Open Source Software is the Way Forward for Government

June 09, 2022

In recent years, agencies within government have prioritized the adoption of technological solutions suited to driving digital transformation and better serving the public. Strategies, like the one deployed in the US, include key initiatives, including citizen access to key resources across a wider range of platforms, ditching programmatic silos and making open data the guiding principle of the future.

In order to achieve this, government will need to invest in solutions that provide flexibility, agility, security and true control over the data and applications that undergird agencies’ most mission-critical processes. Though these agencies have had a reputation in the past for slow movement and late adoption, the rate at which data is growing and expectations are rising has lit a fire under these institutions to embrace the future of data management.

But what database solutions best embody that future and meet these aforementioned needs?

As we’ve seen, the answer to this question is open source database solutions. While government has, in the past, been skeptical of open source technologies—especially given the sensitive nature of much of the information their agencies must handle—evidence of their security and growing evidence of the opportunities for modernization, future-proofing and cost-efficiency that open source solutions offer is turning that around. 

For government agencies dedicated to building better tools, comprehensively managing data and embracing a truly modern strategy for data management, open source offers a promising and dynamic path forward.


High availability

The data with which government works on a daily basis is of critical importance. Whether discussing regulatory agencies or military branches, having consistent and uninterrupted access to every asset is essential.

Open source databases such as Postgres are renowned for their high availability, a function of the ever-alert community that builds, maintains and innovates the database. Because open source databases are the responsibility of the communities that rely on them rather than just a provider, everyone invested in the database is constantly working to maintain its functionality. Furthermore, agencies who decide to use open source solutions have access to an expanding network of experts, all of whom are happy to assist when problems arise. No matter what issue you encounter with your database—or what challenge you want to tackle—someone in the community will have the knowledge you need.

As a result of this, agencies can have faith that their database will always be there for them and that they won’t find themselves waiting anxiously for bugs or outages to be resolved.



But it’s not just the sensitivity of data that defines the challenges facing government—it’s the sheer amount of it too. While in the past, institutions might worry that the information they had at their disposal was insufficient, the opposite is now true: government is dealing with a gargantuan amount of data and it’s growing exponentially every year.

Because of this, it’s essential that agencies have a database infrastructure that can expand alongside the increase in data they’re experiencing. Scalability is one of the chief strengths of open source databases, such as Postgres. Open source is designed to evolve alongside the needs of the enterprises who use it; innovation and pushing the limits is pretty much inherent to every open source project.

Open source’s suitability in the face of large datasets has been born out by a range of industries, all of whom are seeing similar data growth patterns to government. Finance, information technology, even entertainment have all turned to open source databases because they need an infrastructure that won’t stall out or crumble beneath the weight of the information they have to manage.


Flexibility and data management

Once you’re confident that you’ve found a solution that can store all your data, you need to ensure that solution can also effectively manage it.

Another key benefit of open source databases is that they don’t restrict the tools you can integrate into your stack. When you have as much data as government, your challenge goes beyond simply housing and organizing it, but monitoring and leveraging it.

You need to think of your database as more than just a warehouse. If an agency is truly looking to modernize the way they handle information, they need to be able to assess the quality of their data, gather vital insights from it and make use of those insights across their infrastructure—internally and externally.

This holds true for all government agencies, but it’s an even more important consideration for military and intelligence divisions, who will need to access highly specific assets instantaneously, often with extremely high stakes.

This is an area where open source shines, especially in comparison to its legacy competition. While legacy databases promise features that allow you to achieve your management goals, the menu of tools you can actually integrate with your database is often limited. Because an open source database like Postgres has no profit incentive to restrict users to certain in-house applications, agencies can select the options that best suit their unique needs and conditions.

In order to effectively digitally transform, government deserves innovation carte blanche when it comes to data management—and only open source provides that.



Yet for all these advantages and benefits, there’s one more that makes databases such as Postgres so popular: open source databases save government agencies massive amounts of money. 

Because you don’t need to worry about convoluted and inconvenient licensing agreements, ever-growing costs or pricing models based on how much data your agency needs to store, those who opt for open source solutions like Postgres find themselves with money and resources free that they can dedicate to other essential aspects of their digital transformation project.

Even institutions that choose to partner with database experts like EDB still see savings from their adoption of open source infrastructures. In fact, by pairing with a partner that specializes in your database of choice, your agency doesn’t have to worry about hiring internal database administrator teams or spending massive amounts on support and upkeep. With an open source database managed by a specialist, all of an agency’s resources can go to modernization and evolution.


An open source database makes for a modern government

Government is in a period of digital transformation that could dynamically reshape the services it provides to the public, as well as the strategies it takes towards its own internal processes. In order to effectively seize this moment—as innovators in so many other industries have—government agencies must invest in database solutions that are tailored to their needs, their goals and their challenges.

Wrangling massive amounts of data, effectively deploying that data for valuable initiatives and managing tight budgetary constraints are all vital to government. Luckily, they’re also some of the main reasons that open source databases like Postgres have become the poster child for digital transformation projects.

If modernization is a key priority for government, it deserves a modern database to match. You don’t get much more modern than open source.

Want to learn more about why open source databases are the gold standard for digital transformation? Check out the EDB/GovLoop report, “Government Agencies are Future-Proofing Their Data Initiatives with Postgres.”

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