The Business Case for Native Open Source Databases

Which Database is Best? (Multiple?)

There’s a reason most organizations use multiple databases in their data ecosystem; different databases are best suited for different use cases, and most organizations have more than one use case.

In this blog we explore the use case of a business-critical or mission-critical application that requires a performant, robust and reliable OLTP RDBMS, and a few reasons to stick with a native open source database for this use case.

Here are a few highlights from a survey by ScaleGrid, collected from attendees at the world’s largest developer expo, DeveloperWeek 2019:

  • “Almost half of respondents use more than one database to power their applications.”
  • “Among all databases, MySQL was the No. 1 choice reported by respondents, garnering mentions from about 39 percent, while MongoDB followed at about 25 percent, ahead of PostgreSQL at about 17 percent.”
  • “The clear winner with over 1/3 of multiple database type use is the combination of MySQL and MongoDB. While MongoDB is often considered an alternative to MySQL, the two databases do work well together when properly designed. The second most popular combination was MySQL and PostgreSQL together. These two SQL databases are clear competitors, but can be jointly used to store different data sets.”

The trend is to choose the right database for the job, and often side-by-side. So as an example, you may use:

  1. a workhorse OLTP RDBMS to serve up reads and writes quickly and reliably (such as MySQL), and additional real-time MySQL database replicas for backups or reporting,
  2. a document store for a service or feature that requires unstructured data (MongoDB or MongoDB Atlas),
  3. another data store such as AWS Redshift for warehousing and analytics.

Now that we’ve established why you might use more than one type of database, let’s hone in on the use case of the business-critical application, and why you may want to stick with an open source one.

Which is MY SQL?

For serving up reads and writes quickly and reliably for a business-critical application, there are many reasons to stick with a native open source database (such as MySQL, MariaDB, Percona Server for MySQL or PostgreSQL), instead of a proprietary or “compatible” database (such as AWS RDS, Oracle, or MS SQL Server). Besides the cost of migration:

  1. Flexibility - Enables you to create a system based on your unique requirements and business needs.
    1. Maintain platform and vendor independence. No limits or strings attached.
    2. The source code can be modified to match any user preference.
    3. Freedom to use whatever tools or integrations you prefer.
  2. Battle-Tested and Compliance with Standards - Makes for robust and powerful solutions based on many years of testing, development and hardening.
  3. Training and Resources - Besides a massive, supportive online community, and many books and other resources, there’s a huge pool of workers who have open source database skills to hire from.
  4. No Vendor Lock-in - Complete control and ownership of your data and data operations.
    1. Power to negotiate with Big Tech, since you can easily move your data on and off their platforms as you wish.
    2. Ability to diversify technical risk, such as with multi-cloud, to ensure continuous operations (see my last blog about how to prevent AWS outages from bringing your database down).
  5. Scalability - Free open source databases allow you to grow and scale at low cost, especially with tools that enable horizontal scaling and improve efficiency and performance. Furthermore, you can easily achieve geographic-scale.
  6. Availability - You can leverage advanced and powerful clustering solutions, for example, for multi-cloud or multi-region to ensure continuous operations and prevent downtime, among other things.

So if your goal is to have a robust, OLTP RDBMS that can support a business-critical or mission-critical application reliably for the long-term, then a native open source database might be the right choice.

Open Source Database + Tungsten = Best of Both Worlds

Continuent has been a partner for success with business-critical open source databases for a long time. Besides continuous operations, running your open source database on Tungsten Clustering provides benefits such as a dedicated and experienced development team committed to innovation and improvement, backed by industry-best 24/7/365 enterprise support. You are free to use any version of MySQL, MariaDB, or Percona Server for MySQL, and you can deploy Tungsten database clusters without app or infrastructure changes. Since Continuent serves the Open Source database community, we keep the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) low and predictable and ensure the freedom and flexibility to use whatever tools or platforms you wish. There are no limitations.

Apt for your organization’s multi-database-verse, Tungsten Clustering leverages the well-known Tungsten Replicator technology which converts your data into a highly-transferable format, making it easy to extract your data from your database clusters and replicate in real-time to different data stores such as MongoDB, Vertica, Kafka, and Clickhouse.

Please email or contact us to learn more about how Tungsten may help you meet your business objectives!

About the Author

Sara Captain
Director of Product Marketing

Sara has worn various hats at Continuent since 2014. Listening to Continuent customers over the years, Sara fell in love with the Continuent Tungsten suite of products. She started learning Linux and MySQL administration with the support of Continuent's amazing team, so she can help with keeping Customers happy. Prior to Continuent she worked in consulting with a focus on leveraging data.

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