Score a Goal With Postgres!

Most football freaks would agree on José Mourinho being the iconic coach of this decade, having consistently shown his ability at taking strong raw talent and transforming it into championship-calibre teams. After ensuring FC Porto was decorated with medals of the Portuguese Liga, Cup of Portugal, UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League, he went on to guide Chelsea through two consecutive Premier League titles and helped Inter win the Supercoppa Italiana and National Serie A titles. In 2004, EnterpriseDB, a solution provider of an open source relational database management system, performed similar magic with PostgreSQL, a leading open source enterprise-class relational database management system (RDBMS). PostgreSQL was a promising star in the database market when it was originally built twenty years ago; EnterpriseDB helped transform the world-class technology of PostgreSQL into an enterprise class product with the release of Postgres Plus Standard Server and Postgres Plus Advanced Server.

“Postgres Plus is an open source database typically deployed in high profile, mission-critical applications. Our open source products provide capabilities that address a range of enterprise requirements (application development enhanced performance, runtime management, usability, and scalability), which enable organisations to build and deploy applications that solve critical business problems. We also provide 24×7 ‘follow the sun’ technical support, training and professional services needed to support all phases of evaluation, development, deployment, and ongoing production of mission critical systems,” says Ashish Mehra, director India operations, EnterpriseDB Software India.

Based on open source PostgreSQL, which is developed by the largest independent RDBMS community in the world, EnterpriseDB’s Postgres Plus Standard Server and Postgres Plus Advanced Server are products suited for transaction-intensive and mixed-load applications. Typically, Postgres Plus is deployed as an online transaction processing (OLTP) database in support of enterprise applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERM), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and other applications that require databases to support high concurrency, performance, scalability, and security.

But with multiple players (both proprietary and open source) in the RDBMS market, what makes Postgres Plus products a cut above the rest?

While the total cost of ownership of a 16-CPU ( four server, four CPUs/server) Oracle configuration is $1,261,600 over three years, the TCO of a comparably configured Postges Plus Advanced Server deployment is $215,760. This would mean a TCO savings of $1,045,840, or 83 per cent.”Ashish Mehra, director India operations, EnterpriseDB Software India

Easy on the pocket

Being open source software, Postgres Plus is cost effective as compared to its strong proprietary counterparts like Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM. Postgres Plus Advanced Server includes a breakthrough suite of compatibility technologies that run Oracle applications with little or no changes at a much lower cost. “The most significant difference between the two databases is around cost. While the total cost of ownership of a 16-CPU (four server, four CPUs/server) Oracle configuration is $1,261,600 over three years, the TCO of a comparably configured Postges Plus Advanced Server deployment is $215,760. This would mean a TCO savings of $1,045,840, or 83 per cent,” says Mehra.

NTT, a Japan-headquartered telecommunications company, couldn’t agree more. They switched from commercial RDBMS products for their telecom business operation and back office systems to PostgreSQL and have availed significant cost benefits. “We originally estimated to save $20-30 million for five years by deploying PostgreSQL to in-house systems. But after adding Postgres Plus Advanced Server to our options, we now estimate the savings to double,” testifies Takeshi Tachi, senior manager, NTT Open Source Software Center, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation.

InMobi Global Media Adnetwork, formerly mKhoj Solutions, that opted for EnterpriseDB in 2007, saw similar savings. “We chose Postgres Plus to solve our pain areas, namely, scalability and support issues. Postgres Plus was one-tenth the cost of other RDBMS. Further, we have seen huge cost reductions in our IT costs thereafter,” says Mohit Saxena, VP (technology), InMobi Global Media Adnetwork.

We chose Postgres Plus to solve our pain areas, namely, scalability and support issues. Postgres Plus was one-tenth the cost of other RDBMS. Further, we have seen huge cost reductions in our IT costs thereafter.”

Mohit Saxena, VP (technology), InMobi Global Media Adnetwork

Apart from the most obvious way of reducing IT expenditures by saving on commercial licensing fees, EnterpriseDB offers numerous strategies for organisations to cut costs. New line of business (LOB) application development and deployment, replication for reporting and business intelligence, and migrating non-mission critical and mission critical applications away from high-priced commercial databases are some leading strategies. “Query, reporting and BI activities degrade the performance of OLTP applications. By offloading those queries to lower-cost non-production databases, Postgres Plus’ replication capabilities can provide real-time data warehousing at a fraction of the cost of Oracle’s replication solutions. This eliminates OLTP performance problems while ensuring timely delivery of critical information to business stakeholders,” says Mehra. For example, FTD, the worldwide leader in floral-related products and services, implemented the Postgres Plus Advanced Server Replication Server module to improve performance of their production systems while still meeting the needs of their vendor network. “By moving their vendor-facing order tracking system away from their Oracle-based production environment and onto replicated systems running on Postgres Plus Advanced Server, the performance of their production systems increased more than 400 per cent during the next peak ordering season – all while reducing the cost of operating this system by more than 80 per cent,” says Mehra.

Rich features

The fundamental features of Postgres Plus Standard Server and Advanced Server distinguish them from their primary open source competitors, like MySQL and Ingres. “PostgreSQL contains a single unified storage engine capable of performing extremely fast for all load types: OLTP (with full ACID support), reporting and mixed usage. MySQL, on the other hand, has pluggable storage engines specialised for particular types of usage; this type of configuration can result in bottlenecks as applications grow and change. Subqueries, too, are poorly optimised in MySQL. Further, user defined data types in Postgres Plus give users more options for customised solutions than MySQL, also building room for database enforced encryption,” says Mehra.

The Oracle compatibility features found in Postgres Plus Advanced Server distinguish it from its distant cousin Ingres, another strong open source database competitor. “EnterpriseDB has added powerful and convenient Oracle features to Postgres Plus Advanced Server that are standard fare in the minds of many DBAs and developers, such as: function packages, dynamic runtime instrumentation, query optimisation hints, Oracle SQL extensions, explicit transaction controls, and data dictionary views,” says Mehra.

Further, Postgres Plus Standard Server and Postgres Plus Advanced Server come with many productivity tools like Postgres Studio (graphical tool for database and cluster creation/maintenance, SQL environment, and more), EDB SQL (SQL command line environment), EDB Loader (bulk data loader with error handling), DBA Management Server (for DBAs to handle monitoring, job scheduling, SQL terminal, software update management), DBA Monitoring Console (for resource usage and management), GRidSQL Monitoring Console for distributed data, and the Oracle Replication console.

Performance enhancer

EnterpriseDB’s Postgres Plus products have multiple features across many facets of the database to help improve performance. While GridSQL partitions data across multiple machines and transparently performs queries, Asynchronous Pre-Fetch can optimise regular index scans and bitmap index scans by issuing concurrent I/O requests to RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) hardware on Linux systems. On the other hand, Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC) allows for high performance in applications that are both read and write intensive.

The best example of performance enhancement using Postgres Plus is hi5, a leading social networking site that deployed OLTP PostgreSQL installations, running on hundreds of servers. “The system supports the data transactions of more than 56 million active users each month. In June 2008, the company delivered more than 18.5 billion page views that were supported by PostgreSQL, serving nearly 11 million visitors to the site every day,” boasts Mehra of Postgres Plus.

NTT, too, saw better performance when they deployed Postgres Plus for transactional telecom business applications. “We deployed PostgreSQL for years, but earlier versions resulted in performance degradation in long-time operations requiring periodic data-vacuum operation. After PostgreSQL 8.3 released in February 2009, the performance degradation had been completely resolved, and EnterpriseDB has contributed significantly to this improvement,” says Tachi. Adding on, Saxena says: “Postgres Plus is the heart of our growth. With every release we have been setting new performance benchmarks. Postgres has helped us achieve even [previously thought] unachievable levels. This needs to be seen in the light of the fact that we are yet to use the capacity of Postgres Plus to its fullest.”

Scalability

EnterpriseDB solutions are highly scalable. Postgres Plus Advanced Server with the GridSQL configuration allows a single database to be partitioned across multiple commodity hardware machines for expandability. “InfiniteCache is a Postgres Plus Advanced Server feature providing an infinitely expandable cache across commodity hardware providing flexible growth management. The compression technology allows multi-gigabyte databases to reside in memory for lightning fast performance,” says Mehra.

Vouching for it, Saxena says: “InMobi is in a business where our traffic and our volumes are bound to grow exponentially. This is why we chose Postgres Plus and have faced no scalability issues so far. Today, we have two data centres in India and US. We plan to expand to Japan and see no problem with regard to managing databases so far.”

Strong technical base

Postgres comes with strong technical base and support. The Postgres community provides robust and well-tested fixes and enhancements across multiple platforms. Postgres user communities (like User Groups) provide a wealth of collaborative information to users, ensuring vendor independence and a strong ecosystem. This is where Postgres surpasses competitors like Ingres with no community outside of the Ingres Corporation.

Foolproof support

EnterpriseDB’s foolproof support has resolved the migration woes traditionally faced by organisations adopting open source RDBMS. EnterpriseDB offers a wide range of support options for Postgres — from free assets such as tutorials, product documentation and technical whitepapers to for-fee training, services, consulting, and subscription offerings. “Our training classes are developed and run by Postgres community’s leading contributors, like Bruce Momjian. Our Jump Start and Packaged Services offerings, like RemoteDBA and Architectural Health Checks, enable organisations to quickly develop skills and insight for fast realisation of the benefits of Postgres Plus,” say Mehra. “Migration involves two things – customisation and support. Migration is very easy with EnterpriseDB as they have plug-ins for all our existing databases. Further, their support is unmatchable. We use remote support from them,” testifies Saxena.

NTT, too, would vouch for it. Though their initial migration from commercial DBMS to PostgreSQL was a struggle, migration to Postgres Plus Advanced Server thereafter was a cakewalk. “Our estimates show that the total effort of [our] system migration project using Postgres Plus could be halved compared to the migration using the plain PostgreSQL,” says Tachi. The smooth experience has made NTT Japan look at migrating legacy accounting systems from commercial OS and DBMS to Linux and Postgres Plus Advanced Server. “We estimated this migration to be troublesome and not compensate the licensing cost saving before, but now we feel it is worth to try by deploying Advanced Server (Postgres Plus),” says Tachi.

Road ahead!

Today, EnterpiseDB employs over 100 associates worldwide, supporting more than 300 customers. Its business partners include Red Hat, Synnex, Compiere, Tomax, Contegix, Thunip, Elastra, immixGroup, Fujitsu, IBM, Continuent, and many other IT bigwigs. With EnterpriseDB winning consecutive trophies for Postgres, we might see them perform the same magic that Red Hat did for Linux. History sure does repeat itself!

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