Postgres 9.2 invites large-scale enterprise deployment

The new Postgres database can be run across as many as 64 processor cores

The open-source Postgres database continues to be refined for enterprises: The latest version, released Monday, contains a number of new features and performance enhancements designed to ease professional large-scale usage.

"Postgres has always done very well on personal computers, but with 9.2 it will run very nicely on very large servers," said Tom Kincaid, director of global services for EnterpriseDB. EnterpriseDB, which offers a commercially supported version of Postgres, is a major contributor to the continued development of Postgres, also commonly referred to as PostgreSQL. "It will be in places it hasn't been before."

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Perhaps most notably, Postgres 9.2 can now run as a single instance across 64 processor cores, a big bump from the previous official limit of 16 cores in version 9.1. The new version can also write and read the data much more quickly than before.

In addition to being more friendly to the enterprise, the database software also comes with a number of new features to make it more appealing to NoSQL users. Over the past few years, NoSQL data stores have gained popularity as an alternative to traditional relational databases, such as Postgres, for simple but speedy data storage.

PostgreSQL 9.2 allows access to data through the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data exchange format. With the native support of JSON, Web application developers can use Postgres like a NoSQL document key-value store, using familiar tools such as jQuery and PL/V8 JavaScript to fetch and store data. The database management software will store data in the JSON format. It will also validate that the input of JSON string is in the correct form.

As for performance, Postgres can now respond to as many as 350,000 read queries per second, four times as many as previous versions, according to the software's developers. It can perform up to 14,000 writes per second, five times as many as before. The new index-only scans can speed queries by as much as 20 times, according to the Postgres development team. "The benefit you get from the index will be far greater with 9.2," Kincaid said.

In addition to bumping up the core limit to 64, Postgres developers also made advances in lock management, which should further help expedite large-volume workloads. This release has also been ported to run on Hewlett-Packard HP-UX servers running Intel Itanium processors, which is hardware built for large-scale deployments, Kincaid said.

Postgres also offers something not found in other relational databases, namely the ability to store a range of data of a given type. It could be particularly useful for calendaring applications, where one wants to store or query across a range of dates. Scientific and financial applications might also benefit from this approach.

EnterpriseDB's current version of Postgres, Postgres Plus Advanced Server, is still based on Postgres 9.1, though it includes many features the company helped develop for Postgres 9.2, including the support for 64 cores. A version of Postgres Plus Advanced Server based on Postgres 9.2 will be released by the end of the year, Kincaid said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's email address is

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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