Choosing the right database is a critical choice when building any software application. All databases have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, so deciding which database has the most benefits and the most minor downsides for your specific use case and data model is an important decision. Below you will find an overview of the key concepts, architecture, features, use cases, and pricing models of PostgreSQL and Rockset so you can quickly see how they compare against each other.
The primary purpose of this article is to compare how PostgreSQL and Rockset perform for workloads involving time series data, not for all possible use cases. Time series data typically presents a unique challenge in terms of database performance. This is due to the high volume of data being written and the query patterns to access that data. This article doesn’t intend to make the case for which database is better; it simply provides an overview of each database so you can make an informed decision.
PostgreSQL vs Rockset Breakdown
Real time database
PostgreSQL can be deployed on various platforms, such as on-premises, in virtual machines, or as a managed cloud service like Amazon RDS, Google Cloud SQL, or Azure Database for PostgreSQL.
Rockset is a real-time analytics database built for modern cloud applications, designed to enable developers to create real-time, event-driven applications and run complex queries on structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data with low-latency. Rockset uses a cloud-native, distributed architecture that separates storage and compute, allowing for horizontal scalability and efficient resource utilization. Data is automatically indexed and served by a distributed, auto-scaled set of query processing nodes.
PostgreSQL license (similar to MIT or BSD)
Web applications, geospatial data, business intelligence, analytics, content management systems, financial applications, scientific applications
Real-time analytics, event-driven applications, search and aggregations, personalized user experiences, IoT data analysis
Supports vertical scaling, horizontal scaling through partitioning, sharding, and replication using available tools
Horizontally scalable with distributed storage and compute
PostgreSQL, also known as Postgres, is an open-source relational database management system that was first released in 1996. It has a long history of being a robust, reliable, and feature-rich database system, widely used in various industries and applications. PostgreSQL is known for its adherence to the SQL standard and extensibility, which allows users to define their own data types, operators, and functions. It is developed and maintained by a dedicated community of contributors and is available on multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Rockset is a real-time indexing database designed for fast, efficient querying of structured and semi-structured data. Founded in 2016 by former Facebook engineers, Rockset aims to provide a serverless search and analytics solution that enables users to build powerful applications and data-driven products without the complexities of traditional database management.
PostgreSQL for Time Series Data
PostgreSQL can be used for time series data storage and analysis, although it was not specifically designed for this use case. With its rich set of data types, indexing options, and window function support, PostgreSQL can handle time series data. However, Postgres will not be as optimized for time series data as specialized time series databases when it comes to things like data compression, write throughput, and query speed. PostgreSQL also lacks a number of features that are useful for working with time series data like downsampling, retention policies, and custom SQL functions for time series data analysis.
Rockset for Time Series Data
Rockset’s real-time indexing and low-latency querying capabilities make it an excellent choice for time series data analysis. Its schemaless ingestion and support for complex data types enable effortless handling of time series data, while its Converged Index ensures efficient querying of both historical and real-time data. Rockset is particularly suitable for applications that demand real-time analytics, such as IoT monitoring and anomaly detection.
PostgreSQL Key Concepts
- MVCC: Multi-Version Concurrency Control is a technique used by PostgreSQL to allow multiple transactions to be executed concurrently without conflicts or locking.
- WAL: Write-Ahead Logging is a method used to ensure data durability by logging changes to a journal before they are written to the main data files.
- TOAST: The Oversized-Attribute Storage Technique is a mechanism for storing large data values in a separate table to reduce the main table’s disk space consumption.
Rockset Key Concepts
- Converged Index: Rockset uses a unique indexing approach that combines both an inverted index and a columnar index, allowing the database to optimize for both search and analytics use cases.
- Schemaless Ingestion: Rockset automatically infers schema on ingestion, making it easy to work with semi-structured data formats like JSON.
- Virtual Instances: Rockset uses the concept of virtual instances to provide isolation and resource allocation to different workloads, ensuring predictable performance.
PostgreSQL is a client-server relational database system that uses the SQL language for querying and manipulation. It employs a process-based architecture, with each connection to the database being handled by a separate server process. This architecture provides isolation between different users and sessions. PostgreSQL supports ACID transactions and uses a combination of MVCC, WAL, and other techniques to ensure data consistency, durability, and performance. It also supports various extensions and external modules to enhance its functionality.
Rockset uses a cloud-native, serverless architecture that is built on top of a distributed, shared-nothing system. It is a NoSQL database, which allows for greater flexibility and scalability compared to traditional relational databases. The core components of Rockset’s architecture include the Ingestion Service, Storage Service, and Query Service. The Ingestion Service is responsible for ingesting data from various sources, while the Storage Service maintains the Converged Index. The Query Service processes queries and provides APIs for developers to interact with the database.
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PostgreSQL allows users to define custom data types, operators, and functions, making it highly adaptable to specific application requirements.
PostgreSQL has built-in support for full-text search, enabling users to perform complex text-based queries and analyses.
With the PostGIS extension, PostgreSQL can store and manipulate geospatial data, making it suitable for GIS applications.
Rockset automatically scales resources based on the workload, which means users don’t need to manage any infrastructure or capacity planning. ### Full-Text Search Rockset’s Converged Index supports full-text search, making it an ideal choice for applications that require advanced search capabilities. ### Integration with BI tools Rockset provides native integrations with popular business intelligence (BI) tools like Tableau, Looker, and Redash, allowing users to visualize and analyze their data without any additional setup.
PostgreSQL Use Cases
PostgreSQL is a popular choice for large-scale enterprise applications due to its reliability, performance, and feature set.
With the PostGIS extension, PostgreSQL can be used for storing and analyzing geospatial data in applications like mapping, routing, and geocoding.
As a relational database, PostgreSQL is a good fit for pretty much any application that involves transactional workloads.
Rockset Use Cases
Rockset’s low-latency querying and real-time ingestion capabilities make it ideal for building real-time analytics dashboards for applications like IoT monitoring, social media analysis, and log analytics.
With its Converged Index and support for advanced search features, Rockset is an excellent choice for building full-text search applications, such as product catalogs or document search systems.
Rockset’s ability to ingest and query large-scale, semi-structured data in real-time makes it a suitable choice for machine learning applications.
PostgreSQL Pricing Model
PostgreSQL is open source software, and there are no licensing fees associated with its use. However, costs can arise from hardware, hosting, and operational expenses when deploying a self-managed PostgreSQL server. Several cloud-based managed PostgreSQL services, such as Amazon RDS, Google Cloud SQL, and Azure Database for PostgreSQL, offer different pricing models based on factors like storage, computing resources, and support.
Rockset Pricing Model
Rockset offers a usage-based pricing model that charges customers for the amount of data ingested, the number of virtual instances, and the volume of queries executed. The pricing model is designed to be transparent and flexible, allowing users to only pay for the resources they consume. Rockset also provides a free tier with limited resources for developers to explore the platform. Users can choose between on-demand and reserved instances, depending on their needs.
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