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Thoughts on scaling out PostgreSQL, sharding, multi-tenant apps, real-time analytics, and distributed databases.

Claire Giordano

Call for speakers for Citus Con: An Event for Postgres

Written byBy Claire Giordano | January 31, 2022Jan 31, 2022

When you find yourself answering the same questions again and again, it’s a good idea to blog about it. Which is why this post about Citus Con: An Event for Postgres exists: to answer your questions, and share the news about this first-ever, inaugural event.

Citus Con: An Event for Postgres is a free and virtual developer event happening in April 2022, organized by the Postgres and Citus team here at Microsoft. Speakers will come from different parts of the Postgres ecosystem, including Postgres users, Citus open source users, Azure Database for PostgreSQL customers, and developers/experts in PostgreSQL and Postgres extensions, like Citus.

The Call for Proposals (CFP) for Citus Con is open until Feb 6th. Whether this will be your 1000th conference talk or your very 1st, we’d love to see what Postgres experiences you have to share.

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Gurkan Indibay

Tips for installing Citus and Postgres packages

Written byBy Gürkan İndibay | January 22, 2022Jan 22, 2022

Citus is a great extension for scaling out Postgres databases horizontally. You can use Citus either on the cloud on Azure or you can download Citus open source and install it wherever. In this blog post, we will focus on Citus open source packaging and installation.

When you go to the Citus download page to download the Citus packages—or you visit the Citus open source docs—many of you jump straight to the install instructions and the particular OS you’re looking for. That way, you can get straight to sharding Postgres with Citus.

But what if you want to see which operating systems the Citus packages support? Or what if you want to install Citus with an older version of Postgres?

This post will answer these types of nitty-gritty questions about Citus packages and their usages. Specifically, this post will cover these questions:

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If you’ve never done it before, you might be daunted by the idea of giving a conference talk. You know: the work involved, the butterflies, how to make it a good talk and not a boring one, the people who might judge you… And perhaps the hardest bit: choosing a topic others will find interesting.

The last few months I’ve been working on a new event. It’s a free and virtual developer event happening on 12-13 Apr 2022 called Citus Con: An Event for Postgres. Organized by the Postgres and Citus team here at Microsoft Azure, Citus Con is geared toward Postgres users, Azure Database for PostgreSQL customers, and those who use the Citus extension to Postgres (or other PG extensions.)

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Claire Giordano

UK COVID-19 dashboard built using Postgres and Citus for millions of users

Written byBy Claire Giordano & Pouria Hadjibagheri | December 11, 2021Dec 11, 2021

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Kingdom (UK) government has made it a top priority to track key health metrics and to share those metrics with the public.

And the citizens of the UK were hungry for information, as they tried to make sense of what was happening. Maps, graphs, and tables became the lingua franca of the pandemic. As a result, the GOV.UK Coronavirus dashboard became one of the most visited public service websites in the United Kingdom.

The list of people who rely on the UK Coronavirus dashboard is quite long: government personnel, public health officials, healthcare employees, journalists, and the public all use the same service.

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Burak Velioglu

How to scale Postgres for time series data with Citus

Written byBy Burak Velioglu | October 22, 2021Oct 22, 2021

Managing time series data at scale can be a challenge. PostgreSQL offers many powerful data processing features such as indexes, COPY and SQL—but the high data volumes and ever-growing nature of time series data can cause your database to slow down over time.

Fortunately, Postgres has a built-in solution to this problem: Partitioning tables by time range.

Partitioning with the Postgres declarative partitioning feature can help you speed up query and ingest times for your time series workloads. Range partitioning lets you create a table and break it up into smaller partitions, based on ranges (typically time ranges). Query performance improves since each query only has to deal with much smaller chunks. Though, you’ll still be limited by the memory, CPU, and storage resources of your Postgres server.

The good news is you can scale out your partitioned Postgres tables to handle enormous amounts of data by distributing the partitions across a cluster. How? By using the Citus extension to Postgres. In other words, with Citus you can create distributed time-partitioned tables. To save disk space on your nodes, you can also compress your partitions—without giving up indexes on them. Even better: the latest Citus 10.2 open-source release makes it a lot easier to manage your partitions in PostgreSQL.

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Today, we are excited to announce PostgreSQL 14’s General Availability (GA) on Azure’s Hyperscale (Citus) option. To our knowledge, this is the first time a major cloud provider has announced GA for a new Postgres major version on their platform one day after the official release.

Starting today, you can deploy Postgres 14 in many Hyperscale (Citus) regions. In upcoming months, we will roll out Postgres 14 across more Azure regions and also release it with our new Flexible Server option in Azure Database for PostgreSQL.

This announcement helps us bring the latest in Postgres to Azure customers as new features become available. Further, it shows our commitment to open source PostgreSQL and its ecosystem. We choose to extend Postgres and share our contributions, instead of creating and managing a proprietary fork on the cloud.

In this blog post, you’ll first get a glimpse into some of our favorite features in Postgres 14. These include connection scaling, faster VACUUM, and improvements to crash recovery times.

We’ll then describe the work involved in making Postgres extensions compatible with new major Postgres versions, including our distributed database Citus as well as other extensions such as HyperLogLog (HLL), pg_cron, and TopN. Finally, you’ll learn how packaging, testing, and deployments work on Hyperscale (Citus). This last part ties everything together and enables us to release new versions on Azure, with speed.

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Onder Kalaci

What’s new in the Citus 10.2 extension to Postgres

Written byBy Onder Kalaci | September 17, 2021Sep 17, 2021

Citus 10.2 is out! If you are not yet familiar with Citus, it is an open source extension to Postgres that transforms Postgres into a distributed database—so you can achieve high performance at any scale. The Citus open source packages are available for download. And Citus is also available in the cloud as a managed service, too.

You can see a bulleted list of all the changes in the CHANGELOG on GitHub. This post is your guide to what’s new in Citus 10.2, including some of these headline features.

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Jelte Fennema

Shard rebalancing in the Citus 10.1 extension to Postgres

Written byBy Jelte Fennema | September 3, 2021Sep 3, 2021

With the 10.1 release to the Citus extension to Postgres, you can now monitor the progress of an ongoing shard rebalance—plus you get performance optimizations, as well as some user experience improvements to the rebalancer, too.

Whether you use Citus open source to scale out Postgres, or you use Citus in the cloud, this post is your guide to what’s new with the shard rebalancer in Citus 10.1.

And if you’re wondering when you might need to use the shard rebalancer: the rebalancer is used when you add a new Postgres node to your existing Citus database cluster and you want to move some of the old data to this new node, to “balance” the cluster. There are also times you might want to balance shards across nodes in a Citus cluster in order to optimize performance. A common example of this is when you have a SaaS application and one of your customers/tenants has significant more activity than the rest.

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There is some good news for those of you wanting to shard your Postgres database in the cloud, so that as your data grows you have an easy way to scale out your Postgres database. I’m delighted to announce that Citus 10—the latest open source release of the Citus extension to Postgres—is now generally available in Hyperscale (Citus).

Hyperscale (Citus) is a built-in option in the Azure Database for PostgreSQL managed service, which has been around for a couple of years to help those of you who would rather focus on your application—and not on spending cycles managing your database.

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Citus 10.1 is out! In this latest release to the Citus extension to Postgres, our team focused on improving your user experience. Some of the 10.1 fixes are operational improvements—such as with the shard rebalancer, or with citus_update_node. Some are performance improvements—such as for multi-row INSERTs or with citus_shards. And some are fixes you’ll appreciate if you use Citus with lots of Postgres partitions.

Given that the previous Citus 10 release included a bevy of new features—including things like columnar storage, Citus on a single node, open sourcing the shard rebalancer, new UDFs so you can alter distributed table properties, and the ability to combine Postgres and Citus tables via support for JOINs between local and distributed tables, and foreign keys between local and reference tables—well, we felt that Citus 10.1 needed to prioritize some of our backlog items, the kinds of things that can make your life easier.

This post is your guide to the what’s new in Citus 10.1. And if you want to catch up on all the new things in past releases to Citus, check out the release notes posts about Citus 10, Citus 9.5, Citus 9.4, Citus 9.3, and Citus 9.2.

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