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Tag Archives: database

How-To: Build a Geographic Database with PostGIS and vPostgres

Mobile Location Based Services are on the rise. After several false starts back in the mid 2000s, every mobile user now depends on their phones to tell them where they are, where their friends are, and to engage with social media like Facebook and Foursquare.  A report by Juniper Research suggests this market is expected to breach over $12 billion next year, where it hardly existed a few years ago at all.

This is in part because mobile apps have become ubiquitous now. In order to remain relevant, businesses need to interact socially and have a web store to remain accessible to their wandering customers.

Building a geographically aware application from scratch sounds daunting and like a lot of initial data setup. It doesn’t have to be. Products like vFabric Postgres (vPostgres) can be used along with the PostGIS extensions to perform geographic-style queries. Then,  public data and an open source visualizer can be used to transform the query into a meaningful result for your application or end user.

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How to Perform Security Updates on vFabric Postgres

The PostgreSQL community announced last week that an important security update will be released on April 4, 2013. This release will include a fix for a high-exposure security vulnerability and all users are strongly urged to apply the update as soon as it is available. Knowing how disruptive urgent security updates can be to IT and developers, the PostgreSQL community issued advanced warning in the hopes that it would ease the impact to day-to-day operations while helping as many companies as possible to adopt the update quickly.

As such, we would like to take the time to remind us all how important these security updates are to your business, and how to apply them most efficiently for vFabric Postgres.

The Cost of Missing Security Updates

Maintenance and security software updates are essential in extending application longevity as well as in keeping the confidence of customers who use services based on the application.

When big data disasters hit, the impacts quickly move beyond financial and affect reputation and trust. Databases are a particular area of concern. A recent article titled, “Making Database Security Your No. 1 2013 Resolution,” cited a Verizon study that showed only 10 percent of total security spend goes into database protection, while 92 percent of stolen data comes out of databases.

According to the seventh annual U.S. Cost of a Data Breach report from Ponemon Institute, the cost of an average data breach was $5.5M in 2011 or $194 per record. While $5.5M may not sound like a lot to some companies, losing one million records at a cost of $194 per record adds up. Continue reading

Scaling Real-Time Comments @ HuffPost Live with RabbitMQ

Last week, one of the engineering leaders from Huffingtonpost.com presented at the Erlang Factory, a 2-day conference held in San Francisco with 50+ speakers across 8 tracks (not the cassette kind). Among the presenters was, Adam Denenberg, VP of Engineering at the Huffington Post and HuffPost Live. Besides leading the engineering teams for Huffingtonpost.com and HuffPost Live, Adam is also responsible for community products and advertising platforms.

By using RabbitMQ, SockJS, Cowboy, Erlang, and more, his team built a highly scalable, customizable solution for real-time comments based on websockets.  His talk, Realtime Web @ HuffingtonPost, was for developers of real-time, Erlang-based solutions—he covered architecture, lessons learned, pitfalls, and future improvements. The presentation objectives included:

  • Why they went with Erlang and SockJS for the commenting platform
  • How they integrated RabbitMQ routing to power the subscription architecture
  • How they managed subscriptions for real time channels
  • Their plans to extend the framework into an open source solution
  • Where they want other mechanisms for publishing comments outside of RabbitMQ Continue reading

Tips and Tricks for Internal Use of Your vFabric Postgres VM

Ever since VMware released our new version of the popular PostgreSQL, we have been working hard to publish a series of informative articles on what’s new in the vFabric Postgres (vPostgres) 9.2 release. There are a number of cool things like major performance and scale improvements, elastic memory for vPostgres, contributions to open source, master-slave clusters, and new GUI capabilities. In this post, we are going to dig into some tips and tricks for internal use of a vFabric Postgres virtual machine, talk about scripts, and explain the management of the network interface.

First, to see what we are talking about, it would be helpful to login to your vFabric Postgres VM. vPostgres supports SSL by default (see last weeks post on securing your vPostgres deployment for more security tips). Therefore, it is pretty easy to connect to a server and set things up inside for those who really want to personalize things at a very low level (like pg_bha.conf for connection restrictions). After the first initialization, you can connect either as user postgres or root with the same password you used at first boot.

As with every other system, it is never really recommended to connect with the user root for security reasons. By connecting with user postgres you will find the following things once connected. Continue reading

Securing your vFabric PostgreSQL VM

Especially in today’s world, security is top of mind for app developers, DBAs, and CIOs alike. One of the benefits that VMware strives to include in every product is a system of reasonable defaults for security. This generally means that users should expect a reasonably secure middleware application when they deploy a VMware app by default.

vFabric Postgres (vPostgres) is no different. There are not that many security settings in vFabric Postgres. However, there are a few things you can look at as options to further harden your deployment, and of course, the virtual machine that you are deploying them on, particularly if it is exposed to an external environment.

SSL Connection Restrictions

vFabric Postgres has as default users postgres and root, and both can connect to the virtual machine with SSL. If you want to restrict access to the virtual machine for certain users or a group of users, here is some advice to follow:

1. In order to restrict SSL connection only to the members of the group vFabric (the user postgres is a member of this group by default), add this line at in /etc/ssh/sshd_config.

AllowGroups vfabric

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Exploring the New Database Server GUI Features in vFabric Postgres 9.2

The vFabric Postgres 9.2 release seriously upped the user interface (UI) experience. In our post last week, we talked about the built in, VM-based GUI to help manage the system, network, and updates. This week, we’d like to take you through the changes your DBAs and developers will see when using the updated database server—listing the databases on the server, seeing database global data, and drilling into processes and locks. All of this comes out of the box with the vFabric Postgres appliance.

Connecting to the Database Management Interface

Once your vFabric Postgres server is up and running, you can connect to its database management interface using this URL in a web browser. The connection is made with https, port 8443 at the IP address or domain for the server: Continue reading

How to Use the New GUI Features in vFabric Postgres 9.2

People have said code is poetry and information is beautiful, but let’s talk about graphical user interfaces (GUI) and ease of use.

The PostgreSQL community has a multitude of choices when it comes to GUIs versus CLI. For vFabric Postgres, we’ve added some cool, new GUI tools.

In part one of this two-part series on vFabric Postgres user interfaces, we look at the built-in GUI capabilities within the VM of the latest release—vFabric Postgres 9.2. Based on VMware Studio, vFabric Postgres 9.2 uses an instinctive user interface to fully control the behavior of the database virtual machine and allows you to perform basic tasks that are normally associated with an OS. In part 2, we will cover the key features of the database server’s new GUI and explain how to get overview-level information and see both processes and locks. Continue reading

Why Every Database Must Be Broken Soon

Have you ever heard of a zettabyte? If you work in IT, you’ll be hearing more and more about zettabytes, exabytes, and petabytes while the data terms we think are big, such as terabytes and gigabytes wane away from our vocabulary. Right now, we are growing our data stores by 50% year-over-year, and its only accelerating.

In 2010, we crossed the barrier of the zettabyte (ZB) across all online data. This year, we will produce 4 ZB of data worldwide. In 2016, global IP traffic will reach 1.3 ZB.

While data volumes are skyrocketing, the type of data is also becoming more difficult for traditional databases to handle. Over 80% of it will be unstructured file based data that does not work well with block-based data storage typical of your typical relational databases (RDBMS).  So, even if hardware innovations could keep up to support greater volume, the kinds of data we are now storing break traditional RDBMS at today’s speeds.

The bottom line is the volume and types of data being stored is unrealistic for a single, monolithic, structured RDBMS data store. They need to be broken apart and re-architected to survive the Information Explosion we are experiencing today.

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Dynamic Memory Management of vFabric Postgres

In a nutshell, dynamic memory management in vFabric Postgres is conceptually like Elastic Memory for Java (EM4J), but for a virtualized, enterprise-class, open source database instead of an application server.

Compared to a normal PostgreSQL server, vFabric Postgres brings two additions necessary for flexible virtualization of the database server. These two features can help companies realize the benefits of virtualizing the database and the associated cost savings from running an open source database on an extremely cost-effective infrastructure.

  1. Elastic shared memory management
  2. Automatic memory configuration

Elastic Shared Memory Management

Directly embedded with PostgreSQL core, the elastic shared memory management is a new feature of vFabric Postgres. This capability allows memory to be released or obtained according to the other virtual machine needs on the same server. Continue reading

New VMware vFabric Postgres 9.2 Release: Install a Postgres Machine in 5 Minutes

Last week we announced VMware vFabric Postgres 9.2 is now available. This new release standardizes its core with the open source PostgreSQL and further simplifies the installation, operation and management of PostgreSQL for virtualized and cloud environments.

Installing the new version of vFabric Postgres using the appliance available on VMware website is straightforward and simple.

You do not need more than a couple of minutes to have a Postgres server available for your applications. It will be deployed pre-configured to simplify operations on virtualized environments such as the VMware vSphere server. The download will come with several install steps completed automatically, including:

  • postgresql.conf settings automatically tuned to the VM memory
  • SSL configuration on server side immediately available
  • Initial machine and database server accounts set up with the same single password
  • User interface to control both the VM core and the database server

In order to set up this server and that many interfaces all at once, you do not need to spend that 5 minutes in front of your screen, and everything can be done in 3 simple steps. Continue reading