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EnterpriseDB looks to grow market for PostgreSQL

Enterprises are increasingly using the open source PostgreSQL database. Read in this Q&A where the growth is coming from and how some of it is from users in the cloud.

Among the mostly widely deployed open source databases is PostgreSQL, which is also often referred to simply as Postgres.

One of key vendors in the PostgreSQL community is EnterpriseDB, which provides a commercially supported distribution of Postgres. A primary competitor of EnterpriseDB Postgres has long been Oracle's namesake database, but simply replacing Oracle isn't the only use case for PostgreSQL, according to Ed Boyajian, president and CEO of EnterpriseDB.

Under Boyajian's leadership, EnterpriseDB (also known as EDB) has grown for 40 consecutive quarters as demand for Postgres has built steadily. In October 2019, the company revealed a new partnership with IBM that Boyajian says will help further accelerate EnterpriseDB's growth, with IBM selling EnterpriseDB Postgres as the IBM Data Management Platform for EDB Postgres Enterprise. In this Q&A, Boyajian talks about why he thinks PostgreSQL has enjoyed sustained popularity and where it is finding new deployments.

Why is the business still growing and what will the EnterpriseDB  partnership with IBM add to the mix?

Ed BoyajianEd Boyajian

Ed Boyajian: It starts and it ends with the technology. We continue to make Postgres better and Postgres has become an incredibly strong database.

If you look inside our business, about 70% of our growth comes from existing customers who are expanding the various ways they're using Postgres. Thirty percent of our business growth comes from new customers who are using Postgres for the first time.

With IBM we've had a long-standing informal relationship, and now we'll have a much more formal relationship that puts IBM in a position to bring Postgres products to market as part of their overall data and AI initiatives.

In the early days of EnterpriseDB the primary competitive target was always Oracle. Is that still so or has the landscape changed?

A lot has changed over the years, but anytime there's a powerful incumbent like Oracle, that's going to be a target.
Ed BoyajianCEO, EnterpriseDB

Boyajian: A lot has changed over the years, but anytime there's a powerful incumbent like Oracle, that's going to be a target.

What has changed though is that as we continue to make Postgres better, and as developers have kind of grown in prominence in decision-making, we've seen Postgres take a much more central position.

We see developers choosing Postgres, not just as a replacement database for Oracle, but as a full-fledged first choice for applications, and that's really been the most significant change.

What's your view of multi-model databases?

Boyajian: If you look at the landscape now there's no doubt now that many specialty open-source databases have become prominent.

But when you look at the more traditional relational database vendors, and particularly at Postgres, you'll see that it has attributes of SQL database capabilities, but it also has other capabilities.

Postgres is notable for its document features. There are also time series database extensions and there is a graph extension too. We do think that the multi-model nature of Postgres is one of its many attributes that is important.

How do you at EnterpriseDB see open-source databases, like Postgres, competing in the cloud against cloud providers?

Boyajian: First and foremost when we think of cloud, be it Amazon, Azure, Google or IBM, it's really just another deployment platform for our technology. A high percentage of our customers deploy EDB Postgres into the public cloud today.

In the context of the broader Postgres community, we're a key contributor to the core database. None of the cloud players participate in Postgres community in the same way. So while they have Postgres offerings, their role in the community is fundamentally different and we don't feel a particular competitive threat from them in terms of their chops as database guys.

That being said, we partner with every one of the big cloud vendors to deploy Postgres. We are cloud advocates and most of our customers are deployed in a multi-platform context. That means they are not only deploying on premises, they're also increasingly deploying into both private and public cloud. One of the important distinctions for EDB compared to any public cloud vendor is that we support the same deployment of Postgres on every platform.

What types of workloads do you see for Postgres today?

Boyajian: We see a few different deployment patterns. We see Postgres databases deployed as systems of record, which act as the single source truth for transaction-heavy workloads.

We also see EDB deployed as systems of analysis, which you might think of as traditionally being data warehouse-type environments, where there is less of a burden on transactions and more on reporting and analysis.

Then there are those that use Postgres for what we refer to as systems of engagement, which you can think of as a database-backed website.

What's next?

Boyajian: EnterpriseDB is doing continued work in our tooling to make it easy to deploy Postgres anywhere and to be able to manage that in a holistic way.

As we see Postgres becoming more prominent for new applications, we're putting even more emphasis on making Postgres easier to work with for developers, putting in place the technologies to make it more developer-friendly.

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