Open-Source DB PostgreSQL Polishes its Rough Edges

PostgreSQL upgrade looks to turn up the heat on its commercial database rivals.

Seizing momentum on the growing popularity of open-source software, PGDG is working out the kinks in its PostgreSQL open-source object relational database software.

This week the PostgreSQL Global Development Group announced the availability and a number of enhancements within Version 7.4 of the PostgreSQL Object Relational Database Management System. The upgrade polishes the "rough edges" of PostgreSQLs previous incarnations, said Bruce Momjian, core developer with the New York-based PGDG.

PostgreSQL 7.4 features optimization tuning for systems running Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s 64-bit Opteron processor. In addition, Momjian said the software upgrade includes thread-safe embedded-C, improved index maintenance tools to monitor free space, support of full-text indexing, and overhauled Secure Sockets Layer protection.

Anticipating a move to PostgreSQL 7.4 in the near future, Richard Welty, owner of Averill Park Networking, a consulting firm in Averill Park, N.Y., said that performance issues have been addressed in the new software release. However, Welty noted that trouble spots such as point-in-time recovery and lack of mature replication capability still require attention.

Another manager agreed that the performance enhancements were helpful.

"As a custom software development shop, we have numerous client projects that require every bit of performance increase we can hand them. For those clients, this upgrade will be a perfect match," said Chris Gamble, a consultant with C. Pitman Baker and Associates Inc. in Irving, Texas."

Since his organization upgraded from Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server DBMS to PostgreSQL over a year ago, Gamble said that patches and security alerts have become more manageable. "Certainly the [open source] cost is a great benefit, but we have also seen a great deal more flexibility and stability from PostgreSQL than many of the commercial alternatives."

Welty pointed out that complexity and costs with deployments of commercial databases, such as Microsofts SQL Server and Oracle Corp.s namesake DBMS, continue to bother customers and are pushing them toward alternatives.

"I have a client that is tearing their hair out over Microsoft SQL issues, and are itching to experiment with PostgreSQL," Welty remarked. "Oracle licensing fees are beyond absurd, and its difficult to administer."

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