Met Office

Global Leader in Weather and Climate Science Chooses 2ndQuadrant for Postgresql Training & Support

The UK-based Met Office is a global leader in weather and climate science. A trusted advisor to both national and international clients, the organisation enjoys a worldwide reputation at the forefront of meteorology and associated services.

The Met Office is a significant consumer of IT, utilising some of the most powerful computing technology available. The diversity of both hardware and software in use is impressive.With a legacy of earlier years of development under the remit of a trading fund, the organisation is on a mission to deliver a quality service for all its stakeholders whilst pursuing a drive for efficiency and value for money.

As a centre of excellence, the Met Office has an autonomous remit to control its IT infrastructure, including making decisions about database technology. In 2012, under the leadership of James Tomkins, Data Services Portfolio Technical Lead, the Met Office began evaluating database management systems in use, with the goal of reducing costs and introducing flexibility in terms of platform development and special requirements.

PostgreSQL was identified as a potential alternative to Oracle DB, and so began an evaluation process for specific projects, with the search for a suitable support partner, who could provide guidance, training and support. A commercial partner who could provide the same level of support expected from a proprietary database vendor.

2ndQuadrant was assigned to initially provide advice and help the team make a balanced assessment of PostgreSQL. Following some initial meetings, 2ndQuadrant were then invited back to provide a series of onsite training courses, specifically tailored to the needs of the organisation. With several teams participating in the training, this was an opportunity for the Met Office to really challenge 2ndQuadrant on our knowledge of PostgreSQL, and the PostGIS extension. Under the leadership of 2ndQuadrant’s resident PostGIS expert, the course participants were suitably impressed with the training we provided.

Our experience of the training was really excellent. We were very impressed with the expertise from 2ndQuadrant experts. Everybody that went on the course commented it was really refreshing and enjoyable to have training delivered by people who are experts in the subject – not just someone who reads from a manual. With the training we had from 2ndQuadrant we could feel the weight of expertise that came with their experts and it was obvious they really knew their subject inside out. It was an enormous confidence building exercise and has been consistent with all of our interactions with 2ndQuadrant.

James Tomkins, Data Services Portfolio Technical Lead, Met Office

After rigorous testing, the evaluation process was completed in April 2014, with PostgreSQL being declared an approved product and recommended for all general purpose databases. The decision to select PostgreSQL was in the end straightforward. The maturity of back-up and recovery, high availability, replication and geospatial were all proven. It allowed them to have a database standard that’s available to both their scientists and collaborative community without the dependence on licence fees.

The Met Office’s commitment to PostgreSQL is now clear, with a programme to continue to evaluate and  database management systems, where appropriate, to PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL and Oracle DB are now both designated general use database technologies. However, the Met Office has an ICT strategy that, subject to value for money and compliance, favours open source software over proprietary software, so use of PostgreSQL is set to expand.

It is now the expectation to select PostgreSQL over Oracle for a range of use-cases, with PostgreSQL becoming our preferred technology choice.

James Tomkins, Data Services Portfolio Technical Lead, Met Office

Met Office is taking a sensible approach to transforming database technology and is not planning to make wholesale changes in one go. It will take a few more years before PostgreSQL is being used more that Oracle DB but James says that crossover point will happen. The Met Office has now subscribed to on the production instances of PostgreSQL, given them access to our expertise around the clock. With the continued support of 2ndQuadrant, the Met Office’s strategy on database technologies is a model for others to follow, fully embracing what open source and PostgreSQL has to offer this world class organisation.

When we were looking at candidate technologies, we needed to know there was an organisation that could offer commercial support, training and tooling…

James Tomkins, Data Services Portfolio Technical Lead, Met Office

2ndQuadrant Services Provided

  • Training
  • Consultancy

About 2ndQuadrant

2ndQuadrant provides PostgreSQL solutions for the Enterprise. Our support engineers have over 100 years of combined code contributions to the PostgreSQL project, making us the only company to contribute enterprise features to all of the last 13 releases. This is paired with 17+ years of hands-on experience through client engagements and allows us to integrate customized solutions with our customers – making 2ndQuadrant the Gold Standard for PostgreSQL products & services.