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Percona 2023 Predictions: What to Expect in the World of Open-Source Databases


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

What to Expect in the World of Open-Source Databases

By Donnie Berkholz, SVP of Product Management, Percona

Open-source databases have come a long way since PostgreSQL and MySQL first arrived on the scene in the mid-90s. Decades later, three of the top five most widely used databases in the world are open source (or "source available", in the case of MongoDB), and they're only continuing to grow in popularity. 2023 will be chock-full of high water marks to extend that legacy - with new and exciting trends developing around not only the technologies themselves, but also the ways in which they're being utilized and optimized. The following are four of the most exciting open source database developments to look out for in 2023:

1. Platform engineering will go mainstream

In 2023, platform engineering will move beyond the very early adopter phase and get adopted by more organizations that make heavy use of open source software. Gartner has predicted that platform engineering and self-service stacks will reach mainstream adoption by 2026, but I think it will be faster than that.

Platform engineering helps developer teams manage their experience and improve efficiency, based on the lessons learned across DevOps, Site Reliability Engineering and cloud deployment. It covers how teams can deliver the right kind of developer experience using automation and self-service, so developers can get to writing code and implementing applications rather than having to wait for infrastructure to be set up based on a ticket request. The most common processes that will get adopted are cloud-based development environments, more self-service provisioning and deployment for database instances or other infrastructure, and access to runbooks.

Companies will adopt this approach more because they care about their internal developer experience - anything that gets in the way of those developers is literally costing you money when those employees are not productive. When your developers can move more quickly, they can iterate faster and deliver better applications or services to you.  When companies care more about their capital expenses, any approach that can help them reduce cost from licenses and free up time will be welcomed quickly.

For businesses involved in the open source community, supporting a platform-engineering approach helps them get ahead of the cloud service providers and provide a competitive service.

In 2023, more companies will care about controlling their cloud spend so they can operate efficiently. Using services based on open source that make use of a platform-engineering approach should help them keep that positive developer experience and efficiency that cloud offers, but also help them avoid those additional license costs and lock-in. 

2. Data ownership, sovereignty and control will continue to expand

Rules on data privacy and digital sovereignty are continuing to expand. Following on from the GDPR, CCPA and EU rules on data privacy, more countries have adopted these rules and regulations to protect their citizens. Countries want to prevent too much control over data by foreign companies. For the EU, this includes looking at how to manage this when US companies effectively own the cloud computing market, and what this means for the future.

This is a problem for businesses that have to operate across regions and countries, as they will have more restrictions on where they can and can't process their data. Open source database communities are responding to this - for example, PostgreSQL 15 launched this year, with its improvements to Logical Replication, so you can set limits and geo-fence subsets of your data so it is restricted to specific locations and can't be replicated outside where it is needed.

3. PostgreSQL will continue to take over the world

PostgreSQL continues to grow as a project and as a community. It will eventually take over the position that MySQL holds on the DB-Engines ranking and become the most popular open source database, but this will be a while. There are lots of new projects being launched that base themselves on PostgreSQL, and then offer their spin on top.

The reason for this is that it is easy to make PostgreSQL do what you want it to, and the license it is released under makes it possible to build businesses on this as well. For users, it is simple to implement and the community is a strong one.

4. Database Reliability Engineering will make a comeback

Following on from the success of Site Reliability Engineering in the past five years, there was a move to apply the same methodology to database management.  However, Database Reliability Engineering (DBRE) did not catch on in the same way. For many companies, their existing database teams were enough, or they wanted to shift their approach to the cloud. 

However, the DBRE approach seems to be picking up again now. More people want to apply those lessons to how they manage database instances, reducing overheads and improving resiliency. The growth of database deployments on Kubernetes is partly responsible for this new wave of interest, so there should be more demand for DBREs in 2023.

With these four trends, the world of open source databases is poised to continue its upward trajectory in 2023 - with no shortage of new adopters, new applications, and new tools and strategies to improve their efficacy in myriad ways.




Donnie Berkholz, Ph.D., is SVP Product Management and a member of the Executive Management Team at Percona. His background includes leadership, advisory, and engineering roles at organizations including Docker, Scale Venture Partners, travel-tech leader CWT, 451 Research, RedMonk, and Gentoo Linux.

Published Wednesday, January 11, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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