New PostgreSQL 7.4 release targets the enterprise

After nine months in development, the PostgreSQL Global Development Group has announced the release of version 7.4 of the PostgreSQL object relational database system.

Designed to improve the database system for large enterprise users, PostgreSQL version 7.4 includes various performance enhancements, such as significant optimisation of large and complex data queries, query planner improvements for subqueries, and expanded index maintenance and functional tools.

According to the group’s press announcement, the combination of these features can improve the performance of the database by as much as 400 per cent.

As well as overall performance enhancements, version 7.4 comes complete with a full text indexing system (TSearch module) which allows users to create ranked result sets when searching for information across the entire database system.

The latest PostgreSQL 7.4 version has also been optimised to work with AMD’s 64-bit Opteron processor.

“Combined with the recent contribution of the eRServer replication solution by PostgreSQL, these advances fulfill PostgreSQL’s potential to run high-availability large-scale data centres,” the group’s press release states.

The eRServer (Enterprise Replication Server) is a commercial-grade database replication system developed by PostgreSQL Inc, a company working independently of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group.

Among other features included in the 7.4 version release of PostgreSQL are new array (a kind of data type) support features.

“In SQL, they [arrays] allow users to store multiple pieces of (related) data in a single field. Arrays have long been supported by Postgres but the extensions in 7.4 increase usability significantly, implementing SQL99 features and some of those being discussed in the new SQL standard which is soon to be released,” Australian regional PostgreSQL contributor and representative Gavin Sherry said.

“This makes PostgreSQL's implementation one of the most advanced in the market.”

While support for SQL92 schema standards was introduced in version 7.3 of the PostgreSQL database, 7.4 includes an SQL99 compliant information schema which provides database developers with database type, object and configuration information. This can then be used to decrease development times and increase portability, particularly in large applications.

In line with its commitment to supporting ANSI SQL 92 and 99 schema standards, version 7.4 has also been equipped with statement-level triggers, enhanced data type domains, and read-only transactions.

The database’s error framework for debugging and troubleshooting has also been redesigned to comply with SQL standards and make interaction easier for users.

PostgreSQL version 7.4 is now available from the PostgreSQL development group’s site: