Postgres at the Center of Everyone’s Data World

April 16, 2015

Contributed by Jason Davis

The typical data center today contains a patchwork of data management technologies. From enterprise-class relational databases to limited, standalone NoSQL-only solutions to specialized extensions, the arsenal for managing data has become more diverse. And this diverse arsenal is a business imperative because the data has become more varied with smartphones, new web apps for fun and business, and all the things that comprise the Internet of things, just to name a few.

With different data and different apps evolving rapidly and requiring different database solutions, the patchwork was almost unavoidable. The problem today, with the old Oracle legacy system in one corner, the new document database in the other and a Hadoop cluster you can’t quite pin down, is how to combine the data and realize greater insight and value.

Postgres has emerged as the data management solution for integration challenges.

A clever feature called Foreign Data Wrappers (FDW) link Postgres databases with other data stores and let users access and manipulate the data as if it were part of a native Postgres table. Using an FDW for MongoDB, for example, you can query the data from the document database you deployed and join with data from a local Postgres table using SQL. You can view, sort and group that data as rows and columns, or as JSON documents. You can even write (insert, update or delete) data directly in the source document database from Postgres, as if it were one seamless deployment.

Your Data, All in One Place

That’s a powerful example. Now multiply that across multiple applications and databases in your data center. Then consider you can do the same with your Hadoop cluster and MySQL deployment.

There are also FDWs for Twitter, Oracle and a number of other data sources though these have not yet been updated to include write capacity-they only support reads. Not as powerful, but useful still.  As the need expands, these other FDWs will likely get updates. With FDWs for MongoDB, MySQL and Hadoop, EDB took the lead in taking advantage of advances in PostgreSQL that would support write capabilities. EDB developed the new FDWs and released them to the open source community via EDB’s Github repository.

Achieving this interconnectivity is a simple thing for Postgres because of how the database was designed. Because it is an object-relational database, Postgres defines functionality as simple objects. Objects that can be manipulated, enhanced and built. So creating say, a new data type like JSON as the perfect stand-in for data from foreign sources was simply a means of following the rules as all the other objects.  

Jason Davis is Director, Product Management, at EnterpriseDB.

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