The Origin and Motivation Behind the Pigsty Project, Its Historical Development, and Future Goals and Visions.

Origin Story

The Pigsty project kicked off between 2018 and 2019, originating from Tantan, a dating app akin to China’s Tinder, now acquired by Momo. Tantan, a startup with a Nordic vibe, was founded by a team of Swedish engineers. Renowned for their tech sophistication, they chose PostgreSQL and Go as their core tech stack. Tantan’s architecture, inspired by Instagram, revolves around PostgreSQL. They managed to scale to millions of daily active users, millions of TPS, and hundreds of TBs of data using PostgreSQL exclusively. Almost all business logic was implemented using PG stored procedures, including recommendation algorithms with 100ms latency!

This unconventional development approach, deeply leveraging PostgreSQL features, demanded exceptional engineering and DBA skills. Pigsty emerged from these real-world, high-standard database cluster scenarios as an open-source project encapsulating our top-tier PostgreSQL expertise and best practices.

Dev Journey

Initially, Pigsty didn’t have the vision, objectives, or scope it has today. It was meant to be a PostgreSQL monitoring system for our use. After evaluating every available option—open-source, commercial, cloud-based, datadog, pgwatch,…… none met our observability bar. So, we took matters into our own hands, creating a system based on Grafana and Prometheus, which became the precursor to Pigsty. As a monitoring system, it was remarkably effective, solving countless management issues.

Eventually, developers wanted the same monitoring capabilities on their local dev machines. We used Ansible to write provisioning scripts, transitioning from a one-off setup to a reusable software. New features allowed users to quickly set up local DevBoxes or production servers with Vagrant and Terraform, automating PostgreSQL and monitoring system deployment through Infra as Code.

We then redesigned the production PostgreSQL architecture, introducing Patroni and pgBackRest for high availability and point-in-time recovery. We developed a zero-downtime migration strategy based on logical replication, performing rolling updates across 200 database clusters to the latest major version using blue-green deployments. These capabilities were integrated into Pigsty.

Pigsty, built for our use, reflects our understanding of our needs, avoiding shortcuts. The greatest benefit of “eating our own dog food” is being both developers and users, deeply understanding and not compromising on our requirements.

We tackled one problem after another, incorporating solutions into Pigsty. Its role evolved from a monitoring system to a ready-to-use PostgreSQL distribution. At this stage, we decided to open-source Pigsty, initiating a series of technical talks and promotions, attracting feedback from users across various industries.

Full-time Startup

In 2022, Pigsty secured seed funding from Dr. Qi’s MiraclePlus S22 (Former YC China), enabling me to work on it full-time. As an open-source project, Pigsty has thrived. In the two years since going full-time, its GitHub stars skyrocketed from a few hundred to 2400, On OSSRank, Pigsty ranks 37th among PostgreSQL ecosystem projects.

Originally only compatible with CentOS7, Pigsty now supports all major Linux Distors and PostgreSQL versions 12 - 16, integrating over 220+ extensions from the ecosystem. I’ve personally compiled, packaged, and maintained some extensions not found in official PGDG repositories.

Pigsty’s identity has evolved from a PostgreSQL distribution to an open-source cloud database alternative, directly competing with entire cloud database services offered by cloud providers.

Cloud Rebel

Public cloud vendors like AWS, Azure, GCP, and Aliyun offer many conveniences to startups but are proprietary and lock users into high-cost infra rentals.

We believe that top-notch database services should be as accessible same as top-notch database kernel (PostgreSQL), not confined to costly rentals from cyber lords.

Cloud agility and elasticity are great, but it should be open-source, local-first and cheap enough. We envision a cloud computing universe with an open-source solution, returning the control to users without sacrificing the benefits of the cloud.

Thus, we’re leading the “cloud-exit” movement in China, rebelling against public cloud norms to reshape industry values.

Our Vision

We’d like to see a world where everyone has the factual right to use top services freely, not just view the world from the pens provided by a few public cloud providers.

This is what Pigsty aims to achieve —— a superior, open-source, free RDS alternative. Enabling users to deploy a database service better than cloud RDS with just one click, anywhere (including on cloud servers).

Pigsty is a comprehensive enhancement for PostgreSQL and a spicy satire on cloud RDS. We offer “the Simple Data Stack”, which consists of PostgreSQL, Redis, MinIO, and more optional modules.

Pigsty is entirely open-source and free, sustained through consulting and sponsorship. A well-built system might run for years without issues, but when database problems arise, they’re serious. Often, expert advice can turn a dire situation around, and we offer such services to clients in need—a fairer and more rational model.

About Me

I’m Feng Ruohang, the creator of Pigsty. I’ve developed most of Pigsty’s code solo, with the community contributing specific features.

Unique individuals create unique works —— I hope Pigsty can be one of those creations.

If you are interested in the author, here’s my personal website: https://vonng.com/en/

Last modified 2024-05-17: update extension list (6ff9832)