July 12, 2023

Liquibase Open Source vs. Pro: From process automation to database-led business innovation

Table of contents

Database teams in search of automated DevOps solutions can choose between Liquibase OSS (Open-Source, free) and Pro plans. Which plan makes sense for which teams? 

Reduce deployments from 1 week to 1 day

The problem is simple: Database change slows down software innovation, and that slows down your business’s path to growth. App releases can only happen as frequently as database releases allow. That should concern everyone – not just on the database and development teams, but the company’s top leadership (and not just the CTO/CIO/CDO).

In simple terms, OSS unlocks automation, while Pro goes beyond automation for teams seeking continuous improvement to process efficiency, security, agility, consistency, profitability, and database-led innovation.

Why data-driven organizations need database DevOps and Liquibase

Manual database change management is a drag on time, resources, and team morale – and it’s holding back your business’s potential. If your development cycles could run faster, your business could make more money.

The gridlock of manual database releases drops an anchor in your otherwise fast-moving software development cycle. Add in errors, breaches, and breakdowns that can cost you millions, and the case for automated database change management is obvious.

The database team’s homegrown solutions solve inefficiencies to an extent but tend to focus on specific tasks, not full-cycle efficiency or automation. Where would you rather these highly paid professionals spend their time: maintaining a collection of fixes or enacting holistic operational transformations that turn the database from an inhibitor to an accelerant?

If you want a more complete solution to database release automation, Liquibase is the ticket – but how do you choose between our light-but-mighty OSS (open source) version or the robust arsenal of features available in Pro?

Let’s talk about that.

Open Source database DevOps are the seeds of automation

Reduce DevOps delays by 94%

Achieving database release automation unleashes the speed, assurance, and innovation of DevOps for your databases, the ever-more-important foundation of your organization’s technology. With Liquibase OSS, your database teams can automate database schema management processes and achieve speed that keeps pace with app development.

When typical database teams spend more than 70% of their time on application schema management and even app developers spend up to 10% of their own time, the perks of automation are quick to materialize. Essential database release automation with Liquibase OSS gives teams the confidence and ability to deploy three to 10 times more frequently than without it.

That’s game-changing!

While OSS streamlines and automates, the formerly under-resourced database team can tackle more initiatives without increasing headcount. OSS, then, is great for teams that simply seek to catch up to the pace of application development. Managing database changes alongside a single application’s development, OSS speeds up and streamlines CI/CD so database change management is no longer a bottleneck.

And for single-database companies with compact database teams and data-adjacent organizations only looking to automate existing workflows for non-mission critical applications, Liquibase OSS may be the right solution. OSS can also extend past the use cases described above if teams have the resources to build, maintain, and manage a more complex implementation.

Database release automation with Liquibase OSS hits the mark if all you need is:

  • Version
  • Track
  • Deploy
  • Rollback
  • Community-sourced support

And once these capabilities are automating your workflows, you can ask your teams…

Is deployment automation enough?

Deployment automation is only part of database change management. On the other side of the coin is deployment quality.

Teams run the risk of debasing schema quality without automated compliance verification for code, security, and corporate standards. DBAs’ rigorous manual validations are in place for a reason – they shouldn’t be bypassed without an equally adequate automated solution.

And when an organization depends on numerous databases – tens, hundreds, even thousands – and develops multiple applications leveraging various databases at once, OSS is quickly outgrown.

What does that mean for the enterprise that’s data-centric or even data-dependent? Can they shift from being slowed down by the database to being driven by database-led innovations?

Liquibase Pro adds observability and governance alongside automation

Liquibase OSS automates some of the tedious manual steps of database change management. But for full process automation that prioritizes quality and integrity, Liquibase Pro is the best choice. Pro is for database teams striving for continuous operational innovation. It gives visibility (through structured logging) that uncovers insights for ongoing database change management optimizations that continually increase both process efficiency and the business value of your databases.

With Liquibase Pro’s advanced automation, observability, and governance your organization can go from being slowed down by database change management to being led and accelerated by process innovations.

Pro leverages the data created by automating and tracking database changes in the form of structured logs. These allow database teams to integrate with application performance monitoring and observability solutions. As a result, those tools can report more holistically on database operational outcomes in the context of the broader application ecosystem.

While OSS brings essential automation, Pro strives for excellence and innovation in database DevOps to give your teams:

  • An org-wide view of database metadata that unveils the status of every schema across every database and the who, what, where, when why of change events
  • Holistic database security by running all changes through Liquibase for better control and auditing with less administration
  • Massive labor efficiency improvements by packaging change source code so it can be re-deployed easily and consistently
  • Automatic build and test time quality checks
  • Centralized deployment storage and tracking
  • Integrations with the tools they already use to make them work even better
  • The ability to discover and correlate activities broadly

… and crucially, the metrics to assess performance and continually improve your database release cycle. With Pro, you can finally give two critical DevOps tenets – feedback and monitoring – the time and visibility they deserve.

Liquibase Pro safeguards integrity throughout automated processes

Database changes always carry a potential for risk and delay – or at least, they used to.

Cut failure rate by more than 90%

Liquibase Pro ensures the consistency, standardization, and quality assurance needed for end-to-end integrity.  Lines of business and entire revenues can hinge on the quality of data, how easy it is to work with, and how well it can be leveraged for innovation that drives profits. Data integrity needs protection as data moves through the pipeline.

Database security and compliance are top priorities with dedicated departments. Release consistency and governance aren’t just nice-to-haves, they represent the cohesion of various database types, hundreds of database targets, dozens of teams, and thousands of people – not to mention millions of customers – with even small errors posing significant risks.

Exceptional end-user experiences are stable, fast, and flexible, so your company needs agile databases that support innovation at the speed of modern application development. Not only can downtime cost millions of dollars, but just maintaining your org’s database operations will see you investing significant resources only to lag behind competitors.

The companies that set the pace of industry innovation are in fact innovating all the way through to their database release cycles. They find new, better, faster, and more exciting ways to use their data while keeping it safe from internal and external forces. They not only keep up with the ever-increasing frequency of database update events and requests but get ahead and set the pace.

That’s where Liquibase Pro hits the mark by upgrading OSS with agility, observability, consistency, security, and governance features like:

  • Targeted rollback
  • DB state comparison
  • Diff/drift detection and alerts
  • Quality checks (governance)
  • Flows (consistent, reusable best practice templates)
  • Operational insights
  • Award-winning support

With database DevOps implemented, the bottleneck of database release management opens up – unlocking maximum velocity software development.

Go beyond automation for insights and optimization that propel your business  


Operational excellence is the name of the game for Pro. It provides safety, validation, and consistency alongside the speed of automation. It also adds security and compliance visibility by feeding structured log data into your existing development dashboards.

The insights drawn from your database DevOps operational data can tell you numerous things about your change management process across stages, from development to production.

Here are just a few, backed up by real Liquibase customer results.

By releasing smaller incremental changes more frequently, the process becomes faster and more stable. Rather than pushing massive, risk-heavy changes, teams can update piece by piece for a more secure approach.

Pro frees up hours of DBAs’ time by replacing the manual QA process with automated checks. Removing duties from the QA provider and eliminating the waiting period between development and release, these automated checks vastly increase the possible frequency of database changes.

Standardization across teams adds to this speed, but also establishes critical consistency across every database management environment. No longer are different DBAs and database teams operating with slight – yet consequential – variations of similar scripts. They’re instead pulling from verified, packaged code Flows that run the same way time and time again.

DORA, the DevOps Research Assessment, rallies around four key metrics of DevOps performance. Likewise, Liquibase Pro focuses on velocity and stability through this same four-part framework.

Reliability improvements are a cumulative result. In fact, Google Cloud’s own research discovered:

“…elite performers who meet their reliability targets are 3.4 times more likely to exercise database change management compared to their low-performing counterparts.”

The pace of software development, agile methods, and manual processes make it difficult for database teams to manage change effectively. As reliance on data across databases and platforms increases, this challenge becomes even more significant. That is, unless your organization finds a solution that enables a consistent process, eliminates manual tasks, and provides ongoing observability and governance to database DevOps.  

The tools, efficiencies, safety nets, and guardrails of Liquibase Pro allow teams to achieve higher velocity by making faster, more effective changes without impacting integrity. After all, what good are light-speed database changes if they’re not accurate and reliable?

Don’t settle for database release automation today – strive for continuous database innovation that grows your business today, tomorrow, and through whatever comes next.

Check out the side-by-side feature comparison and get started with a demo or free trial. Or get the shareable PDF overview of OSS vs Pro to pass along to your team.

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