Where NASA and Instagram get open source databases

The PostgreSQL Global Development Group has announced the PostgreSQL 9.2 open source database with native JSON support, covering indexes, replication and performance improvements.

NOTE: JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a text-based data-interchange format programming language that is widely agreed to be “easy for humans to read and write” and is equally easy for machines to “parse and generate” in use. It is based on a subset of the JavaScript programming language and is said to use conventions that are familiar to programmers of the C-family of languages.

But what does “performance improvement” really mean with this kind of technology?

Vendors of all kinds love to use the term “performance” time and time again, so what makes an open source next-generation database operate and, well, perform, so well in this case?

How it works…


The answer appears to lie in PostgreSQL 9.2’s ability to execute “linear scalability” across 64 processor cores to share out the burden of processing. This separation of workloads… plus its ‘index-only’ scans and reductions in CPU power consumption are what actually speed up this product.

NASA, Instagram and HP can’t be wrong? Can they?

Organisations including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Instagram and NASA run applications on PostgreSQL and HP has adopted it too to power its HP-UX/Itanium solutions.

Improvements in vertical scalability are also said to increase PostgreSQL’s ability to efficiently utilise hardware resources on larger servers.

So just how fast is fast here?

Numerically, this means:

* Up to 350,000 read queries per second

* Index-only scans for data warehousing queries

* Up to 14,000 data writes per second

NOTE: PostgreSQL is an open source object-relational database system. It has more than 15 years of active development and runs on all major operating systems, including Linux, UNIX (AIX, BSD, HP-UX, SGI IRIX, Mac OS X, Solaris, Tru64) and Windows.