Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Database Biology

From Biology we learn that all (known) complex organisms are comprised of multiple cells. Cells are not simple things, but their most important quality is their ability to work together to create something much bigger than themselves.

Large, mature businesses end up with hundreds of databases to perform all of their business functions. Yet we seem still to have much difficulty in making databases work together. ETL, EAI and information integration tools seem to help somewhat but that feels more like plumbing than intelligent integration.

My goal for some years now has been to create ways for databases to work together in more complex ways, not just operate as single-celled organisms. The backbone of that is change propagation between the cells, which most people call database replication. That is why I've been so engaged in enhancing replication for so many years but it is not an end in itself. Sure, most of that has been for PostgreSQL - but then that's OK because everybody uses that, whether they even know/admit it or not.

Making it work is the first step. Making it all work easily is important also. With my background in solutions, I've personally preferred a toolkit approach that allows good custom solutions to be developed. Shrink-wrap software is needed as well and that's why I've been working with Robert Hodges of Continuent to help bring a compelling solution forwards that has both a good out-of-the-box feel as well as the flexibility to solve those tricky requirements people keep throwing at me. (Don't stop! It's fun)

Streaming, synchronous replication will be with us by next Summer if the release dates all go to plan. The ability to run queries on standby servers while they actively accept new changes from their master will also be with us soon: Hot Standby.

I'll blog more about Hot Standby for PostgreSQL over the coming weeks. In the longer term I'll explain more about the directions I hope to take with clustered databases, and why.

1 comment:

  1. Simon,

    I congratulate you on your new blog. I hope that many PostgreSQL users will find this as an important source for PostgreSQL related solutions and technologies, as well as for overall best practices building PostgreSQL based applications.

    On clustered databases, I trust that you already saw Robert's great blog on The Future of Database Clustering (http://scale-out-blog.blogspot.com/2009/09/future-of-database-clustering.html). Any comments on that are naturally welcome!

    I look forward interesting posts from you,