PostgreSQL can deliver considerable benefits in the cloud

Published: Friday, June 8, 2012

Cloud computing has been emerging as an advanced technological tool for businesses of all sizes. As the technology continues to mature, it is becoming much more popular as a database solution. According to a recent IT Business Edge report, PostgreSQL, an open source database solution, is particularly well suited to delivering data management gains in the cloud.

The news source explained that finding the right cloud database solution can be extremely challenging because it can be difficult for businesses to navigate the vendor landscape. Cloud computing is growing fast with many traditional providers developing new solutions for the cloud or moving existing applications and systems into a virtual environment. This creates a scenario in which many cloud-enabled solutions are not really ideally designed for the cloud, but instead aims to simply take advantage of the cloud hype. It is vital that businesses move into the cloud with a solution that is optimally designed to deal with the challenging requirements that come with cloud computing.

PostgreSQL is one platform that is ideally suited to working within the cloud. The report said there are a number of key advantages that PostgreSQL can deliver when deployed in the cloud, with portability chief among them. One of the greatest barriers to cloud adoption is vendor lock-in. With its open source nature, PostgreSQL allows for significant customization of database systems, making it much easier to fine-tune the solution to specific operational requirements. This elasticity also allows organizations to more easily move the DB from one cloud solution to the next, allowing businesses to freely switch from one cloud infrastructure or platform system based on their requirements at any time.

Scalability is another key advantage of a PostgreSQL system that is optimal  for cloud operations. The news source explained that some cloud database systems are configured in such a way that they can exist in a single instance of a virtual server, but can only function on that instance and not be scaled to a new VM. This defeats one of the primary benefits of the cloud - being able to add and subtract server, power and network capacity on an as-needed basis. However, some cloud database vendors have developed versions of PostgreSQL that can be placed into a true cloud environment, allowing for scalability and elasticity that helps businesses reduce the cost of upgrading solutions and reducing capability based on market conditions and operational requirements.

Cloud computing also offers ease of use that cannot be easily matched within traditional IT systems. The report said that traditional database systems require significant amounts of technical oversight and expertise to establish correctly. However, cloud computing allows organizations to work in an environment that configures itself automatically, taking tasks like load balancing that normally have to happen in the DBA and allowing them to happen in the cloud. As a result, organizations do not need to spend as much time fine-tuning their database.

When configured specifically for the cloud, open source database systems can function extremely well. An open source database is inherently built for flexibility. The capacity to customize DB configurations to the level of the source code creates significant amounts of room to optimize the DB for specific requirements. Cloud computing, by its very nature, is a technology that makes it easier for businesses to adapt their IT configuration with their operational needs because they can rent the hardware they use instead of having to purchase servers and other systems, getting locked into a specific configuration. When combined, the flexibility of open source database solutions and cloud computing can provide businesses with major benefits.