5 Key Postgres Advantages Over MySQL
Both systems provide frequent updates and have a thriving community supporting them, but Postgres has some key advantages over MySQL.
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Not all relational database management systems (RDBMS) are created equal. Although PostgreSQL (or Postgres) and MySQL share a lot of similarities, they also have unique qualities that make one a better choice over the other in specific situations. While both MySQL and Postgres are free and open-source RDBMS, Postgres is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS), which means it has both object-oriented and relational database functionality.
In general, an RDBMS organizes data like Excel does, in tables of rows and columns, although describing it as “Excel on steroids” would be more appropriate. RDBMS were designed to let users work with massive amounts of data, but their unique differences mean it's important to choose the right database from the get-go.
MySQL is an open-source, stable, secure, lightweight database management system created by Oracle which can be installed and used on both a developer's desktop or in a vast IT estate that contains production application servers running multi-tier apps on platforms like Windows, Linux, or Mac.
One of MySQL's biggest competitors is Postgres, one of the most interesting options in open-source relational databases. Postgres is also free and offers many advanced options beyond what MySQL can provide. Because it handles extraordinary database situations better than MySQL, Postgres is viewed as the go-to solution when performing complicated, high-volume data operations. However, there are other reasons why it's a smart move to choose Postgres over MySQL.
1. Multi-Version Concurrency Control
Postgres was the first DBMS to rollout multi-version concurrency control (MVCC), which means reading never blocks writing and vice versa. This feature is one of the main reasons why businesses prefer Postgres to MySQL. As Postgres explains, "Unlike most other database systems which use locks for concurrency control, Postgres maintains data consistency by using a multiversion model. This means that while querying a database each transaction sees a snapshot of data (a database version) as it was some time ago, regardless of the current state of the underlying data. This protects the transaction from viewing inconsistent data that could be caused by (other) concurrent transaction updates on the same data rows, providing transaction isolation for each database session."
Utilizing what Oracle calls 'snapshot isolation', MVCC lets multiple readers and writers concurrently interact with the Postgres database, eliminating the need for a read-write lock every time someone interacts with the data. A side benefit is this process provides a big efficiency boost.
PostgreSQL is an ORDBMS. As per one online report, it serves as a bridge between object-oriented programming and relational/procedural programming (like C++ does)." In this way it allows for more complicated data structures because users can define objects and table inheritance. Also, an ORDBMS works better when data doesn’t fit within a strictly relational model.
3. Data Storage
"One key difference between PostgreSQL and standard relational database systems is that PostgreSQL stores much more information in its catalogs: not only information about tables and columns, but also information about data types, functions, access methods, and so on," states the developer of Postgres. Users can modify these tables, which means Postgres can be extended by a user, unlike with most conventional database systems, which require hardcoded changes in the source code to modify the software.
PostgreSQL natively supports NoSQL as well as a rich set of data types, including Numeric Types, Boolean Type, Network Address, Bit String Types, Arrays, Composite Types, Object Identifier Types, Pseudo-Types, and even Geometric Types like Points, Line Segments, Boxes, Paths, Polygons, and Circles. It also supports JSON, hstore, and XML, and users can even add new types using the
CREATE TYPE command. Postgres also supports a lot of SQL syntaxes, such as common table expressions, Windows functions, and table inheritance.
PostgreSQL works better when a lot of complicated queries have to be run under heavy loads. With complex read-write operations that require data validation, PostgreSQL is an excellent database choice. However, the ORDBMS could experience slowdowns while having the read-only operations (that’s when MySQL excels).
Postgres claims it is 'the most advanced open source database on the market', and this is not a hollow boast as many of its users second this bold assertion. Unlike MySQL, which is managed by Oracle, Postgres is overseen by a vibrant community of developers who are highly motivated to both use the product and help others to discover it and keep it running smoothly.
Third-party support services are available, but because Postgres is community-owned, there is no commercial company backstopping it like MySQL with Oracle. However, the community is a highly engaged one and the same community supports and constantly updates the platform via the PostgreSQL Global Development Group.
It's clear that not all RDBMS are created equal. Both Postgres and MySQL have been around a long time; Postgres since 1988 and MySQL since 1995, so large communities have been built up around both these platforms. Both systems provide frequent updates and have a thriving community supporting them. Postgres has a liberal open-source license that allows modification and distribution of the platform to any and everyone.
Customization is also simple because Postgres lets users incorporate custom functions developed in C/C++, Java, as well as other programming languages. Postgres was designed for extra-large systems and it doesn’t restrict the size of a company's databases, so scalability isn't an issue.
Postgres users include some of the biggest users of enterprise data, including Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Fujitsu, Instagram, Macworld, Red Hat, Skype, Spotify, Sun Microsystem, and Yahoo. Postgres probably isn’t going to win any database popularity contests any time soon as MySQL enjoys universal adoration, but with companies like Apple, Facebook, Red Hat, Skype, and Yahoo in your corner, companies whose very business model is about monetizing data, you've got to be doing something right.
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