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Windows Users Open to PostgreSQL

Open source databases aren't just for Linux users. Case in point is PostgreSQL, where 50 percent of users are likely running Windows.

PostgreSQL 8.1 is now available and introduces performance improvements and new features for users of the open source database.

According to PostgreSQL developer Josh Berkus, new users will be attracted to the "big name" features in version 8.1.

Those features include Two-Phase Commit (2PC), which enables compliant transactions across a WAN that are ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability) compliant. ACID transactions are a key DBMS (database management system) transaction processing feature that serves to help guarantee the integrity of the database.

Another of the features that new users will be attracted to is Table Partitioning, which is said to improve both data management and performance for large multi-gigabyte tables. Database roles are now supported in PostgreSQL 8.1 to simplify user management.

Berkus noted that existing users tend to be more pleased by stuff that improves existing functionality and performance. One of those items is PostgreSQL's Generalised Search Tree (GiST) pluggable indexing mechanism, which is now faster than before.

The enhanced GiST is claimed to enable complex data types to perform well on large high-availability applications. GiST is a core component of PostgreSQL's tree-structure indexing and full-text indexing capabilities.

PostgreSQL has been downloaded more than 1 million times since its release. Among the most noteworthy aspect of the last version was the fact that for the first time PostgreSQL included native Windows support, meaning that it does not require an emulation layer to work with Microsoft Windows.

Native Windows support may also mean that more Windows users are using PostgreSQL's. In fact, according to Berkus, there is a pretty good chance that Windows users of PostgreSQL will soon represent a greater number than Linux users.

"Two-thirds of our current downloads are Windows binaries," Berkus told internetnews.com. "However, that's a bit deceptive since BSD, Linux and OS X users have multiple ways to get PostgreSQL, and currently Windows users have to get it directly from our site.

"So the real number of installs is probably more like half of users," he continued. "Since that's mostly new users, though, that represents a huge gain in community size for us."

In addition to the release of PostgreSQL 8.1, a new GUI admin tool, pgAdmin 1.4, has also been released.

Since the 8.0 release in January, PostgreSQL has been pushed into the mainstream with the support of commercial sponsor Pervasive Software, which offers software and services support.