PostgreSQL — an Enterprise Database Alternative to Oracle

Many enterprises still rely on Oracle as their relational database of choice. This decision largely makes sense, considering Oracle’s robust feature set and excellent performance handling huge amounts of data. However, with the rise in popularity of open source software solutions, many firms are now looking for an alternative to a proprietary RDMBS, like Oracle. Enter PostgreSQL.

One of the most popular open source relational database systems, PostgreSQL (or simply Postgre) boasts many of the same features as Oracle, most importantly enterprise-level performance. Companies are able to save significant money leveraging Postgre instead of the proprietary Oracle. While MySQL is another worthy open source option, it works better when used on smaller projects or for developers first learning relational database design and programming.

Let’s look more closely at PostgreSQL and see if it makes sense as another tool on your next open source development project.

PostgreSQL — Features and Functionality

PostgreSQL offers support for most of the core SQL:2011 standard and includes most SQL:2008 data types. The open source database provides many of the standard SQL features familiar to programmers, including foreign keys, views, triggers, joins, and stored procedures. Large data objects in the BLOB format are handled, so you can store rich media data (video, audio, etc.) within a relational database.

The database also supports a variety of enterprise level features, making it worthy of consideration as an alternative to Oracle. Multi-version Concurrency Control is vital for databases with heavy traffic, as is full ACID compliance. Online backups, asynchronous replication, and nested savepoints are other functionality in-demand from a high-end database.

Most popular operating systems run Postgre; most notably Linux, UNIX, Mac OS X and Windows. Programming interfaces exist for a variety of languages — Java, C/C++, the .NET Framework languages, Perl, Python, Ruby, and more. PostgreSQL regularly wins the Linux Journal Editors’ Choice Award for best RDBMS.

If you need to extend the database’s functionality, Postgre includes its own PL/SQL similar to Oracle. You are also able to write stored procedures and triggers in C for an added flexibility boost. Its continued status as an open source project means a robust and helpful community exists whenever questions or issues arise.

Is Postgre truly an Enterprise Replacement for Oracle?

Upon its first release in the mid to late 90s, Postgre’s performance wasn’t anything to write home about. Even the other major open source RDBMS option, MySQL, was faster, let alone Oracle and SQL Server. Over time and with programming skills of the open source community, the tables have turned. More recent benchmarks now show Postgre rivaling Oracle in query performance and surpassing MySQL as well.

When considering all the costs incurred on any large development project, proprietary database licensing definitely stands out. This is one reason many companies are now using PostgreSQL on projects instead of Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server. ROI happens much faster when leveraging open source software, like Postgre, compared to proprietary alternatives.

With Oracle no longer able to claim significant advantages in performance or functionality compared to PostgreSQL, businesses of all sizes need to consider going the open source route for the RDBMS on their next database project.

Check out the next edition of the Betica Blog for additional insights into the world of software development and quality assurance.