PostgreSQL 8.1 targets data warehousing

Companies can save hundreds of thousands of pounds by switching to the open source database for their data warehousing projects, a PostgreSQL consultant claims

PostgreSQL developers have made a number of performance improvements to the next version of the open source database to improve its data warehousing capabilities.

PostgreSQL 8.1, which is already available as a beta, is due to be released in the next two or three months, according to Simon Riggs, a developer and consultant for the open source database.

Riggs claimed on Wednesday that companies can save considerable sums of money by switching from a proprietary database to PostgreSQL.

"If you bought Oracle or DB2 to store a terabyte of data, the license cost would be phenomenal," said Riggs. "For example, one of my customers recently spent £500,000 to do data warehousing on a proprietary database and that was only for the first year's licence — after that it would cost £250,000 per year."

The performance improvements in PostgreSQL 8.1 may make it a more attractive choice for data warehousing projects than it was in the past. Even though 8.1 is still in beta, Riggs said he had received a number of "serious inquiries" from companies interested in migrating their data warehouse from a proprietary database to the next version of the open source database.

8.1 will execute large queries faster due to an overhaul of memory management and the database will load data 20 percent faster due to other internal tweaks, according to Riggs. Developers have also achieved performance improvements in the creation of aggregate tables and in the time it takes to access large tables that have been partitioned.

The upcoming version of PostgreSQL also includes a few features to improve its support for Web applications, including two phase commit and cursor read locking.

Earlier this year PostgreSQL developers rewrote an algorithm to avoid possibly violating an IBM patent. But Riggs said that the code rewrite actually proved to be beneficial as it increased scalability. "If the patent thing hadn't happened we wouldn't have paid as much attention to it and it wouldn't be as good as it is now," said Riggs.