An Ode to PostgreSQL: Why Cloud Infrastructure Companies Swear by It
PostgreSQL is a powerful and popular relational database management system that has gained a massive following in recent years. Many cloud infrastructure companies swear by PostgreSQL and having read quite a few articles as well as worked with it as a part of PharmaStack’s managed services platform, I can understand why it is the industry’s database of choice. Let’s break down what I’ve learned from my reading and experience working with this DBMS.
PostgreSQL is an excellent choice for cloud companies looking for a highly scalable and efficient database system. Its various options for horizontal scalability, such as partitioning and sharding, allow companies to partition their data based on specific criteria and distribute their workload across multiple nodes resulting in better performance and availability.
Typically, sharding is the more widely known scalability strategy and if you’re interested in learning more, I’d urge you to take a look at the postgrespro article by Dmitriy Ursegov. It does an excellent job describing the in-built sharding capabilities of PostgreSQL and was a really enjoyable read!
In addition to its options for horizontal scalability, PostgreSQL also supports vertical scalability, allowing cloud companies to add more computing power to their existing servers. Vertical scaling involves adding more resources, such as RAM, CPU, and disk space, to an existing server to increase its performance and capacity. PostgreSQL's support for vertical scaling means that companies can scale their databases up without having to change their applications, making it an ideal choice for organizations that need to scale quickly.
Furthermore, PostgreSQL's support for scalability also ensures that companies can handle more concurrent users and transactions, making it an ideal choice for applications that experience high traffic. By increasing the resources available to the database server, companies can ensure that their applications remain fast, responsive, and efficient, even under heavy loads.
PostgreSQL is known for its reliability and resilience. It has a proven track record of being a reliable database management system for applications with a large number of transactions. Its features ensure data is always available and secure, even during system failures. It has built-in replication and high-availability features that allow for automatic failover and recovery, minimizing downtime and ensuring data integrity.
One of the key features that make PostgreSQL reliable is its support for transactions. Transactions are designed to be atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable (ACID), an acronym that is further expanded upon in the EDB video I linked below. Essentially, this means that even if an error occurs during a transaction, the database can be rolled back to its previous state, ensuring data integrity and consistency. Alongside this, it supports point-in-time recovery, which allows the database to be restored to a specific point in time in case of data loss. It also has a robust crash recovery mechanism that can recover the database from virtually any crash or system failure.
Highly Documented and Open Source
Finally, PostgreSQL has an active and supportive community that provides extensive documentation making it easy for developers to learn, use and troubleshoot the DBMS. This goes hand in hand with the fact that PostgreSQL is open source, which means that it is free to use, modify and distribute. The open-source model encourages collaboration, feedback and continuous improvement across various platforms and forums, ensuring that PostgreSQL remains relevant and competitive for cloud infrastructure.
PostgreSQL's configurability is one of its distinct advantages over other database management systems. Its configuration options allow one to customize various aspects of the database to meet their specific needs, which optimizes performance, security, and scalability.
For instance, buffer pool management allows developers to fine-tune the allocation of memory to improve database performance. In more detail, the buffer pool can be managed in a variety of ways, including setting the size of the pool, adjusting the way data is loaded into the cache, and configuring the way that dirty pages are managed.
Query optimization, another configurable area, allows developers to optimize queries for maximum efficiency, while replication options allow for high availability and fault tolerance.
Finally, PostgreSQL's backup and recovery configurations provide crucial data recovery options in case of system failure or data loss. This includes point-in-time recovery, crash recovery and incremental backups, which provide very fine control over the backup process.
Overall, it's clear that PostgreSQL's features and capabilities make it a top choice for cloud infrastructure companies in need of a robust and reliable database management system. As the demand for managing larger and larger volumes of data continues to grow, its scalability and configurability only add to its value and versatility as a trusted DBMS.
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