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New PostgreSQL DB Server Released

Boasting functionality previously only available in top-shelf proprietary databases, the PostgreSQL Global Development group has released version 8.0 of the open source PostgreSQL database server.

Features of PostgreSQL 8.0 include native Windows support, which means it does not require an emulation layer to work with Microsoft's ubiquitous operating system, according to PostgreSQL group spokesman Josh Berkus.

Berkus said removing the emulation layer yields improved performance and reliability over previous versions. This could be a convenient alternative to proprietary database software from Oracle, IBM and Microsoft for developers and vendors who use Windows.

"This closes the gap for those that wanted to use PostgreSQL and couldn't, either because the company was fully Windows or because they're a software vendor and have to have multi-vendor support," Berkus told internetnews.com.

Berkus said PostgreSQL users are also excited about point-in-time recovery, which allows full data restoration from the transaction logs. This tool, often called a snapshot in the storage segment, gives database administrators a respite from performing time-consuming, continuous back-up and replication chores.

New tablespaces tools allow the placement of large tables and indices on their own individual disks or arrays to improve query performance, an important feature in data warehouses with several gigabytes of data.

Another perk, savepoints, allows specific parts of a database transaction to be rolled back without quitting the entire operation, which is a boon for application developers who conduct meaty transactions and require error recovery.

Though PostgreSQL is often lumped in with fellow open-source database MySQL, Berkus said PostgreSQL is ahead in functionality because it has always been tailored for enterprise data centers, while MySQL was originally designed as a product for Web programmers.

Last week, Pervasive Software agreed to use PostgreSQL 8.0 in a major enterprise product release.

Berkus said PostgreSQL version 8.0, available free for commercial or non-commercial use under a BSD license, comes 14 months after version 7.4. The release took a tad longer than the usual annual release cycle because the functionality is more complicated, making the development cycle longer. Code contributors include Red Hat, Fujitsu and Afilias.

Going forward, Berkus said the company will continue to offer advanced enterprise features currently offered in database products from Oracle, IBM or Microsoft. This includes self-tuning, which he is personally working on, using resources of the Open Source Development Lab.