Database Wars: Postgres vs MySQL

  • By Annan Liu
    • Feb 07, 2024
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Database

The ongoing debate between two database titans, Postgres and MySQL, remains as fervent as ever. This year’s Stack Overflow survey signaled a significant shift, with Postgres seizing the crown as the most admired and desired database, dethroning MySQL. While MySQL still commands the lion’s share of users, Postgres boldly asserts itself as the most advanced open-source relational database globally. With deep roots in database integration, the Bytebase team, instrumental in Google Cloud SQL’s development, offers a rich comparative analysis of these database giants across crucial dimensions. 

Database Connection Models

In terms of connection models, Postgres employs a process-per-connection approach, offering enhanced isolation at the cost of increased resource consumption. MySQL, on the other hand, adopts a more resource-efficient thread-per-connection model. For robust Postgres deployments, experts recommend using connection poolers like PgBouncer or pgcat. 

Database Performance

Performance remains the lifeblood of databases, and both Postgres and MySQL shine in this regard, with similar performance in most scenarios, varying by at most 30%. However, the absence of a necessary index can lead to a drastic degradation in performance, ranging from 10 to 1000 times. 

database

Features

Moving to features, Postgres and MySQL diverge in their object hierarchy, with Postgres employing a more granular five-level system compared to MySQL’s four-tier structure. Both databases support ACID transactions, but Postgres generally provides stronger transaction support. Notably, Postgres offers out-of-the-box Row Level Security (RLS), while MySQL requires additional views to replicate this feature. 

Query optimization is another arena where Postgres excels, boasting a superior query optimizer that contributes to enhanced query performance. Replication strategies differ as well, with Postgres predominantly utilizing physical replication through Write-Ahead Logging (WAL), while MySQL relies on logical replication using binlogs. Postgres also supports logical replication via its Publish/Subscribe mode. 

In terms of Common Table Expressions (CTE), Postgres offers comprehensive support, allowing SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT, and DELETE operations inside and following a CTE. MySQL supports SELECT operations inside and following a CTE but falls short in terms of comprehensiveness. 

Usability

Usability diverges significantly, with Postgres adhering more rigorously to standards, while MySQL is more forgiving and follows conventions. MySQL is case-insensitive by default, whereas Postgres is case-sensitive. MySQL permits joins across databases, a flexibility that Postgres lacks unless you employ the FDW extension. 

In conclusion, the decision between Postgres and MySQL in 2023 remains complex, with each database offering unique advantages. Postgres boasts advanced features, a thriving community, and a robust ecosystem, while MySQL offers a shallower learning curve and a larger user base. The choice hinges on project specifics and one’s familiarity with the databases. In many real-world scenarios, both Postgres and MySQL coexist, demanding effective database development lifecycle management tools like Bytebase.

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Author

annan
Annan Liu

Senior Innovation Funding Consultant

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