PostgreSQL vs Oracle: The Battle of the Titans
As the saying goes, change is the only constant in life. Interestingly, this also applies to the tech and software world. Oracle Database has been a globally recognized and appreciated solution for decades, but there is a rising star called PostgreSQL, which is gaining the confidence of developers from all around the world.
The following article will put these two rivals under the microscope to try and determine which is more capable of handling the ever-growing list of challenges in the IT space.
Oracle in a Nutshell
Oracle is one of the largest vendors of Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) in the market today. It’s commonly known as Oracle Database or Oracle DB. Oracle Database is being used by many companies in the IT industry for transaction processing, business analytics, and also business intelligence app purposes.
First commercialized in 1979, it was built around a relational database where data could be accessed by users via an application or Structured Query Language (SQL).
In an attempt to accommodate various company sizes and needs, Oracle Database is currently available as Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, Express Edition and Oracle Lite. Oracle Database runs on all major platforms such as Windows, UNIX, Linux, and MacOS. Its biggest traditional rival has been the popular Microsoft SQL Server.
What is PostgreSQL (Postgres)?
PostgreSQL, commonly known as Postgres, is an open-source and object-relational database management system. It was written in C language and developed by a team of volunteering developers. Postgres didn’t support SQL until 1994 and initially required QUEL to query data from it, making it less than ideal. But things have evolved since then.
Did You Know?
The PostgreSQL license is a liberal open source license. You are free to use, modify and distribute Postgres in any form.
Postgres went open-source route in 1996, after which full SQL support was added. It now supports all features of RDBMS with an addition of other features such as views, stored procedures, indexes, and triggers in addition to the primary key, foreign key and atomicity features.
This system’s functionality can be extended by users by modifying existing features, adding new features and distributed freely. It runs on major platforms such as UNIX, MacOS, Windows, and Linux etc., while supporting programming interfaces for languages such as C/C++, Java, Python, Perl, and open database connectivity.
Postgres manages concurrency through Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC), which gives each transaction a " database snapshot", allowing changes to be made without affecting other transactions. This eliminates the need for read locks, while ensuring the database maintains ACID principles.
Postgres vs Oracle: The Showdown
Both methodologies are extremely popular today, but it’s safe to say that Postgres is the one trending upwards to its inherited characteristics, that are more suited to today’s dynamic development requirements. Below is a comparison along 5 crucial parameters that cannot be ignored before choosing a solution and making the move.
- Value for Money - Postgres
Oracle is a commercial solution that has pretty steep pricing options, with additional payments required for extra features. Postgres easily clinches this comparison since acquisition, installation and support is completely free of charge. This factor alone can prove to be crucial when it comes to small to medium sized organizations.
- Support – Postgres
Another win for the open-source solution. Postgres has an extremely active community where patches, tweaks, updates and more can be found easily. Even answers to questions that arise during installation or upgrades are to be found easily with minimal delays. This is not the case with Oracle, where support costs money.
Large organizations that choose to implement Postgres can also opt for paid support professionals, whose services tend to be cheaper than their Oracle counterparts.
- Functionality – Oracle
Oracle Database pulls one back thanks to decades of experience and high levels of development expertise. It not only provides more transactions per second than PostgreSQL, but also arguably provides higher levels of security. However, it should be noted that many of Oracle’s security features come at an added cost.
Oracle Database is secure and ensures that user data is not tampered with through prompt updates. Its better experience with various industries also gives it the upper hand.
PostgreSQL is no slouch in the functionality front. It offers three levels of transaction isolation: Read Committed, Repeatable Read and Serializable. Its immune to dirty reads. Requesting a Read Uncommitted transaction isolation level provides read committed instead. Postgres supports full serializability via serializable snapshot isolation (SSI).
- Scalability – Draw
While both solutions are quite capable in this category, Postgres possesses the advantage due to its open-source characteristics. Not only is it much lighter than Oracle, you also don’t have to fork out more cash to expand your infrastructure. Postgres is completely capable of accommodating any volume of data.
- Compatibility – Postgres
Oracle has a robust language in PL/SQL, however Postgres allows you to write language handlers in multiple languages (Python, R, etc.) directly in the database.
Postgres also clearly has the edge when it comes to compatibility with operating systems, which is extremely crucial in today’s diverse and complex development environments. FreeBSD, HP-UX, Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD, OS X, Solaris, Unix and Windows are all compatible with Postgres, which is a big advantage.
Did You Know?
Postgres currently supports 12 authentication systems, including LDAP, Kerberos, GSSAPI, RADIUS, password-based or even "trust-based" authentication.
It also must be noted that Postgres tends to feel much friendlier for developers, so that they don’t mind installing and reinstalling development versions on their laptops. In contrast, more and more developers are looking to avoid installing Oracle as much as possible, given its complexity and the overhead involved.
Automate your Postgres for Optimal Results
Implementing Postgres can be great for your DevOps setup, but you need to take the extra step towards optimization by automating your operations. This not only helps you save valuable time and resources, but also gives you an edge when it comes to confronting the issues that constantly arise in today’s dynamic setups.
Baking automation into your ecosystem with a Postgres-compatible solution can help you make multiple deliveries across various platforms, all with minimal to no errors. Besides these deliveries, a wide range of key KPIs can also be tracked and monitored via a centralized dashboard for maximum efficiency.
Besides the obvious benefit of saving time, money and resources, you will also gain the flexibility of an open-source solution and easily accommodate your complex ecosystem. Automation helps improve in fields such as speed, accuracy, consistency and reliability, while helping you detect issues in real-time with actionable insights.
Proper Postgres implementation with a compatible automation solution also speeds up developer onboarding and keeps them fully engaged, making the end-to-end easier.
The DevOps world has evolved, with multiple platforms, languages and environments running simultaneously. Comprehensive automation has become a necessity to conduct development in an error-free manner and to enforce policies to align all teams and database activities. Eliminate rogue code and conflicts now with automated Postgres!
INTEGRATE AUTOMATION INTO YOUR POSTGRES AND YOUR ORACLE
Enjoy the benefits of Postgres or Oracle along with smooth release automation for a seamless development cycle.