Great features, but less popularity
Thanks to the long and hard effort by the community, PostgreSQL has been evolving to be a really great software comparable to existing strong commercial products. According to the following article, open source databases are gaining more popularity enough to influence the database market.
"Though the proprietary RDBMS market grew at a sluggish 5.4 percent in 2014, the open source database market grew 31 percent to hit $562 million."
"As Gartner highlights in a recent research report, open source databases now consume 25 percent of relational database usage."
On the other hand, there is a gulf between the two top popular databases -- Oracle and MySQL -- and PostgreSQL. They are nearly five times more popular than PostgreSQL.
Yes, I understand this ranking doesn't necessarily reflect the actual use, but I also don't think the ranking is far from the real popularity. In fact, some surveys show that MySQL has been in more widespread use even here in Japan than PostgreSQL since around 2010 (IIRC).
What should be done to boost the popularity of PostgreSQL? One challenge is to increase the number of software which supports PostgreSQL. To take advantage of the trend of shift from commercial products to open source, PostgreSQL needs to interoperate with many software that are used together with the commercial databases.
The easily understandable target is Oracle, because it is anticipated that more users of Oracle will seek another database to avoid the expensive Oracle Standard Edition 2 and increasing maintenance costs. In addition, PostgreSQL has affinity for Oracle.
However, there is a problem. The number of software is very small that the users can know to interoperate with PostgreSQL. That is, when the users want to migrate from commercial databases to PostgreSQL, they can't get information on whether they can continue to use their assets with PostgreSQL. Many applications might be interoperable through standard interfaces like JDBC/ODBC, but the case is unknown. For example:
- Only 24 open source projects are listed as interoperable.
Open Source Projects Using PostgreSQL
- About 120 products are listed in the Software Catalog (excluding the ones like PostgreSQL extensions). But the number would drop down to about 100 if the members of the same product family are counted as one.
- Even EnterpriseDB has only 12 certified application vendors .
- PostgreSQL Enterprise Consortium lists only about 30 related products (Japanese only) .
- MySQL touts more than 2,000 ISV/OEM/VARs .
Besides, in practice, more development efforts will probably be necessary to make PostgreSQL more interoperable with many software products. e.g. one customer asked me whether Arcserve can be used to back up PostgreSQL databases, but unfortunately I had to answer no. They are using Arcserve to back up Oracle databases and other resources. "Then, you can use NetVault instead" is not the best answer; they just want to replace the database.
Challenge: improvement and disclosure of interoperability with software products
At the steering committee of PostgreSQL Enterprise Consortium (PGECons), I proposed starting the following activity. PGECons is a Japanese non-profit organization to promote PostgreSQL for enterprise use. The members include NTT, SRA OSS, Inc. (Tatsuo Ishii runs), NEC, Hitachi, HP, Fujitsu (my company), etc. The committee concluded that we need to work in cooperation with the PostgreSQL community.
- Attract and ask product/service vendors to support/use PostgreSQL. Provide technical assistance to those vendors as an organization so that they can support PostgreSQL smoothly. If the vendors aren't proactive, we verify the interoperability with their software by executing it.
- Make a directory of software/services that can be used with PostgreSQL on the community web site (wiki.postgresql.org or www.postgresql.org). Software/services vendors and PostgreSQL developers/users can edit this directory. This list not only has the names of software and its vendors, but also other information such as the level of interoperability (certified by the vendor, or verified by the community/users) and remarks about configuration, tuning, and whatever useful for users.
Take the ecosystem survey
I consulted the PostgreSQL community on how to proceed, and decided to solicit opinions from (potential) users. There are so many software products that we can't address them all. Thus, we'd like to know what commercial/open-source software products are required to become (better) interoperable with PostgreSQL.
By filling out the following survey form, please tell us what software you need in order to adopt PostgreSQL in wider range. The form comprises three questions: software/usage/industry category, a specific software, and a free comment on the interoperability issue of the software. Your request will encourage us to improve the interoperability of PostgreSQL to make more software available.
You can see the survey result in real time in the spreadsheets below.
Survey response sheets
We really appreciate your cooperation. Thanks.