PostgreSQL® 16 Released: New Features List

4 min read
PostgreSQL® 16 Released: New Features List


PostgreSQL 16 was officially released by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group on September 14, 2023, with significant improvements in logical replication, parallel queries, and bulk data loading.

With ScaleGrid’s managed PostgreSQL® DBaaS solution, businesses can effortlessly scale their workloads, gain actionable insights, and ensure optimal data management.

PostgreSQL 16 New Features


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Key features of this release include expanded SQL/JSON syntax, advanced monitoring statistics, and refined access control mechanisms, ensuring efficient policy management across extensive deployments. The extended query protocol has been introduced, providing PostgreSQL users with more flexibility and power in their database interactions.

Let’s dive deeper into some of these PostgreSQL 16 features – especially the logical replication enhancements, as they represent opportunities for businesses to optimize their data management strategies.

Logical Replication

PostgreSQL 16 introduces significant logical replication improvements to its foundational replication feature. One of the most notable is the ability to perform logical replication from physical replication standbys.

This allows users to stream data to other PostgreSQL instances, providing developers with new workload distribution options. The update also enables standbys to publish logical changes to other servers, offering more flexibility in replication setups and facilitating complex data architectures.

The release also brings substantial performance enhancements to logical replication, such as allowing logical replication subscribers to apply large transactions using parallel workers and optimizing initial table synchronization.

Logical decoding capabilities have also been improved to provide more detailed data change capture. Access control sees upgrades with the introduction of the predefined role pg_create_subscription and the initiation of support for bidirectional logical replication.

Performance Boosts in Parallel Execution

Performance has always been a key focus for PostgreSQL, and version 16 sets a new benchmark. There are notable improvements in parallel execution, enhanced query execution capabilities, and data loading in binary format. Some areas have even witnessed performance boosts of a staggering 300%.

Enhanced JSON Support

JSON has become a staple in modern application development. The enhancements in JSON operations ensure that developers can work with JSON data formats more efficiently.

Whether it’s storing, querying, or manipulating JSON data, PostgreSQL 16 offers tools and features that make these operations seamless, and developer-friendly.

Privilege Administration Overhaul

The privilege administration in PostgreSQL has undergone a significant transformation in version 16. Historically, many administrative tasks in PostgreSQL relied heavily on superuser accounts. This approach, while functional, often posed challenges, especially in larger organizations with multiple administrators.

The new version addresses this by refining user roles and privileges. This not only improves security, but also simplifies the user management process. The overhaul represents a shift towards a more granular and secure approach to privilege management.

Concurrent Bulk Loading

Bulk loading, the process of importing large volumes of data into a database as efficiently as possible, is crucial for many applications, especially when migrating data or setting up new systems. With the increasing demands of modern applications, the ability to load data concurrently – that is, in parallel execution – becomes even more vital.

In PostgreSQL 16, concurrent bulk loading has been optimized to be faster and more efficient. This is achieved through a combination of under-the-hood improvements and user-facing tools. For instance, the COPY command, a primary key method for bulk data loading in PostgreSQL, has seen significant performance improvements.

Comprehensive Monitoring with pg_stat_io

Monitoring capabilities in PostgreSQL 16 have become more detailed and insightful. The introduction of the pg_stat_io view is a testament to this. This new view offers unparalleled insights into the I/O activity of systems.

For administrators, this means a more holistic and detailed view of their operations, allowing for better optimization and troubleshooting. This feature, while building on previous monitoring tools, offers a more complete look into the database’s operations, ensuring that administrators are always in the know.

Load Balancing with load_balance_hosts

Load balancing is crucial for optimizing database operations, especially in environments with high traffic. PostgreSQL 16 introduces the load_balance_hosts feature, which is a significant improvement to libpq.

This feature allows for efficient load balancing across multiple PostgreSQL instances. Whether it’s distributing read operations or ensuring that no single instance is overwhelmed, this feature ensures that PostgreSQL deployments are more resilient and efficient than ever before.

CPU Acceleration using SIMD

This is especially beneficial for processing ASCII and JSON strings. This feature ensures that PostgreSQL 16 remains optimized for performance, regardless of the underlying hardware.

Inclusion of Other Configuration Files

Instead of having an outdated configuration file, administrators can now have modular configurations, making it easier to manage and troubleshoot. PostgreSQL 16 adds the ability to include other files in pg_hba.conf and pg_ident.conf.

Additional Features

PostgreSQL 16 also introduces improvements in shared buffer usage, ensuring efficient memory management. Security-oriented connection parameters have been enhanced, providing a safer environment for data storage and retrieval. The addition of identity functions and optimized list partition lookups further streamline database operations, making tasks more intuitive and efficient for developers.

Harness the Power of PostgreSQL 16 with Scalegrid

Experience the best of PostgreSQL 16 with Scalegrid’s managed DBaaS solution. Dive into a seamless, efficient, and robust PostgreSQL experience. Let the experts handle the intricacies, allowing you to focus on what you do best. Experience the future of databases with PostgreSQL 16 and Scalegrid.

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