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Poky is a bucketed key-value store built on PostgreSQL that speaks HTTP. Poky uses Clojure and the Compojure web framework to provide a REST interface over HTTP.

Poky can also be combined with varnish to speed up the REST API.


Many organizations have a significant investment in, and confidence supporting PostgreSQL. They have come to rely on its proven architecture and its reputation for reliability and data integrity. Poky is an attempt to augment this investment by providing a simple key-value store using a REST API.

Some datasets are key-value in nature but are too big to practically or cost effectively fit in-memory using redis or memcached. Poky provides an alternative where the data set size could be much larger and bounded only by PostgreSQL's maximum table size (currently 32TB).

Additionally, some types of data, though they may be derived, are resource intensive to generate. In Poky, once the data has been committed to disk, it will remain so even in the event of power loss, crashes, or errors which reduces or eliminates the possibility of a costly regeneration of the data.

Deploy Poky as a Service

Before deploying Poky as a service, confirm or edit the settings in the capistrano configuration file config/deploy.rb. You will be primarily concerned that the hostnames are configured correctly for your environment.

Confirm that you have varnish and daemonize installed on the target system. See the dependencies section below.

Next, deploy to the environment of choice:

cap development deploy

Other configuration files of interest:


  • config/deploy.rb: the capistrano configuration.
  • config/poky.defaults: default settings for the poky service.

Nginx: If you are running poky in a production environment, you may want to consider proxying poky through nginx for improved logging, monitoring, and maintenance.

  • config/nginx.conf.supplemental
  • config/nginx.vhost

Varnish: If you have a high request with large objects over the GET API you may want to consider running poky behind varnish.

  • [optional] config/defaults.vcl: the default varnish configuration.
  • [optional] config/varnish.defaults: default settings for varnishd.

HTTP Server Usage

Create a poky database and create the table (partitioned is recommended). See the API section below for details about getting data in and out.

$ ./scripts/ postgres poky partitioned

To start a new instance of Poky:

$ export DATABASE_URL=postgresql://
$ ./scripts/ -p 8081


$ ./scripts/ --dsn "postgresql://" -p 8081

By default, the server listens on 8081. To change the listen port, use the -p option.


For putting data in, both POST and PUT are accepted.

# if you are using the partitioned schema, first create the bucket
$ ./scripts/ postgres poky bucket

$ curl -d"value" -H'Content-Type: application/text' -v -X PUT http://localhost:8081/kv/bucket/key
$ curl -d"\"json value\"" -H'Content-Type: application/json' -v -X PUT http://localhost:8081/kv/bucket/key
$ curl -d"value" -H'Content-Type: text/plain' -v -X PUT http://localhost:8081/kv/bucket/key

$ curl -d"value" -v -X POST http://localhost:8081/kv/bucket/key
$ curl -d"value" -H "If-Unmodified-Since: Tue, 04 Jun 2013 03:01:31 GMT" -v -X POST http://localhost:8081/kv/bucket/key

When putting data in, you should expect a status code of 200 if the request was completed successfully. If a newer version has already been committed the request will be rejected with a 412 status code. See the Consistency section below.

When getting data out, use GET:

$ curl -X GET http://localhost:8081/kv/bucket/key

For additional documentation:

$ curl -X GET http://localhost:8081/help

Working in the REPL

For logging to work properly, add a profile to your ~/lein/profiles.clj that sets the Java define poky.home:

{:poky {:jvm-opts ["-Dpoky.home=/path/to/poky"]}}

This will initialize the logging to write to /path/to/poky/log/poky.log. When you start the repl, start it with:

lein with-profile dev,poky repl

Failing to do so may result in some exceptions being thrown when the repl is started.


Poky observes the If-Unmodified-Since header. If this header is present in a PUT/POST request the request will only be accepted if the timestamp supplied is greater than or equal to the current modified_at. If no If-Unmodified-Since is presented, the request will be unconditionally accepted and the modified_at current timestamp will be left unchanged.

Use caution when omitting the If-Unmodified-Since header. If it's possible that two requests may attempt to update an object simultaneous the system can only guarantee that the most request request is accepted if the If-Unmodified-Since header is provided.

For GET requests, Poky observes the If-Match header. If the If-Match header is supplied with the GET request and matches the modified_at timestamp of the entity being requested the operation will be performed as if the If-Match header did not exist. If the value supplied in the If-Match header does not match the modified_at timestamp the request will be rejected.

The If-Match header should be a quoted RFC 1123 date string.

In both scenarios above if the request is rejected the status code will be set to 412 (Precondition Failed).


Poky was developed and tested on PostgreSQL 9.2.

The following dependencies are required to deploy (or run) poky as a service.



PostgreSQL key value store







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