The fastest path to government IT cost efficiency: Make the Postgres move

Across the U.S. government, for nearly every agency, digital transformation is a top priority. Both defense and civilian agencies are heavily focused on initiat...

Across the U.S. government, for nearly every agency, digital transformation is a top priority. Both defense and civilian agencies are heavily focused on initiatives designed to streamline complex internal processes, enhance mission-critical applications and better serve citizens. Take, for instance, the 2019 “Cloud Smart” mandate, which offers a path forward for agencies looking to migrate to a safe and secure cloud infrastructure, and embrace the IT best practices embodied by both the private and the public sectors.

In short, leveraging innovative tech solutions is now the rule, rather than the exception in the public sector.

However, in comparison to many private sector innovators, government agencies find themselves facing additional hurdles. Security and compliance are far more rigorous and budgets are a lot tighter. These challenges and needs beg the question: How does my agency achieve robust digital transformation that empowers lightning-fast services, meets the unique government demands and doesn’t break the bank?

While, in the past, the answer to this question lay in legacy proprietary database providers like Oracle, today many agencies have proven that open source technologies such as Postgres (also known as PostgreSQL) provide a powerful, and much more cost effective alternative.

Do more with your data, cost-efficiently

The vast majority of government agencies are tasked with managing, securing and acting upon incredibly large amounts of vital data. Whether your agency specializes in national defense, civilian services, oversight or federal law enforcement, every asset within your database has the potential to be critical to one mission or another.

Unfortunately, with legacy proprietary databases, the more data you have, the more expensive it is to maintain and fully utilize your assets. While this might be simply frustrating for major private sector businesses, it’s proving to be downright unsustainable for government agencies, whose transformative modern initiatives depend on their ability to harness the full potential of their data.

This realization has been a key driver behind the mass migration away from commercial databases to modern open source alternatives such as Postgres. In fact, this situation illustrates the fundamental difference in philosophy between the designers of Postgres and those of its profit-driven counterparts in the database management system (DBMS) market — and why the latter are ill-suited for the needs of government IT departments.

Drive innovation with Postgres flexibility

One of Postgres’ most commonly cited benefits is its unparalleled flexibility, which empowers agencies to integrate their DBMS with whatever applications and solutions best suit their needs.

Legacy databases simply don’t provide that level of freedom. They slow your growth because they measure growth by their profit, not your success in harnessing the power of your data. They have a financial incentive to restrict customers to the solutions and tools that will actively benefit them. Postgres, on the other hand, is built and maintained by a community that values innovation, freedom and flexibility above all else. In fact, Postgres community leadership actively works to ensure that their database project doesn’t limit its users in service of profit.

The result is a database that doesn’t force you to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to data management. You can always have the right tool for the job at your disposal, seizing on the potential of the new without giving up the applications that you’ve become comfortable with. You can easily migrate your mission critical applications to Postgres with the right tools. You can also build new applications in the cloud using Postgres, and uniquely support a hybrid or multi-cloud deployment model for as long as it’s needed.

And the same goes for architecture, a strength which makes migrating to Postgres easier and less resource-consuming. Postgres can seamlessly integrate with your existing architecture. Whether you plan on executing a gradual migration over a long period of time or simply using one database for certain purposes and a different one for others, Postgres won’t just coexist with your current infrastructure; it has the potential to significantly amplify it.

In short, Postgres is designed for flexibility, rather than to force your teams, your initiatives or your aspirations to conform to rigid architectural requirements or integration restrictions.

So not only are you paying less, you’re getting access to so much more.

Protect your data and remain compliant

While some organizations in both the private and public sectors are wary of open source databases because of a perceived lack of security, leaders of the Postgres community have worked tirelessly to ensure that this DBMS is not only as secure as its legacy, proprietary counterparts, but that Postgres can meet the vast and evolving compliance requirements that different industries face.

The Postgres community leadership shares your commitment to security, and hardens security in a number of vital ways. Not only does the Postgres leadership team maintain strict guidelines about who can update code or introduce features, but they maintain a rigorous system for monitoring such changes and additions, so that potential bad actors are stopped in their tracks, before any damage is done.

In the same way that Postgres’ flexibility empowers developers to build applications according to their needs or architects to tailor database infrastructure as they like, it also ensures that you can adopt whatever security tools and data management protocols are necessary for your agency to remain compliant while executing major initiatives. Whatever tools will best protect your data and whatever administrative solutions will help you adhere to regulation, Postgres allows you to integrate.

As a result, no matter the extent of your modernization projects, you never have to worry about losing control of your most valuable asset: your data.

The power of Postgres in action

Many government agencies are making the move to Postgres for digital transformation and infrastructure modernization. Government agencies have incredible responsibilities and they deserve a DBMS that takes those responsibilities as seriously as they do. While legacy proprietary databases restrict and hinder the transformative initiatives that agencies need to prioritize with suffocating licensing, limited flexibility and unmanageable pricing, Postgres is providing government agencies with a database solution that doesn’t hold their data hostage, but allows them to make the most of it.

For government IT asking how they can achieve their most ambitious initiatives with cost efficiency, the answer is clear: Postgres.

Jeremy Wilson is the North America Public Sector CTO at EnterpriseDB.

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