Mainstream software development is undergoing a radical shift. Driven by the agile development needs of web, social, and mobile apps, developers are increasingly deploying to platforms-as-a-service (PaaS). A key enabling technology of PaaS is cloud-services: software, often open-source, that is consumed as a service and operated by a third-party vendor. This shift has profound implications for the open-source world. It enables new business models, increases emphasis on user-experience, and creates new opportunities.
PostgreSQL is an excellent case study in this shift. The PostgreSQL project has long offered one of the most reliable open source databases, but has received less attention than competing technologies. But in the PaaS and cloud-services world, reliability and open-ness become increasingly important. As such, we are seeing the beginning of a shift in adoption towards PostgreSQL.
The datastore landscape is particularly interesting because of the recent attention given to the so-called NoSQL technologies. Data is suddenly sexy again. This attention is largely governed by the same forces driving developers to PaaS, namely the need for agility and scalability in building modern apps. Far from being a threat to PostgreSQL, these technologies present an amazing opportunity for showing the way towards making PostgreSQL more powerful and more widely adopted.