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PostgreSQL packs record punch

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The latest release of open source database PostgreSQL hit Monday, packing a claimed record number of new and improved features. That means 280 patches.

Version 8.3 of the sturdy alternative to MySQL has been re-worked for developers, DBAs and users with improvements targeting performance and maintenance.

Among the changes, Heap Only Tuples (HOT) that may cut the maintenance overhead of frequently updated tables by up to 75 per cent, spread checkpoints and background writer autotuning to reduce the impact of check points on response times, and an asynchronous commit option that also speeds the response times of certain transactions.

The PostgreSQL Global Development Group claims these changes contribute to an overall boost in transaction processing output of between five and thirty percent - depending on workload, naturally.

Developers get treated to ANSI-standard SQL-XML support, improved search and support for new data types.

The full list of all features in version 8.3 can be found here, source code is here, binaries here, and other bits and bobs here.

The release comes as Sun Microsystems begins to digest MySQL, while also offering a distribution of PostgreSQL with Solaris. Sun software executive vice president Rich Green gave his blessing to PostgreSQL 8.3, calling the database an "impressive new release" the he encourages customers to explore.®

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