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It’s always been the case that so-called NoSQL databases like MongoDB are very popular in the cloud. That’s not surprising, given that much of today’s cloud data doesn’t neatly fit into the rows and columns of relational databases. What is perhaps a bit more surprising is how developers complement MongoDB for their cloud workloads. As revealed in a new Studio 3T survey of more than 18,000 developers and others, NoSQL databases are moving to the cloud faster than SQL databases, but when developers pair MongoDB with a relational database, it’s usually PostgreSQL. Yes, that PostgreSQL.

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Non-relational data in the cloud

To be clear, there’s data of all kinds living in the cloud, but non-relational databases (“NoSQL”) have been particularly popular, with MongoDB foremost among them. Andrew Davidson, VP of Cloud Products at MongoDB, pointed out why in the survey report: “The biggest driver behind distributed databases like MongoDB is that they are better suited to the fundamental scale-out/distributed nature of the cloud–and as companies move, they are using this as the opportunity to totally migrate away from systems designed for scale-up, precloud era.”

Well, yes and no.

Yes, when survey respondents were asked which databases they tend to run alongside MongoDB, non-relational peers like Redis were a popular option (Figure A).

Figure A

Image: Studio 3T

But so, too, were relational databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL, both open source. Far less popular were proprietary non-relational databases (Figure B).

Figure B

Image: Studio 3T

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That rise in PostgreSQL deployments shows up in the DB-Engines popularity rankings as well. PostgreSQL has been having a moment that has lasted for a long time. Enterprises tend to be conservative in changing their databases, so PostgreSQL (and MongoDB, as well as other non-relational databases) are going to need to have a moment for many years to come to supplant Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft SQL Server. Based on these trends, would you bet against that happening?

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but the views expressed herein are mine.