PostreSQL 8.3 ups performance, XML support

Transaction processing throughput can improve by as much as 30 percent

The PostgreSQL open source project has announced the release of version 8.3 of its flagship database management system, which includes a number of performance and feature enhancements.

With more than 280 patches by dozens of PostgreSQL contributors from 18 countries, the 8.3 release includes a record number of new and improved features which will greatly enhance PostgreSQL, according to the project.

PostgreSQL core team member Bruce Momjian said PostgreSQL "just got smarter", by being the first open source database to implement synchronized scan, which reduces I/O for data mining.

Performance enhancements include Heap Only Tuples (HOT), which eliminate up to 75 percent of the maintenance overhead of frequently updated tables, spread checkpoints and background writer autotuning, which reduce the impact of checkpoints on response times, and an asynchronous commit option for faster response times on some transactions.

Enterprises using PostgreSQL include the NSW Judicial Commission, social networking site hi5.com, Locatrix Communications, New Zealand's Electoral Enrolment Centre, and fashion design and direct sales company UnderCoverWear.

The PostgreSQL project claims these changes also significantly accelerate transaction processing throughput from 5 to 30 percent, depending on the workload.

New features for application developers include ANSI-standard SQL/XML support, including XML export, an advanced full-text search tool, dubbed TSearch2, is now merged into the core distribution with better management and new dictionaries and languages, better authentication support, and new data types.

Social networking site MyYearbook.com processes some 18,000 queries per second on over 300GB of user data with PostgreSQL servers.

MyYearbook.com CTO Gavin Roy said preliminary testing shows that 8.3 will improve the database load profile while decreasing response times.

Rich Green, executive vice president of software at Sun Microsystems, said the continued evolution of the open source PostgreSQL database gives users the option of deploying a non-proprietary database, allowing them to save money, improve performance, and increase productivity.

"PostgreSQL 8.3 is an impressive new release and we encourage customers around the world to explore it," Green said.

The PostgreSQL project is online at www.postgresql.org.

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