Friday, 4th December 2020

Accelerating success with Postgres: Top tips for deployment

By Marc Linster, Chief Technology Officer at EDB.

Businesses deploy PostgreSQL for a variety of reasons: some start using it for a single project, while others are introduced to it through an acquisition or because a new off-the-shelf application depends on it. Regardless of the reason, all organisations will experience several stages of PostgreSQL adoption, which can present challenges if they’re not prepared to accelerate success with PostgreSQL and make the most of its capabilities. Businesses should consider the following steps before they embark on their migration journey.

Establish interdepartmental collaboration

Many enterprises deploying PostgreSQL experience a ‘chicken and egg’ problem. Developers can’t use it because the operations team isn’t ready to support it, or the database administration (DBA) team says “Postgres is in the solutions catalogue, but nobody uses it."

How can enterprises move quickly to broader adoption and eventual standardisation of PostgreSQL? Successful IT departments drive PostgreSQL adoption by focusing on enabling the DBA team first. That way, the CIO creates a safe and reliable platform to roll it out, reduce cost, and enable innovation without putting the business at risk.

Once the DBA team is ready to support PostgreSQL, they can then help application developers understand the innovation potential, cost savings, and tremendous leverage they can get from a database that can handle Geographic Information System (GIS), documents, full text search, extensible data types, and much more.

Master the basics

To provide guidance for a technology change strategy, many leading IT departments tier their applications in terms of mission criticality and acceptable downtime. While lower tier apps are less critical, they are often a good place to start when migrating to a new database system. This is because they require less database infrastructure for high availability, geo-redundancy, security and other compliance requirements, offering ideal proving grounds for developer teams.

Starting with low and mid-tier applications allows DBAs to develop the operational and compliance patterns needed to eventually move to higher tier and enterprise mission critical applications. This approach ensures that developers can master the basics first and integrate PostgreSQL with the enterprise management environment for backup, monitoring, security, and authentication, thereby ensuring readiness for next-level challenges.

Speed up provisioning with automation

It’s no longer acceptable to take 4-6 weeks to provision a database. In the age of the cloud, provisioning should take no longer than 15 minutes, including updates to the configuration management and cost accounting systems.

Enterprises that continue relying on manual database deployment are not likely to succeed with PostgreSQL or any other technology infrastructure innovation. Faster provisioning can only be achieved through automated deployment tools such as Kubernetes, Ansible, Terraform, and the like. The application tiering discussed above is crucial to a successful automation approach, so that templates for different tiers and sizes of databases can be created. Developing a fully automated, self-service deployment structure for PostgreSQL helps reduce barriers, allows projects to try PostgreSQL out, encourages innovation, and gets stuff done faster.

Take advantage of innovation capabilities

Migrations to PostgreSQL tend to focus on re-platforming, ‘lift-and-shift’ with minimal change. While such projects can greatly reduce the cost of ownership, they can be difficult to complete as they involve all aspects of legacy data management, including the data itself, the code, the application interface, and operational ownership, such as security, disaster recovery, and other compliance challenges.

Businesses that take full advantage of PostgreSQL’s native innovation capabilities often see greater success with driving additional value-add and customer intimacy. While cost reductions are important and feasible with PostgreSQL, businesses can realise great value when they use it to create geo-location aware mobile apps, highly personalised applications, and powerful search tools that combine database searches with PostgreSQL full text searches.

It’s common for IT departments to move rapidly through the stages of emerging and expanding, towards the strategic adoption of Postgres. However, enterprises that make this an intentional, planned, and strategic journey typically make the fastest progress towards measurable results.

To truly reap the benefits of PostgreSQL, businesses should design tiering models, enable the fundamental collaboration needed for DevOps, create automation solutions, and take advantage of PostgreSQL’s’ many innovation capabilities. By following these steps, businesses can experience a successful and smooth migration to a platform that offers great innovation.

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