How Connections are Established

Postgres is implemented using a simple "process per-user" client/server model. In this model there is one client process connected to exactly one server process. As we don't know per se how many connections will be made, we have to use a master process that spawns a new server process every time a connection is requested. This master process is called postmaster and listens at a specified TCP/IP port for incoming connections. Whenever a request for a connection is detected the postmaster process spawns a new server process called postgres. The server tasks (postgres processes) communicate with each other using semaphores and shared memory to ensure data integrity throughout concurrent data access. Figure \ref{connection} illustrates the interaction of the master process postmaster the server process postgres and a client application.

The client process can either be the psql frontend (for interactive SQL queries) or any user application implemented using the libpg library. Note that applications implemented using ecpg (the Postgres embedded SQL preprocessor for C) also use this library.

Once a connection is established the client process can send a query to the backend (server). The query is transmitted using plain text, i.e. there is no parsing done in the frontend (client). The server parses the query, creates an execution plan, executes the plan and returns the retrieved tuples to the client by transmitting them over the established connection.