Waiting for 8.5 – Hot Standby

On 19th of December Simon Riggs committed a patch that will quite likely be the single most-talked-about change in PostgreSQL 8.5:

Log Message:
Allow read only connections during recovery, known as Hot Standby. 
Enabled by recovery_connections = on (default) and forcing archive recovery
using a recovery.conf. Recovery processing now emulates the original
transactions as they are replayed, providing full locking and MVCC behaviour
for read only queries. Recovery must enter consistent state before
connections are allowed, so there is a delay, typically short, before
connections succeed. Replay of recovering transactions can conflict and in
some cases deadlock with queries during recovery; these result in query
cancellation after max_standby_delay seconds have expired. Infrastructure
changes have minor effects on normal running, though introduce four new
types of WAL record. 
New test mode "make standbycheck" allows regression tests of
static command behaviour on a standby server while in recovery. Typical and
extreme dynamic behaviours have been checked via code inspection and manual
testing. Few port specific behaviours have been utilised, though primary
testing has been on Linux only so far. 
This commit is the basic patch. Additional changes will follow in this
release to enhance some aspects of behaviour, notably improved handling of
conflicts, deadlock detection and query cancellation. Changes to VACUUM FULL
are also required.
Simon Riggs, with significant and lengthy review by Heikki Linnakangas,
including streamlined redesign of snapshot creation and two-phase commit.
Important contributions from Florian Pflug, Mark Kirkwood, Merlin Moncure,
Greg Stark, Gianni Ciolli, Gabriele Bartolini, Hannu Krosing, Robert Haas,
Tatsuo Ishii, Hiroyuki Yamada plus support and feedback from many other
community members.

Continue reading Waiting for 8.5 – Hot Standby

Is there any good versioning package for database schema and/or data?

Like practically any application, applications that I deal with evolve. They change their requirements when it comes to database storage – new tables, new columns, modified columns. Or perhaps – new base data – like new values in virtually static dictionaries.

For past years we've been working with set of pl/plgsql functions which kept track of “patches", and their dependencies.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn't really scale well, and it generates problems when we use replication (Slony).

The problems mean that we have to apply the patches “by hand" on master/slave server, because downtime in the day is not acceptable, and nobody is willing to do upgrades at 3 am just to be able to add new column.

So, we deal with it. But lately I grew annoyed by this, and started to think about a better way to organize patches.

I “dream" about a system when I would write a patch itself, and the system will make it possible to install and uninstall it with automatic changing database to prior state (this is not simple with things like “update", but it is definitely possible).

System which would “understand" replication, and apply changes to all replicated servers in a way that it will be as safe as possible with no or minimal downtime.

System which would let me track dependencies, and then install them if I'll tell it to install patch, that requires some other patches that were not applied to target database.

Basically – I want something like apt-get/dpkg/rpm for database.

So, writing this seems to be perfectly possible, but is it necessary? Perhaps somebody someplace already wrote such system? Do you know any? Or should I stop whining, sit down and write it myself?