U.S. Defense Agency Finds Benefits to Oracle Migration

December 22, 2018

Agencies across the U.S. government have adopted EDB Postgres Advanced Server (EPAS) from EDB. One of those agencies is critical to securing information for the nation’s defense initiatives and handles a wide range of data, and, in particular, considerable stores of geospatial information. That made using Postgres attractive because of PostGIS, an extension for Postgres that is arguably the most powerful geospatial tool in the industry.

The agency had been using an Oracle® database with the Spatial Option to support a critical application that handled complex queries and needed to return data quickly. But there were limitations. The database team wasn’t able to implement all of the functionality. A bulk-loading scheme was on a daily cycle so updates were not available in real time. And it was running on expensive hardware. 

Using EDB’s database compatibility for Oracle, the agency migrated the application to PostgreSQL and added the PostGIS extension. The team also decided to run the new database in an inexpensive virtual machine environment to further reduce costs.

  • The agency experienced multiple benefits: 
  • Significant increase in performance 
  • Lower long-term maintenance costs
  • The ability to take advantage of more built-in geospatial functions that could answer a greater number of queries
  • Greater portability in that the system could be easily replicated
  • Increase in end user satisfaction and usage rates

Essentially, the new system moved the processing closer to the data, rather than relying on the application layer to do most of the heavy lifting. Allowing the database to do what it did best reduced the size and complexity of the application and, as a result, performance doubled. Another contributing factor in the performance gain was that all data was stored in PostGIS extended data types, which are purpose-built for handling the kind of information utilized in the database. 

In addition, in sharp contrast to the old system, which had relied on a periodic batch loading process, the new system could support updates in near real time using web interfaces.

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