5 Reasons Why Postgres is the Most Widely Adopted Open Source Database in Government

October 25, 2022

Postgres and EDB are changing the landscape of the global database market, and the implications could be transformative for public sector organizations looking to make the most of their mission-critical assets.

While legacy, proprietary database providers have been an industry mainstay in the past, mission leaders in government are increasingly recognizing the constraints that these systems impose on their organizations—especially when it comes to control over their own data.

Over the last few years, enterprises devoted to innovation and infrastructure modernization have become tired of rising prices and restrictive licensing agreements. This is especially true as open source database projects like Postgres offer an alternative that’s flexible, extensible, innovative and ever-evolving, at a vastly superior price point.

But Postgres isn’t just a legacy database alternative—it’s emerging as a disruptor that cannot be ignored. Not only is Postgres the most loved, most used and most wanted database in the world, but it’s the fastest growing database management system (DBMS) in what Gartner views as the approximately $80 billion market global database market. It is fast becoming the platform of choice for modern open source applications.

For government organizations—which have the adoption of technological solutions suited to driving digital transformation and better serving the public—the freedom Postgres offers, in comparison to proprietary mainstays, is an ideal solution upon which to build these initiatives.

So, why are so many public sector organizations jumping on the Postgres train and where is that train actually going? What does Postgres offer to government organizations looking for a database suited to their modern ambitions? Let’s dive in.


1) Postgres was born to disrupt

When Postgres was designed at the University of California, Berkeley more than 30 years ago, its developers made sure that the underlying data model was inherently extensible. At the time, databases could only use very simple data types, like numbers, strings and dates. Michael Stonebraker, co-creator of Postgres and EDB advisor, and his team made a fundamental design decision to make Postgres easy to add new data types and their associated operations. 
The end result of this extensible data model is that Postgres enables developers to be enormously productive and innovative addresses the widest range of modern applications more than any other database today. Postgres can run on every cloud, and can fundamentally transform your ability to build better applications with greater performance, scalability and security—all while spending far less than you would if you stayed with a legacy solution.


2) Postgres provides maximum innovation with minimal spending

When comparing legacy proprietary databases with Postgres, one crucial difference stands out: while commercial databases measure growth by revenue, Postgres measures it by the perpetual innovation of its diverse and dynamic community.

For public sector, this is especially important. In the face of slim budgets, expansive modernization projects can be difficult. When your database charges you to make full use of your data or restricts you to the integrations that make them money—well, those projects can seem near impossible.

But not with Postgres. 

The limiting, profit-focused mindset that defines legacy proprietary databases flies in the face of the Postgres philosophy. Driven by a desire to consistently evolve and elevate the database, the community is responsible for upgrading and enhancing Postgres. As a result, development costs are spread out, making it easy to keep the database accessible no matter an organization’s budget. Furthermore, the Postgres community is adamant when it comes to preventing unnecessary monetization—just one of many ways the database aligns with the government organizations who benefit from it.

With Postgres, government organizations can still achieve incredible innovation, push their limits and build modern applications that serve both their teams and the public—even in the face of tight transformation budgets. 

With Postgres, you get much more for much less.


3) Postgres is designed for developers

All of these exciting market changes wouldn’t mean much if Postgres wasn’t as loved as it is. Across organizations and teams, key decision-makers and leaders consistently express their enthusiasm for Postgres and for what it has done for their enterprises.

Nowhere is this more apparent than among developers, who’ve consistently been Postgres’ biggest champions. 

And that makes sense! 

If you’re a developer, your ability to build and improve modern applications is largely determined by how much control you have over the data and tools at your disposal. If you’re limited in what solutions you can use, you’re limited in what you can achieve. The same goes for database architects—the less control you have over your infrastructure, the fewer opportunities you have to evolve and innovate it, which can prove to be the death knell for major transformation initiatives.

The ability to harness hybrid, multi-cloud and cloud native approaches to development of architecture has been both especially exciting and increasingly essential for developers and architects, and has also helped make them some of the best Postgres advocates within an organization considering a move to the database. 

Lack of awareness or general skepticism can be major adoption inhibitors for other databases, but that’s rarely true with Postgres. We’ve seen firsthand how constructively developers and architects can work with CIOs and decision-makers to educate all team members about Postgres, ensuring effective widespread adoption and usage.

4) Postgres gives you full control over your applications

Postgres lets you run modern applications anywhere and everywhere, however you want
In recent years, one of the most transformative innovations across the global database market has been the rise of hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures. Taking the cloud’s promise of flexibility to incredible new heights, these infrastructures have become a gold standard for designing, evolving and hosting modern applications.

It’s also proven to be a blindspot for cloud service providers, just as traceable to the issue of monetization as the other shortcomings we’ve mentioned.

While cloud service providers will make it prohibitively difficult for government organizations to effectively leverage their cloud and another provider’s cloud in a hybrid, multi-cloud architecture, Postgres imposes no such restrictions. 

As a result, organizations that have migrated to Postgres have found it easier to develop and power their modern applications as well as execute large scale growth and transformation projects. They can take advantage of the best and most suitable Postgres infrastructure for each application or project, without worrying that their hybrid architecture will be held back. In fact, some organizations run hundreds or even thousands of Postgres databases across a multi-cloud architecture, each dedicated to a different purpose. The result? The ability to accelerate and take full advantage of what the cloud has to offer and—ultimately—achieve the full potential of modern applications backed by a modern database.

The same goes for those who want to take advantage of a cloud native approach. Not only does Postgres empower them to reach their ambitions, but recent developments have made it easier than ever to take a cloud native approach to Postgres, whether via Kubernetes, virtual machines or other options.

This freedom is exactly what government requires: a database that provides as many diverse options as their diverse responsibilities require.


5) Postgres fuels government modernization

In order for government organizations to modernize and innovate at scale, IT teams, developers, architects, DBAs and operations professionals all need the best tools and total access to your data. But legacy, proprietary databases can’t provide that. 

In fact, they’re holding you back.

Modern developments in the DBMS market—open source mandates, flexible deployment options, risk mitigation and strong security—are driving industry standouts to adopt Postgres. In fact, 80% of IT leaders today expect to increase their use of enterprise open source software for emerging technologies. But even within this larger trend, Postgres’ success stands out.

As previously discussed, government organizations are increasingly invested in transformation initiatives—the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems’ (PEO EIS) Enterprise Business Systems–Convergence (EBS-C) effort being one recent example. For projects like these, Postgres’ ongoing reputation as the database of innovators should be of particular interest. In order to achieve the large-scale goals inherent to modernization initiatives, flexibility, security, adaptability and performance at scale are incredibly valuable. In fact, they’re essential for maintaining business continuity during periods of disruption.

No database is better suited to provide such capabilities as Postgres—it was designed to do so from the beginning.

The future is Postgres

Based on the current trajectory, we expect Postgres to be the enterprise dominant database within the next five years. With government organizations looking to attract and retain top-tier talent, the promise of innovation is at front of mind for major decision makers. Postgres’ ability to provide that has helped it skyrocket in recent years, and that trend shows no signs of slowing.

Now, skeptics might point out that proprietary databases like Oracle still account for approximately $40 billion of the market; and they wouldn’t be wrong. The problem is that these databases can no longer claim to be technically superior to Postgres. They can only claim to have a bigger—increasingly unjustifiable—price tag. 

The contrasts between Postgres and legacy, proprietary databases have become starker every day:

  • Control of your data vs. restrictions on your assets
  • A dynamic community focused on innovation vs. a solution primarily devoted to commercial success
  • Affordability, flexibility and freedom vs. big spending, rigid licenses and strict contracts

That’s why innovators across government organizations on both national and local levels are seeking out Postgres and that’s why Postgres is surging ahead. Because, while many so-called disruptors peter out in time, Postgres is only getting bigger and making databases better for thousands of organizations.


Want to learn more about how public sector organizations can seize on the power of Postgres? Check out our ebook “7 Critical Success Factors for Moving to Open Source Databases (like Postgres).”

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