At Ignite, we announced the preview of a new deployment option for Azure Database for PostgreSQL: Flexible Server. Flexible Server is the result of a multi-year Azure engineering effort to deliver a reimagined database service to those of you who run Postgres in the cloud. Over the past several years, our Postgres engineering team has had the opportunity to learn from many of you about your challenges and expectations around the Single Server deployment option in Azure Database for PostgreSQL. Your feedback and our learnings have informed the creation of Flexible Server.
If you are looking for a technical overview of what Flexible Server is in Azure Database for PostgreSQL—and what the key capabilities are, let’s dive in.
Our Flexible Server deployment option for Postgres is hosted on the same platform as Azure Database for PostgreSQL - Hyperscale (Citus), our deployment option that scales out Postgres horizontally (by leveraging the Citus open source extension to Postgres).
Flexible Server is hosted in a single-tenant Virtual Machine (VM) on Azure, on a Linux based operating system that aligns naturally with the Postgres engine architecture. Your Postgres applications and clients can connect directly to Flexible Server, eliminating the need for redirection through a gateway. The direct connection also eliminates the need to include @servername suffix in your username on Flexible Server. Additionally, you can now place Flexible Server’s compute and storage—as well as your application—in the same Azure Availability Zone, resulting in lower latency to run your workloads. For storage, our Flexible Server option for Postgres uses Azure Premium Managed Disk. In the future, we will provide an option to use Azure Ultra SSD Managed Disk. The database and WAL archive (WAL stands for write ahead log) are stored in zone redundant storage.
There are numerous benefits of using a managed Postgres service, and many of you are already using Azure Database for PostgreSQL to simplify or eliminate operational complexities. With Flexible Server, we’re improving the developer experience even further, as well as providing options for scenarios where you want more control of your database.
For many of you, your primary focus is your application (and your application’s customers.) If your application needs a database backend, the experience to provision and connect to the database should be intuitive and cost-effective. We have simplified your developer experience with Flexible Server on Azure Database for PostgreSQL, in few key ways.
Flexible Server brings more flexibility and control to your managed Postgres database, with key capabilities to help you meet the needs of your application.
With the new Flexible Server option for Azure Database for PostgreSQL, you can choose to turn on zone redundant high availability (HA). If you do, our managed Postgres service will spin up a hot standby with the exact same configuration, for both compute and storage, in a different Availability Zone. This allows you to achieve fast failover and application availability should the Availability Zone of the primary server become unavailable.
Any failure on the primary server is automatically detected, and it will fail over to the standby which becomes the new primary. Your application can connect to this new primary with no changes to the connection string.
Zone redundancy can help with business continuity during planned or unplanned downtime events, protecting your mission-critical databases. Given that the zone redundant configuration provides a full standby replica server, there are cost implications, and zone redundancy can be enabled or disabled at any time.
We can’t wait to see how you will use our new Flexible Server deployment option that is now in preview in Azure Database for PostgreSQL. If you're ready to try things out, here are some quickstarts to get you started:
Azure Database for PostgreSQL Single Server remains the enterprise ready database platform of choice for your mission-critical workloads, until Flexible Server reaches GA. For those of you who want to migrate over to Flexible Server, we are also working to provide you a simplified migration experience from Single Server to Flexible Server with minimal downtime.
If you want to dive deeper, the new Flexible Server docs are a great place to roll up your sleeves, and visit our website to learn more about our Azure Database for PostgreSQL managed service. We are always eager to hear your feedback so please reach out via email using Ask Azure DB for PostgreSQL.
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