By Peter Kerschhofer,

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Sclable architecture is: what does Sclable use as database? The answer is PostgreSQL, which according to the PostgreSQL Global Development Group is “The world’s most advanced open source database”. Read on to learn why Sclable just loves PostgreSQL.

PostgreSQL is open source

Why is this important to us? Well, at Sclable we do a lot of quite amazing stuff. Therefore we need to fiddle with the source code of our underlying technology. PostgreSQL allows us to do just that. We need the opportunity to extend, patch and tweak the relational database behind Sclable in every way to give you the best possible Business Application Development Platform available today.

A video visualization made with codeswarm by Michael Ogawa showing the development history of PostgreSQL

A video visualization made with codeswarm by Michael Ogawa showing the development history of PostgreSQL. The history of PostgreSQL goes back until 1996, when PostgreSQL became open Source. Today the project is hosted on Github, where you can fork the source code and commit to the project as a developer. Image: codeswarm

PostgreSQL is enterprise-grade

PostgreSQL is the premier choice for mission critical applications when an Open Source RDBMS is needed. The PostgreSQL website currently lists companies specialized in enterprise support for PostgreSQL on every continent, while Europe is leading with the highest number of PostgreSQL enterprise integrators. For the size of the country, Austria is leading in Europe.

OSRDBMS like PostgreSQL have a low TCO

According to Gartner’s 2015 Report on The State of Open-Source RDBMSs the total cost of ownership of OSRDBMSs (Open Source Relational Database Management Systems) is significantly lower, even when enterprise support is taken into account. The report states, that by 2018 more than 70% of new in-house applications will be developed on an OSDBMS and 50% of existing commercial RDBMS instances will have been converted or will be in process.

PostgreSQL is fast as hell

It is out of question that PostgreSQL is a performance beast. An example: The Skytools library, used for replication and failover in Microsoft’s Skype, the popular VOIP application, is built upon PostgreSQL. Doesn’t that tell you more than a bunch of statistical graphs?
Some younger developers ask why Sclable doesn’t go for some hipper NoSQL approach like MongoDB. So if you long for some stats, read how PostgrSQL outperforms MongoDB in a blog post from Marc Linster, Senior Vice President at EnterpriseDB.

An image from this year’s FOSDEM, a PostgreSQL developer conference we’ve been attending at Brussels, Belgium. The history of PostgreSQL goes back until 1996, when PostgreSQL became open Source. Today the project hosted on Github, where you can fork the source code and commit to the project as a developer. Image: Weborama Blog

Postgres is for developers

Sclable is a platform for developers designed by developers. So is PostgreSQL. Among the features we like and use with Sclable – which are missing in alternatives, including commercial RDMSs – are:

  • Platform independence
    PostgreSQL runs on any OS. Many proprietary RDBMS products just don’t.
  • Extensibility
    This is really important for developers. There are many procedural languages, even more externaly developed ones, and of course you can add, you can even write, your own. There is even support for Google’s V8 javascript engine.
  • A proper shell
    At Sclable we use the PostgreSQL shell extensively. In fact you can develop a complete Sclable Business Application just on the command line of the psql shell.
  • The contrib
    PostgreSQL has tons of features on board. But there are 45 optional features (as of 9.4) coming with the PostgreSQL contrib modules. At Sclable we like pgcrypto a lot.

But will Sclable run on other RDBMSs some day?

At the moment the answer must be: maybe. A port of the Sclable Core Engine over to another real good relational database is theoretically possible. From the conceptual point of view. Lastly it will depend on the Sclable developer community. There needs to be at least someone who really wants this for a technically valid reason.

Fazit

This blog post is just what comes to my mind as the main important matters explainable with only a few words. At our daily work we are facing challenges that possibly could fill a book (and maybe one day will do so). Overcoming them reassures our choice for PostgreSQL, which  makes us really, really happy.