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How Postgres is Disrupting the Global Database Market

Ian Bain9/8/2022
Open sourcePostgreSQLCloud

Postgres is changing the landscape of the global database market, and the implications could be transformative for businesses like yours looking to make the most of their mission-critical assets. 

While legacy, proprietary database providers have been an industry mainstay in the past, business leaders 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.

So, why are so many enterprises jumping on the Postgres train and where is that train actually going? Let’s take a closer look.

Why is Postgres the next big database player?

In order for your business to innovate at scale, your 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.

Postgres: 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.

 
What sets Postgres database apart?

When it comes to market success, your ability to control your data is the top determinant. 
 
Postgres’ rapid market disruption is in large part because of its ability to not only satisfy that demand for control, but it can run mission-critical enterprise applications at a far more reasonable price point than Oracle. In short, Postgres has distinguished itself by providing more for less, a proposition that innovators of all sizes and stripes have found hard to turn down.
 
The Postgres community is essential to this.

Built on community

The Postgres community is the beating heart of this remarkable DBMS, comprising businesses, developers and users, all of whom are invested in building the best possible database solution for modern organizations looking to craft modern open source applications. Independent, carefully regulated and well supported, this brain trust drives constant innovation of the database, with a focus on providing all Postgres users with the freedom that open source represents.

Because the community is responsible for upgrading and enhancing Postgres, development costs are spread out, making it easy to keep the database affordable for up-and-coming enterprises and industry mainstays alike. Furthermore, the Postgres community is adamant when it comes to preventing unnecessary monetization. Charging organizations to make full use of their own data or restricting flexible integrations to those off which community members could profit would fly in the face of everything Postgres represents to its developers.

 

Continuous innovation

Another essential feature of Postgres’ community is how readily every single member is willing to share their innovations with the user base as a whole.

Let’s say that you’ve written a permissions script that has transformed the way that you provide application access to different tiers of customer. If you share that with the Postgres community, others can build upon it, bettering their business and continuing to evolve your script. Within months, you might visit a community forum to find that what you previously shared has been further improved and streamlined, so you can integrate the new version back into your own Postgres database.

This constant exchange of insight and experimentation means that the victory of one Postgres user empowers every other user. While legacy databases have a financial incentive to restrict access to new features or tools, Postgres does not, which allows the database to address bugs and discover new capabilities at a much faster pace.

This is just one more example of how Postgres’ emphasis on freedom and adaptability have helped it stand out in contrast to even the biggest commercial players. While their idea of growth is based on revenue, Postgres’ is based on innovation. 

 

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 enterprises 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. 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 businesses 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.

 

Developers love Postgres

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.

The ability to harness hybrid, multi-cloud and cloud native approaches to development of architecture has been especially exciting 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.

 

The future is Postgres

Based on the current trajectory, we expect Postgres to be the enterprise dominant database within the next five years. With businesses 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 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 businesses like yours.

 

Want to learn more about how to effectively migrate to and adopt Postgres? Read our eBook “7 Critical Success Factors for Moving to Open Source Databases (like Postgres).”

As a big picture thinker who loves strategy discussions, Ian has initiated and directed innovative and proactive campaigns that yield strong results. Extremely adept at translating technical features into easy-to-understand business messages, he's done everything from teaching cyber safety to kids, ...