I’ve been using Greenplum since version 3.0 back in 2007. That version was actually the first commercially available version too. The versions were released about once every 6 to 12 months and got as high as 3.3.
Once the version got to 4.3, the number just seemed to get stuck. 4.3.0 was a pretty big release which changed “Append Only” tables to be “Append Optimized” which simply meant you could start updating and deleting tables stored in the append-only format. But more enhancements came to 4.3 but the version number never exceeded 4.3.
Major enhancements came to version 4.3.x and the innovation came at a faster pace but you may not have noticed this if you were just looking at the version number. Pivotal’s engineering team embraced the Pivotal Labs methodologies of pair programming and quick iterations. There was a huge transformation happening in this group.
When 5.0 came out, it was a big deal. Greeplum had always been a fork of PostgreSQL 8.2 but with 5.0, Greenplum was rebased to 8.3. A lot of work went into this change which also requires migrating from 4.3.x to 5.0.
Now this next change, I didn’t expect. During the 4.3.x development, the only time the version number would change to either 4.4 or 5.0, it would be when the database required a migration to upgrade. With 5.x, the version numbers are coming fast and don’t require migrations to upgrade. It just a simple binary swap to upgrade.
The result has been the release of 5.0 on 2017-09-14, 5.1 on 2017-10-20, and 5.2 on 2017-11-18. Do you see the pattern? Monthly point releases! All of these releases so far have been simple binary upgrades but have a ton of improvements each time.
Version 6 is in sight. Seriously. I would expect this to be the next rebase of Greenplum to PostgreSQL 8.4 and will require a database migration to upgrade. It is amazing how the Labs culture and open source software development has enhanced the development of Greenplum.