One of the most common questions our clients ask us is, “can we save money migrating to an open-source database like PostgreSQL or MongoDB?” The answer is simple: yes. Before we dive into the details, it’s important to note that “open source” does not mean free. While the licensing is free, most organizations will incur costs associated with migration, performance tuning, annual support, and other expenses. That being said, the overall cost of those services for open-source databases is significantly smaller than that of commercial platforms.

First, let’s look at the license pricing for a few of the big names in commercial databases: Oracle and SQL Server.

Basic Oracle Licensing Prices

Standard Edition-One $5,800 per unit (cores per socket)
Standard Edition$17,500 per unit (cores per socket)
Enterprise Edition$47,500 per unit (cores per socket)

Basic SQL Server Licensing Prices

Standard Edition Server Licensing$931 + $209 per Client Access License (CAL)
Standard Edition $3,717 (per core)
Enterprise Edition $14,256 (per core)

These are base prices that change depending on your organization’s data size, RAM requirements, I/O, and CPU. They also tend to offer support services and training in their pricing options. Still, you can always forego these if your business has the internal resources to handle performance tuning, maintenance, etc.

Pricing for Open-Source Databases

With the cost of these commercial database platforms in mind, let’s look at the licensing prices for two accessible open-source databases: MongoDB and PostgreSQL.

Basic MongoDB Licensing Prices

Community Edition$0
Enterprise Edition$3,000 (annual, per prod server)

Basic PostgreSQL Licensing Prices


Other open-source database platforms, like MariaDB and MySQL, also have free licensing and affordable upgraded editions, as shown below.

Basic MariaDB Licensing Prices


Basic MySQL Licensing Prices

MySQL Standard Edition $2,000 (annual, per core)
MySQL Enterprise Edition $5,000 (annual, per core)

Even at the most basic level, your business can be saving upwards of 13k+ on the acquisition and set-up alone. Again, overall fees depend on the number of processors you have, how many users you have, and the other variables mentioned above. Nonetheless, the upfront cost of an open-source database will always be significantly lower than that of commercial platforms like Oracle or SQL Server.

That being said, we have to consider the migration costs of going from a commercial platform to an open-source one. While the price tends to vary from vendor to vendor, the average cost is around $20,000 (based on the example given above), which again, will rise with the size of the database and business requirements. A company can also choose to maintain its support agreement with the initial platform throughout the migration process to guarantee support while the database is in transition.

Another concern that our customers voice is the cost of training when they start using a different platform. However, in our experience, there isn’t always a need for training, as open-source platforms — for example, PostgreSQL has similar functionality to Oracle, and many Oracle DBAs will quickly pick up on the intricacies of their new environment. There may be added costs due to time spent researching and self-study, but that doesn’t begin to compare with the cost of professional training.

Is Functionality Sacrificed?

After we show the pricing models to our clients, the final question becomes, “do we sacrifice functionality when migrating to an open-source platform?” More often than not, the answer is “no.”

Open-source platforms are fully capable of meeting the demands of enterprises, large or small. Not every company requires the elaborate features of commercial databases for their database-centered applications, which is why they’re such a cost-effective and viable option for so many organizations. If your company needs additional features offered by commercial databases for its applications, it might be better to stick with those platforms. If you don’t need those features, migrating to an open-source database is a perfectly feasible option for your business.

If migrating to an open-source database is something you’re planning — whether its PostgreSQL, MariaDB, MongoDB, or MySQL — reach out to us. We’ve handled hundreds of commercial to open-source migrations, maximizing savings without compromising functionality. We’re always here to help!

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