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Pimp my PostgreSQL: Swarm64 paints go-faster stripes on open-source database challenger

Legacy data warhouse wheezing? It could be an option

Parallel processing and hardware optimisation biz Swarm64 has pushed out PostgreSQL acceleration software in the hopes this will set it up to compete against proprietary products.

Ranked number four in the database market by DBEngines, PostgreSQL is often left in the shade of fellow open-source stalwarts MySQL and MariaDB.

The firm hopes a performance boost to the DB - allowing it to analyse data orders of magnitude faster than the basic open-source PostgreSQL download can - will tempt users of proprietary alternatives to consider the open-source database as a viable, cheaper option, said Swarm64 co-founder and CEO Thomas Richter.

"Not only do we want to give people who are using Postgres a wider scope and easy way out of their performance and scaling issues, but in addition, we want people to consider Postgres for replacement legacy data warehouses, or for new developments, where they may not traditionally have considered Postgres," he said.

"Postgres is fantastic in the transactional space: that's really where it has built its popularity, but when you're trying to run complicated reports, to run heavy analytics, to slice and dice large data sets it is where Postgres falls behind those proprietary offerings."

This is where Swarm64 DA 4.0 comes in, he said.

The product does not require changes to users' SQL or application code, the CEO told us. It supports greater parallel processing by rewriting query patterns to execute in parallel at every phase of the query. It parallelises scanning, filtering, joining and merging, and spins up to 64 parallel threads.

Swarm64 DA compresses data by a factor of five to 25, the company claimed, depending on the data type. Besides reducing storage costs, reading compressed data, along with columnar indexing, Swarm64 reduces I/O by a factor of 20 relative to standard Postgres, it claimed.

Among other new features, the accelerator provides optional support for field-programmable gate array (FPGA) processors on premises or in cloud-based systems. "FPGAs are a cost-efficient way to further increase the acceleration effects of Swarm64 DA to handle bigger databases, real-time analytics, or greater concurrency," the firm said.

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The accelerator may appeal to those trying to migrate away from legacy Oracle databases in particular, as the Postgres and Oracle databases have always been very close, Richter said.

Another application where the accelerator offers benefits is in IoT data, he said. "Wherever you have large amounts of data and a high degree of parallelism: that's where we see ourselves as the performance enhancers."

The accelerator also helps Postgres handle a hybrid between transactional and analytics data where the user is analysing live data. As such, it has completed IoT projects with Toyota in connected cars, wind-turbine optimisation and predictive maintenance, as well as ad-tech and fintech analytics.

But the rival market in open-source databases is not standing still - competition remains intense. Just last month, MariaDB, which forked from MySQL, also added features to support transactions and analytics on the same data. ®

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