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Postgres Professional, provider of a database based on a fork of the open source Postgres relational database, today updated its offering to add support for storage-level compression and 64-bit transaction identifiers, along with all the other capabilities made available via the latest release of the core Postgres database itself.

At the same time, Postgres Professional revealed it is open-sourcing a multi-master cluster management tool it previously developed as it continues to contribute to the community. That tool makes use of a Paxos consensus algorithm and two-phase commit protocol to determine a transaction outcome spanning disparately configured clusters.

Multiplicity

Various forks of Postgres are being curated by multiple providers. This approach enables the community to embrace multiple forks as a way to spur innovation, Postgres Professional CEO Oleg Bartunov told VentureBeat. “It’s a very liberal democratic community,” he said. Postgres Professional is specifically focused on making extensions to the core open source database enterprise IT organizations require, Bartunov added.

Postgres Pro Enterprise 13, for example, provides support for hot minor upgrades and enables enterprise IT organizations to more easily update production systems without having to restart systems, Bartunov said. There is also now an incremental backup with consistency checks and a built-in task scheduler for delayed, scheduled, or asynchronous execution of offline jobs.

Machine learning algorithms are also being employed to optimize query planning, in addition to making it possible to create more than 10,000 partitions of a single database, otherwise known as sharding.

Data compression at the database block level also serves to minimize the overall data footprint while increasing performance at a time when many organizations are employing Postgres as an alternative to MySQL to drive digital business transformation initiatives, Bartunov said. Postgres Professional has also added support for a more transparent and manageable Write-Ahead Log (WAL) that shows the size of WAL generated by each server process.

Open source alternative

Postgres was originally developed to be an alternative to Oracle relational databases by providing an application programming interface that enables applications deployed on that commercial database to be shifted over to an open source database. But after Oracle acquired the open source MySQL database, many more organizations started to employ Postgres to deploy applications.

As it continues developing Postgres Pro Enterprise, the company will begin to focus on improving the cloud-native capabilities of the database, Bartunov said. That doesn’t mean the database will be rearchitected into a set of microservices, but it will be enhanced to enable the platform to scale up and down more dynamically, Bartunov said.

Many organizations have an open source-first policy in place as part of an effort to reduce software licensing costs. Developers also tend to prefer open source databases because they can start building an application without obtaining permission from a centralized IT team. In many cases, that application is initially little more than a pilot project that many centralized IT teams would not have resources available to support.

The issue IT teams inevitably face, however, is the cost of the time and effort required to refactor an application developed on an open source database versus just making the database adopted by the developer one more platform to support alongside what has become a pantheon of other databases.

Each IT organization will naturally have to decide what fork of Postgres database to employ. Regardless of the instance, however, the core Postgres capabilities are always generally available.

It’s all those extra capabilities enterprise IT organizations typically require that are challenging to implement whenever a vanilla distribution of any open source project is employed. This is why so many enterprise IT teams still wind up paying a support fee for the privilege of using free software.

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