PostgreSQL 13 Released!

Posted on 2020-09-24 by PostgreSQL Global Development Group
PostgreSQL Project

The PostgreSQL Global Development Group today announced the release of PostgreSQL 13, the latest version of the world’s most advanced open source database.

PostgreSQL 13 includes significant improvements to its indexing and lookup system that benefit large databases, including space savings and performance gains for indexes, faster response times for queries that use aggregates or partitions, better query planning when using enhanced statistics, and more.

Along with highly requested features like parallelized vacuuming and incremental sorting, PostgreSQL 13 provides a better data management experience for workloads big and small, with optimizations for daily administration, more conveniences for application developers, and security enhancements.

"PostgreSQL 13 showcases the collaboration and dedication of our global community in furthering the abilities of the world's most advanced open source relational database," said Peter Eisentraut, a PostgreSQL Core Team member. "The innovations that each release brings along with its reputation for reliability and stability is the reason why more people choose to use PostgreSQL for their applications."

PostgreSQL, an innovative data management system known for its reliability and robustness, benefits from over 25 years of open source development from a global developer community and has become the preferred open source relational database for organizations of all sizes.

Continued Performance Gains

Building on work from the previous PostgreSQL release, PostgreSQL 13 can efficiently handle duplicate data in B-tree indexes, the standard database index. This lowers the overall space usage that B-tree indexes require while improving overall query performance.

PostgreSQL 13 introduces incremental sorting, where sorted data from an earlier step in a query can accelerate sorting at a later step. Additionally, PostgreSQL can now use the extended statistics system (accessed via CREATE STATISTICS) to create improved plans for queries with OR clauses and IN/ANY lookups over lists.

In PostgreSQL 13, more types of aggregate and grouping set queries can leverage PostgreSQL’s efficient hash aggregation functionality, as queries with large aggregates do not have to fit entirely into memory. Queries with partitioned tables have received a performance boost, as there are now more cases where partitions can be pruned and where partitions can be directly joined.

Administration Optimizations

Vacuuming is an essential part of PostgreSQL administration, enabling the database to reclaim storage space after rows are updated and deleted. This process can also present administrative challenges, though prior PostgreSQL releases have done work to ease the overhead of vacuuming.

PostgreSQL 13 continues to improve the vacuuming system with the introduction of parallelized vacuum for indexes. In addition to the vacuuming performance benefits it offers, the use of this new feature can be tuned to specific workloads as administrators can select the number of parallel workers to run. In addition to these performance benefits, data inserts can now trigger the autovacuum process.

Replication slots, which are used to prevent write-ahead logs (WAL) from being removed before they are received by a replica, can be tuned in PostgreSQL 13 to specify the max number of WAL files to retain and help avoid out-of-disk errors.

PostgreSQL 13 also adds more ways an administrator can monitor database activity, including referencing WAL usage statistics from EXPLAIN, the progress of streaming base backups, and the progress of the ANALYZE commands. Additionally, the integrity of the output of the pg_basebackup command can be checked using the new pg_verifybackup command.

Application Development Conveniences

PostgreSQL 13 makes it even easier to work with PostgreSQL data types coming from different data sources. This release adds the datetime() function to its SQL/JSON path support, which converts valid time formats (e.g. ISO 8601 strings) to PostgreSQL-native types. Additionally, the UUID v4 generation function, gen_random_uuid(), is now available without having to install any extensions.

PostgreSQL’s partitioning system is more flexible, as partitioned tables fully support logical replication and BEFORE row-level triggers.

The FETCH FIRST syntax in PostgreSQL 13 is now expanded to include the WITH TIES clause. When specified, WITH TIES includes any rows that, based on the ORDER BY clause, "tie" with the last row in the result set.

Security Enhancements

PostgreSQL’s extension system is a key component of its robustness as it allows developers to expand its functionality. In previous releases, new extensions could only be installed by a database superuser. To make it easier to take advantage of PostgreSQL’s extensibility, PostgreSQL 13 adds the concept of a "trusted extension," which allows database users to install extensions that a superuser marks as "trusted." Certain built-in extensions are marked as trusted by default, including pgcrypto, tablefunc, hstore, and more.

For applications that require secure authentication methods, PostgreSQL 13 allows for clients to require channel binding when using SCRAM authentication, and the PostgreSQL foreign data wrapper (postgres_fdw) can now use certificate-based authentication.

About PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is the world's most advanced open source database, with a global community of thousands of users, contributors, companies and organizations. Built on over 30 years of engineering, starting at the University of California, Berkeley, PostgreSQL has continued with an unmatched pace of development. PostgreSQL's mature feature set not only matches top proprietary database systems, but exceeds them in advanced database features, extensibility, security, and stability.

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