The beta release of the next version of the PostgreSQL database has been announced, with improvements in performance as the main highlight.
The performance improvements to PostgreSQL 9.2 start with the addition of index-only scans. This means your queries can retrieve data only from indexes without the need to scan base tables. This is obviously faster, and is possible so long as the data is all visible in the heap pages.
Where the workload is read-only, the new version has been improved to enable it to make use of up to 64 cores and to run over 300,000 queries per second. The data write speeds have also been improved, including group commit.
Cascading replication is now supported so you can work with geographically distributed standby databases.
From the developer viewpoint the new release makes it easier to work with hybrid databases containing both relational and document-based databases thanks to the addition of support for JSON data types meaning you can store JSON documents. JSON functions have also been added that can be used to convert array and row data into JSON.
Range data types have also been added that will let you store dates, time series and analytic data. You can also create custom range types.
The final release version is intended to be available in September.
Microsoft Research does some interesting work in computational photography and has just released a new version of Image Composition Editor, a tool that can stitch photos together in amazing ways. [ ... ]