There may be no part of the channel in which open source is better positioned to dominate than Big Data. Not only are open source solutions such as Hadoop and Ceph enjoying huge popularity for building Big Data infrastructure, but open source relational database technologies are also proliferating among enterprises looking to cut software costs. Survey results released Tuesday by EnterpriseDB on PostgreSQL adoption show just how much that's the case.

PostgreSQL, whose roots stretch back to the 1980s and which has been developed as open source project since the mid-1990s, is a well-established database system. But it's also one that continues to grow steadily within the enterprise, according to the report, which surveyed 150 government and corporate organizations. Among the key findings:

  • 40 percent of respondents are using PostgreSQL in production environments, and another 40 percent deploy it for "reporting applications"—which could be a step toward production use, the report suggests.
  • Just under half of the respondents said adopting PostgreSQL saved them at least 50 percent on their database budget.
  • PostgreSQL enjoys significant momentum as a replacement for legacy database platforms, with 29 percent of respondents reporting plans to use PostgreSQL to phase out older systems.

The last point is especially important because it shows that, despite being a very old (by IT standards) database itself, PostgreSQL is still able to cut into its competition. And that means two things: First, it's an assurance that open source technology will retain its hold within the Big Data market. Even as database software continues to undergo rapid evolution—as platforms promising bigger and better performance hit the market, and as developers experiment with new techniques such as NoSQL that sideline relational databases altogether—tried-and-true open source systems such as PostgreSQL are not going anywhere soon.

And second, the trends highlighted by the survey could shake up the channel by posing new challenges for vendors such as Oracle, which owns MySQL, currently the most popular open source relational database platform. It's hard to imagine MySQL disappearing anytime in the foreseeable future either, but Oracle's tight grip on this space is weakening.

Of course, the findings also bode predictably well for EnterpriseDB, which sells software and services related to PostgreSQL. But if the rest of the channel takes notice, it may find that niche heating up as well.