PostgreSQL is one of the oldest yet the most advanced open source database management system. It is managed and maintained by a vibrant and independent source of community and actively provide support and help solve the issues when working with PostgreSQL. It can be run on various platforms such as Windows, Linux, and Mac.
It can be used by a programmer, project manager, and system administrator or by any software professional for the purpose of building products, websites, tools, etc. It requires minimum maintenance because of its stability. It allows you to define your own data types, index types, and let you develop a custom plugin to meet your requirements.
PostgreSQL provides some comparable features with Oracle and DB2 such as full ACID compliance and multi-version concurrency control for a reliable outstanding transaction and to provide support in case of high concurrent loads respectively. It also supports standard programs such as MySQL, ANSI SQL, MongoDB, Oracle, and many others. It is also highly extensible with support for GIN and GIST index types, NoSQL database, and provides various features for document or key-value based application development.
Advantages of Using PostgreSQL
Let’s first discuss the advantages.
Consider how much extra codes you need to write for error handling if you don’t have transactions. And if you need to write that error handling every time you write a program, you end up with a client-side library and probably going to need transaction labels. But why bother when you have a database that provides transactions. PostgreSQL provides you transactional DDL. It’s not just your INSERT, UPDATE or DELETE for the transaction but it’s actually things like creating a table, drop table, auto table, etc. It is very different from the way Oracle works.
For example, if you make a change to a table, that will commit that transaction immediately. It really matters when you have a complex relational application and its very typical to make changes to your application at the same time you are making changes to underline database schema. And if you want to implement that to application changes it will make all of the changes to your application at once within a single transaction.
Unlike other database applications, PostgreSQL provides you code comments. Code comments help you to see what a particular code does or what it does not do before you lock it for the application. That means you will be able to understand the design and be able to follow and open the engineering process. That gives us the security, quality, and ability to grow the community because more people can get involved and can see what is going on the code. So this idea of code comment leads to a fully functional open source community rather than just a dead piece of code on GitHub.
The purpose of the parameters is to have an intelligent setting and if you need to change it you can look at the manual and work out what it is and change the parameter. Postgres benefits from many adjustable parameters. In a lot of database systems, you set environmental parameters, but you set them at the whole database level. It doesn’t matter how many parameters there are, what matters is, be able to change it when you need to change it. For instance, there are a lot of cases where Postgres itself has internal parameters but we adjust those parameters according to measurements about how we use in the system. For example, the amount of memory you would like to give to the server. As a result, we have a piece of information that we have calculated inside the database. Another thing about the parameters is that you set them in a whole range of places. For example, you can set them for a session, you can even set them for a transaction and function.
Another important feature of Postgres is that it is highly extensible. We can extend the database, it’s not fixed. So if you need an additional feature in Postgres you can actually add it yourself. That’s rather difficult with other databases. Extensibility is a whole set of different aspects of Postgres. What that allows you to do is to come up with functions, data types, languages, all manner of different changes and you can install them into your database server just by saying create extension and then it does everything else for you.
Postgres itself has features that are related to security but also extensions that you can make use of to enhance security. Postgres has some international recognition in terms of its ability to provide security for you. It provides parameter security, as well as app security. In terms of the parameter security, if you want to lock down your database system it provides the configurations at the OS level that you can configure to lock down the environment around your database. In terms of the app security, it provides security on the basis of user privilege by separating the accounts as read-only, read/write or other actions depending upon the category. Besides just granting permission to a specific user to access something you can also create permission on something to be able to have it ongoing.
Disadvantages of PostgreSQL:
There are not many disadvantages to the PostgreSQL database. However, the difference lies when some people choose the NoSQL database which is a newer technology over the SQL database.
Database in Postgres is typically used as a relational database. That means we have a database that works with some assumptions or in a certain way. And is, of course, the SQ language you use. Such a database works with tables like a data bin or a storage container. So in the SQL world when we query data with SQL we will have very strict requirements for data we store in our database table. With a clear schema of which data can go into a table and that schema is defined by fields.
And every new entry or record you add has value for these fields. But the important thing is, it cannot have more fields than we define for the table. It’s not possible that one record has a name and price description and the next one also has a name and price description. And if you want to add some extra data as comments or data attributes to your existing data, you cannot do this just by adding a separate field to that, but then all the entries or all the records need to have additional fields. And whether you have or not, you need to provide some information for all those fields. On the other hand, NoSQL database such as MongoDB stores data as a document. The documents can have different attributes so there is no fixed schema
Postgres is an open source database application and therefore, is not owned by one particular organization. Despite being feature-rich and outstanding capabilities it had trouble getting its name out there as compared to the proprietary software which has full control and copyright over the product. Therefore, it does not come with a warranty and has no liability or indemnity protection.
Another disadvantage of being an open source software is that, as it is managed by many communities, therefore, the underline code has to be very clear as to when down the line it is passed on to some other community it may lack some user-friendly interfaces or features that you may be are familiar with today. It could also have compatibility issues with some users. Sometimes it requires specialized software or hardware to run an open source program.
There are various performance issues and backup recovery challenges that people face with Postgres. A lot of times you have a query which is running slow and you suddenly see there is performance degradation in your database environment. When finding a query, Postgres due to its relational database structure has to begin with the first row and then read through the entire table to find the relevant data. Therefore, it performs slower especially when there is a large number of data stored in the rows and columns of a table containing many fields of additional information to compare.
Postgres is really helpful for developers as it comes with many features. Its functionality is not limited to helping the developers only but also the administrators to help protect their data integrity and provide such database environment in which you can easily manage your data no matter how big or small the dataset is. In addition to that, it’s free and highly extensible so that you can define your own data types or build custom functions or even write different codes without compromising your database.
Being an open source platform it has many active communities working actively to provide support to its concurrent users as well as in the production of PostgreSQL cluster and specialized systems to manage many terabytes of data.
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About The Author
My name is Stuti Dhruv & I am senior consultant at Aalpha, primarily working on pre sales, consulting with clients on latest technology trends.