2021 State of Postgres survey results

2021 State of Postgres survey results

The state of Postgres is strong. It’s the one of the most popular and loved databases in the world, even after 30+ years of development. But, there are many aspects of the Postgres community that can be improved. We wanted to hear from developers so that we (and hopefully others too) could get a better understanding of how to help the Postgres community continue to grow.

Earlier this year, we launched our second State of Postgres survey. Nearly 450 developers replied, giving us a good sample from which to glean several insights. We wanted to understand the different types of developers that use Postgres today, the kinds of use cases they’re tackling, the places they go to share and learn, and the opportunities for improvement in the Postgres community overall.

At Timescale, we’re always looking for ways to contribute to the Postgres community. We employ full-time contributors to Postgres (and are hiring more), we sponsor Postgres events and meetups, we speak and share our insights at Postgres events, and we’ve developed handy resources like the Postgres Cheat Sheet.

We’re active members of the Postgres community, and thus appreciate how expansive, vibrant, and supportive it is. The “State of Postgres” is an opportunity to support our qualitative understanding of the Postgres community with quantitative data. This was our second State of Postgres survey (read the findings from the first survey).

👉 Read on for our key findings – and be sure to check out the full report for more insights, detailed question responses, anonymized source data, and how to get notified about next year's survey.

Key findings

How do you refer to Postgres?

While the GIF/Jif debate rages on, it seems the debate between “Postgres” and “PostgreSQL” has a clear winner:

How do you refer to Postgres? Postgres 65.2%, PostgreSQL 21.6%, No preference 7.2%, PG 5.4%, Other .7%
View the poll from the @Timescale Twitter here.

Compared to one year ago, is Postgres being used more or less in your organization?

The past year has been one of turmoil and tragedy, but in parallel we’ve seen a rapid adoption of open-source technology in almost every industry. Even the traditional laggards have embraced a modern tech stack. Postgres is part of that story, and 43% of developers who use Postgres at work report using it about the same amount, while 52% reported using it more - or a lot more - than this time last year. That’s a great story for one of the most venerable database products ever.

52% reported using Postgres more or a lot more. 43% reported using Postgres about the same amount. 5% reported using Postgres less or a lot less.

How long have you been using Postgres?

The increase in Postgres usage is particularly striking when viewed alongside the percentage of developers who are new to Postgres. It’s no secret that Postgres is one of the most popular and loved databases in the world, and our survey results corroborate that assertion.

Stacked bar graph. Less than 1 year 6.1%. 1-2 years 12.4%. 3-5 years 31%. 6-10 years 25.6%. 11-15 years 10.8%. 15+ years 14.2%.

What is the main reason you chose to use Postgres over other options?

As we’ve mentioned, Postgres is continuing to grow and attract new developers. But, we wanted to understand why developers are choosing Postgres over the alternatives. It shouldn’t surprise us that the top two reasons are reliability and SQL, two of the biggest reasons why we chose Postgres on which to build TimescaleDB.

Reliability 20.4%. SQL 16.4%. License 13.7%. Ecosystem 13.5%. Usability 13.3%. Performance 10.8%. Community 6.3%. Other 5.6%.

How do you deploy Postgres?

The ways developers deploy Postgres are as diverse as the community's experience, geographical locations, and job titles, although self-managed deployments (on-site, private data center, public cloud) seem to be most common.

Self-managed on site 36.4%. Self-managed private data center 35.3%. Self-managed Postgres on public cloud 32.8%. AWS RDS 29.9%. Heroku Postgres 8.1%. Google Cloud PostgreSQL 7.0%. Azure Postgres 6.5%. Timescale Cloud or Timescale Forge 4.7%. Postgres on Aiven.io 1.6%. ElephantSQL .9%. CrunchyBridge .7%.

What cloud provider(s) do you use?

The growth of the cloud is no secret, and the same is true within the Postgres community. About 75% use a cloud provider - or multiple - in some capacity, with nearly half (46%) on AWS. What was a little surprising to us is how Digital Ocean edged out Azure for the #3 cloud provider slot.

AWS 461.%. I don't use a cloud provider 25.4%. GCP 17.1%. Digital Ocean 16.9%. Azure 14.8%. VMWare 3.8%. Oracle Cloud 1.8%. Alibaba Cloud 1.1%. IBM Cloud .2%. Other 7.9%.

Opportunities

Even the most venerated communities can stand to improve. Indeed, we’ve seen throughout history that communities that elect not to improve eventually lose touch with their constituency and whither away. We are big believers in Postgres, and we are committed to its success.

What is the best thing about the Postgres community, or what do you like the most?

Documentation quality, community helpfulness and commitment to open-source, and volume of available resources were common themes.

6 respondent quotes

What is the most challenging thing about the Postgres community, or what do you like the least?

Of course, there are some parts of the community that could be improved. In particular, respondents highlighted the code contribution and development process, as well as a possible fragmentation in the community.

4 respondent quotes

What would make the Postgres community better, or more welcoming to newcomers?

Respondents shared many concrete, constructive suggestions, some of which we have shared below. At Timescale, we are committed to building a more welcoming and inclusive industry. We hire team members who display attributes of kindness and cooperation, and we take our role as stewards of communities seriously. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we aim to help the Postgres community achieve these same goals.

4 respondent quotes

See you soon

Timescale is a remote-first company, but even so, we love getting together as a team in-person. The past year has been challenging, but as eternal optimists, we’re looking ahead to a future where we can meet and share our experiences face-to-face.

In the meantime, we wanted to understand which virtual events Postgres developers would recommend their friends and colleagues attend?

Word cloud: PGConf, FOSDEM, PostGIS Day, Postgres Vision, PG Switzerland, Postgres.tv, PG London Day, foss4g, ru postgres, highload++, exlixir Brazil, percona

We encourage you to read the full results of the State of Postgres 2021 and download the data yourself. Our goal is to further dialogue and understanding within the Postgres community.

Let us know what you think on Twitter (#StateOfPostgres) or on our Slack Community.

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