avoid scanning whole sections of a large table using a technique known as Constraint Exclusion. Similar to the Table Partitioning found in other database management systems, this feature improves both performance and data management for multi-gigabyte tables.
Shared Row Locking: PostgreSQL's "better than row-level locking" now supports even higher levels of concurrency through the addition of shared row locks for foreign keys. Shared locks will improve insert and update performance on many high-volume OLTP applications.
"PostgreSQL 8.1 offers a huge performance increase pretty much across the board, [on our] dual processor Opteron production servers," said Merlin Moncure, Database Administrator for Reliable Computer Solutions. "More specifically, I'm seeing around 20% reduction in run times for simple queries and an additional 20% reduction in CPU load, for a staggering 20-40% improvement in server load characteristics."
There are more than 120 other enhancements, some of which are detailed on our 8.1 presskit.
PostgreSQL is the collective work of hundreds of developers, building on twenty years of development which started at the University of California at Berkeley. With its long-time support of an enterprise level feature set including transactions, functions, triggers, and subqueries, PostgreSQL is being used by many of today's most demanding businesses and government agencies. PostgreSQL is distributed under a BSD license, which allows use and distribution without fees for both commercial and non-commercial applications.
Additional Features in this ReleaseAs well as the major features listed in the press release, there are more than 120 new features and enhancements contributed by almost 200 developers for version 8.1. Among them are:
- GiST: PostgreSQL's Generalised Search Tree (GiST) pluggable indexing mechanism has improved to support the high-speed concurrency, recoverability and update performance previously enjoyed only using B-Tree indexes. GiST is the backbone of PostgreSQL's full-text indexing (TSearch2), geospatial (GIS) and tree-structure indexing. With this enhancement, complex data types will perform well even on the largest high-availability applications.
- COPY Refactoring: COPY has been refactored for up to 30% faster processing of bulk load data. Along with CSV load improvements, this makes loading large databases into PostgreSQL faster than ever.
- 64-bit Shared Memory: the buffer manager has been enhanced to utilize up to two terabytes of RAM on 64-bit platforms, preparing PostgreSQL for the high-memory servers of the future.
- Integrated Autovacuum: PostgreSQL's database maintenance daemon has been improved and integrated into the main server program, making PostgreSQL servers simpler to set up and administer.
- Faster Aggregates: aggregate functions have been improved to make reporting queries even faster. The PostgreSQL developers both rewritten memory management for aggregates and added indexing optimizations for MIN() and MAX().
- Adminstration Functions: new functions have been added for obtaining server information and performing basic DBA tasks from the PSQL command line.
- Compatibility Functions: lastval(), greatest() and least() functions have been added, making porting applications from MySQL and Oracle easier.
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