One of the top community needs surfaced at the 2018 Technical Town Hall (held at the 2018 Ed-Fi Summit and Boot Camp) was the need for more database options — and specifically open source options — for the ED-Fi ODS/API and Ed-Fi technology stack.

To drill down on these needs, the Alliance assembled a Special Interest Group (SIG) on “Open Source Databases and Database Diversity” to convene community thought leaders on this topic and determine the best options for the Ed-Fi technology roadmap. The SIG met twice in November, and the conversations helped to crystallize community needs and begin to prioritize roadmap options.

However, the SIG also felt that more information on community readiness for more database options would be prudent prior to formulating its final recommendations. Accordingly, the SIG has produced a SHORT survey asking for input from the Ed-Fi Community on a few key questions. You can complete the survey here. We would love your help and feedback!

So, what conclusions has the SIG reached so far? A few key points are:

  • The main issue faced by the community is high licensing costs for database deployments, especially cloud deployments where current organizational database licensing may not apply.
  • The SIG also noted more general community desire for choice of database platform and portability of solutions, which can be hampered by licensing. Some members also cited open source software as generally positive for the community.
  • There was a discussion of support for NoSQL/document-store/unstructured database engines, and while SIG members saw potential uses for these, SIG members broadly agreed that this support was not a significant block for community growth and maturity at present (cost is the main concern).
  • The group identified PostgreSQL and MariaDB (open source MySQL) as the most likely candidates to be added as options into the ODS/API stack.

All notes from the SIG meetings are here (Ed-Fi SSO login required). Also, the report-out from the 2018 Technical Town Hall can be viewed here.

A big thanks to all SIG members who have given their time to this important topic, and thank you for your input.