Energy Utility's Oracle and SQL Server Migrations Revitalize Data Infrastructure with PostgreSQL and Virtualization

February 22, 2019

Organizations regularly take the opportunity to re-evaluate their relational database management system (RDBMS) when planning a hardware refresh or new virtualization strategy. One EnterpriseDB®️ (EDB™️) customer, an energy utility company located in the Midwestern United States, provides a glimpse into how infrastructure projects often lead to new DBMS decisions.

The utility provides electricity and natural gas to millions of customers. As it approached a major hardware refresh, the IT team decided to use it as an opportunity to gain greater operational efficiencies through virtualization. The company wanted to reduce costs as well, and correctly suspected their RDBMS could be a source of savings. The team decided to look for an alternative to Oracle, their greatest source of expense. They selected EDB Postgres Advanced Server (EPAS) as an Oracle replacement, and migrated Microsoft SQL Server to EPAS as well, amplifying their savings.

Re-evaluating RDBMS can prompt IT teams to evaluate their overall architecture and critical elements of their infrastructure. A key reason to re-evaluate architecture and infrastructure is that DBMS licenses for many traditional vendors place limits on hardware configurations and deployment environments. This can potentially drive up costs for modernization projects. Any change in infrastructure might impact RDBMS usage, driving up those costs as well. Organizations in these circumstances often consider open source alternatives to lower database costs.

Energy Utility Accomplishes Goals with EDB

EDB enabled the energy utility to accomplish the goals of its new infrastructure plan: 

  • Migration: The company wanted to reduce RDBMS spend, and open source-based PostgreSQL reduces costs by as much as 80% compared to Oracle. As for SQL Server, the company estimated that based on list prices, migrating to EDB would reduce costs for those databases by 66%. EPAS has built-in compatibility for Oracle and provides a migration toolkit, which migrates tables, data, stored procedures, and custom developed packages from the Oracle database to EPAS. Because of some customized code unique to the company, EDB engineers developed scripts for SQL Server migration, as well.
  • Modernization: Ultimately, EDB’s subscription model was cost-effective in supporting the new configuration the company wanted for its new data infrastructure. Like the energy utility, organizations seeking to modernize their infrastructures with virtualization learn about the limitations or increased costs of their traditional DBMS vendors. By contrast, EDB offers the flexibility that allows organizations to deploy PostgreSQL on-premises, virtualized, or in the cloud or containers, and freely move the licenses between environments when needed. 

A Moving Experience

EDB’s experience with database migrations proved invaluable during the company’s pilot test with a Microsoft SQL Server migration that was accomplished in a single day. The company decided to run a pilot project with a small application controlling building security at its headquarters involving a 30GB to 50GB database. 

While the migration toolkit can be used to migrate Microsoft SQL Server to the PostgreSQL database, the company had developed its own procedural language and utilized a great deal of customized code. Instead, EDB engineers developed a script to ensure the database schema was compliant with the database, and were able to avoid making any changes to the application.  

“We already understood that Postgres would be the right approach to replace our Oracle databases, but once we began to explore migrating Microsoft SQL Server to PostgreSQL, we soon realized that this would be a straightforward process,” said a database administrator at the company. “Given the shared relational model we did not need to spend much time training our DBAs and now we are experiencing significant savings, in terms of licensing costs.”

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