Eyeing greater use of the open source Postgres database in the cloud, hosting provider Open Hosting has launched a service that allows users to run an automated cluster of PostGres databases on the company's own servers.
The company has released a package, Cloud Postgres, that streamlines the process of installing, configuring and monitoring a multiple-server Postgres (formally known as PostGreSQL) implementation on Open Hosting's own servers.
The company is pitching the service to support Web applications, such as those that are run on Ruby on Rails, Django, Drupal or Java. Maintaining multiple duplicate databases in a cluster setup improves stability and performance of the application, the company has asserted.
While Postgres has long enjoyed clustering capabilities, either built-in or through add-on software, the Cloud Postgres service promises to simplify the sometimes thorny administrative chores associated with setting up and running a Postgres cluster.
The software package provisions multiple Postgres servers, each on a separate CentOS 6.2 Linux distribution running on a virtual server. It configures the IP addresses, firewalls, and VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks), as well as tunes and sizes the databases.
Each cluster can retain two full backups of the data, with the ability to store all the incremental changes between the oldest copy of the database and the newest one. Administrators can get automated email alerts when any of the servers stops performing correctly. Customers can opt for either synchronous or asynchronous replication.
Although cloud providers such as Amazon have tended to initially use Postgres' open source counterpart MySQL for their own cloud database offerings, Postgres is starting to get some attention in this arena. Recently, hosting provider Heroku has launched a PostGres service. And enterprise Postgres support vendor EnterpriseDB offers a package for running Postgres on Amazon Web Services (AWS), also in a cluster mode, if desired.
The clustering capability is offered as a beta service, and costs nothing in addition to Open Hosting's usual hosting fees. Each deployment requires four virtual servers, four IP addresses, two firewalls and one VLAN. The service is unmanaged -- the customer gets root access to the CentOS instances.
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