Joshua D. Drake Blog Posts



Why did you attend PgConf US?


Our company is exploring the use of PostgreSQL as an additional DBMS choice to support Vertex Enterprise, our tax technology platform. Attending the conference offered me an opportunity to immerse myself into a variety of topics around PostgreSQL, as well as the chance to interact with other users to tap into their experiences.


Tell us a little bit about your project or how you use PostgreSQL:


Vertex Enterprise is a global tax management end-to-end solution that integrates all tax processes with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and business intelligence (BI) systems on a single platform using a tax performance engine. The solution is a blend of technologies that surround a Java based processing and calculation engine. This includes rich UI's, import, export, business intelligence / reporting, and big data integration. The foundation of our database leverages a multi-dimensional database structure, as well as other structures whose design varies based upon the needs of a particular function so that we can optimize performance. (ie. import/export/reporting).

The official brochure provides a high level overview of the capabilities and interfaces that our DBMS must support.


Why did you chose PostgreSQL for your project?


PostgreSQL checks many of the boxes that we are looking for in our consideration of an additional DBMS option.


Some of these include:


* Performance
* Lower cost
* Multi-tenancy support
* Suitable for deployment on premise, in a hosted environment, and in the cloud
* Industry acceptance
* Ease of administration on locally administered instances
* Features characteristic of an enterprise strength database (auditing, partitioning, replication, procedural language support)


This was your first PGConf US, was it a last minute decision? Do you think it was worth it? If so, why?


The conference was on our radar since the beginning of the year, and it exceeded expectations. Listening to and interacting with actual contributors to the product is not something you have the opportunity to do at many conferences. The sessions covered a variety of topics around PostgreSQL that were of interest (performance, tuning, feature discussion, lessons learned, cloud deployment options, optimization, etc).


Would you attend PgConf US again?


Yes, definitely.


Are you interested in contributing to the community and if so, in what fashion?


My "day job" keeps me pretty busy, but as far as sharing our experience with PostgreSQL, I am willing to contribute in that way :) .
Joshua D. Drake     April 10, 2017

Join the fantastic and growing Postgres community in Cape Town, South Africa for a single day event on October 3rd, 2017! The event is being hosted by fellow Postgres advocates who travel from South Africa each year to attend our National Event in order to increase their knowledge of Postgres and be a part of the community. This year they are joining us and making a commitment to build out our International community and conferences!

This single day event takes place at the same venue as PyCon South Africa and is scheduled the day before PyCon to ensure the greatest possible value in attending.

Image result for PGConf US

Local events are designed to bring comprehensive educational content and networking opportunities to the "local" Postgres community where the event is being held. They are perfect opportunities to show support for Postgres, find leads, and build relationships with other professionals and companies using and supporting Postgres.

Joshua D. Drake     August 15, 2017



Join the PostgreSQL community in Philadelphia on July 13th and 14th 2017 for two days of fantastic PostgreSQL content. July 13th will contain trainings and July 14th will be breakout sessions. The call for papers and sponsors is also open! When submitting papers to PGConf US events, please review the presentation guidelines.

Image result for PGConf US


PGConf US Local events are designed to bring comprehensive educational content and networking opportunities to the "local" PostgreSQL community where the event is being held. They are perfect opportunities to show support for PostgreSQL, find leads and build relationships with other professionals and companies using and support PostgreSQL.











d at Huntsman Hall at The Wharton School

Joshua D. Drake     May 08, 2017



PostgresConf ran its first Silicon Valley conference on October 15th and 16th in conjunction with Silicon Valley Postgres. The two day conference was considered a “local” or development conference where our focus was introducing the PostgresConf experience to new attendees and partners with world class content. We believe we succeeded in that.

We brought new friends to the community with the addition of Yugabyte, Scalegrid, and AgensGraph. We also had old friends return with Pivotal, AWS, Microsoft, 2ndQuadrant, Timescale, Compose, and Nutanix.

This is the first conference we have organized where the attendance went up during the conference. All community conferences know the stress of waiting for people to register. We all register at the last possible moment but for attendance to increase as the conference is running was new for us. It added a new level of legitimacy to our purpose of:

The conference had 139 attendees and as the goal was 100-150, we are quite pleased with the turn out. We will be returning in 2019 and we look forward to continuing to build the Silicon Valley Community.

Thank you to the attendees, supporters, and organizers for helping pull off yet another amazing event!
Joshua D. Drake     October 23, 2018

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM @ fibercove
1700 S Lamar Blvd, Suite 338, Austin, TX

Join us for a special presentation with PostgreSQL experts who will be in town for DataLayer 2017.

Food and refreshments will be provided, so please be sure to RSVP.

Thank you to OpenSCG for sponsoring our food and soft drinks, and fibercove for hosting us! Beer sponsor TBA.
  • The event starts at: 6 pm 
  • Networking and food/drink : 6:15 pm 
  • Announcements and updates: 6:30 pm   
Presentations:
• "Softlayer vs RDS/AWS: A price to performance perspective" - Joshua D. Drake, Command Prompt, Inc.

• "PostgreSQL on Debian and apt.postgresql.org" - Dr. Michael Meskes, CEO of credativ (http://www.credativ.com/)

• "Top 10 Mistakes When Migrating From Oracle to PostgreSQL" -- Jim Mlodgenski, CTO of OpenSCG
 
About our Speakers: 

Joshua D. Drake of Command Prompt, Inc. (https://www.commandprompt.com/), is a PostgreSQL Consultant who has consulted on PostgreSQL since Postgres95. Throughout his PostgreSQL career he has performed a variety of functions within the community including releasing an O'Reilly book on PostgreSQL, as well as being part of the sysadmins and advocacy teams He ran a biannual conference series dedicated to PostgreSQL from 2007 - 2011. He is a former Director for SPI (the non-profit for PostgreSQL.org). Drake is also a Founder of United States PostgreSQL, as well as a co-organizer and Chair of PGConf US.

Dr. Michael Meskes is President and CEO of the credativ Group, an industry leader in free software services with offices in five countries. Its Open Source Support Centers employ leading members of a number of Open-Source projects. He has been Open-Source developer for twenty years working on different Open-Source projects among which Debian and PostgreSQL are most widely known. He also has done a lot of Open-Source related presentations on all sorts of events doing a lot of Open-Source evangelism.

Jim Mlodgenski is CTO of OpenSCG, a leading enterprise open source services company, with a central focus on PostgreSQL. He has been part of the PostgreSQL community for over a decade, as an architect and sales engineer. He is a Director for the U.S. PostgreSQL Association, as well as an organizer of the Philly PostgreSQL User Group and a Co-organizer of the NYC PostgreSQL User Group. He Is also a co-organizer of PGConf US, the largest PostgreSQL conference in the U.S.
Joshua D. Drake     May 11, 2017

On occasion, professional developers will drop into the Postgresql.org mailing lists, meetups, and conferences to ask the question, “Why isn’t PostgreSQL development on Github?” In an effort to see if the demand was really there and not just anecdotal we ran a poll/survey over several social media platforms that asked a simple question:

 

Should PostgreSQL development move to Github?

    • Yes
    • No
    • No, but to something like Gitlab would be good

 

We received well over 300 responses and the majority (75%+) chose a move to Github or to something like Github. This was an unscientific poll but it does point out a few interesting topics for consideration:

 

  1. We need to recognize that the current contribution model does work for existing contributors. We need to have an honest discussion about what that means for the project as contributors age, change employment, and mature in their skill set, etc..
  2. Of the people that argued in comments against the move to a service, only one is a current contributor to PostgreSQL.org core code. The rest were former code contributors or those who contribute in other ways (Advocacy, System administration, etc.).
  3. Would a move to Github or similar option produce a higher rate of contribution?

 

This poll does not answer point #3; it only provides a data point that people may desire a modern collaboration platform. The key takeaway from the conversation about migrating to Github or similar service is the future generation of developers use technology such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. They expect a bug/issue tracker. They demand simplicity in collaboration and most importantly they will run a cost->benefit analysis to determine if the effort to contribute is a net positive.

 

It should also be considered that this is not just individual potential contributors. There are many corporations big and small that rely on the success of PostgreSQL. Those corporations will not contribute as much directly to PostgreSQL if the cost to benefit analysis is a net negative. They will instead contribute through other more productive means that produce a net positive when the cost->benefit analysis is run. A good example of this analysis is the proliferation of external projects such as pg_auto_failover, patroni and lack of direct contribution from innovative extension based companies.

Do we need a culture shift within PostgreSQL?

There are those within the Postgresql.org community that would suggest that we do not need a culture shift within PostgreSQL but that does not take into account the very clear market dynamics that are driving the growth of PostgreSQL, Postgres, and the global ecosystem. It is true that 20 years of hard work by Postgresql.org started the growth and it is also true that the majority of growth in the ecosystem and community is from products such as Greenplum, Aurora, Azure, and Timescale. The growth in the ecosystem is from the professional community and that ecosystem will always perform a cost to benefit analysis before contributing.

 

It is not that we should create radical rifts or disrupt our culture. It is to say that we must evolve and shift our community thinking. We need to be able to consider the big picture. A discussion should never start as an opposition to change. The idea of change should be an open discussion about possibility and vision. It should always include whether the change is a good idea and it should always avoid visceral reactions of, "works for me,” “no,” or “we tried that 15 years ago." Those reactions are immature and lacking in the very thing the community needs to continue to grow: positivity, inclusion, vision, and inspiration.

Joshua D. Drake     May 13, 2019

Community,


The Chairs of PGConf US have rescheduled the Seattle and Austin Local events. After much deliberation we believe moving the events to a weekday format later in the year will offer a better opportunity for those who wish to attend.

New dates:
  • Seattle: November 13th and 14th, 2017
  • Austin: December 4th and 5th, 2017
The CFP for Seattle is closed but Austin is still open!

People, Postgres, Data

Joshua D. Drake     August 08, 2017

PostgresConf Beijing 2019

Join our Mailing List | Attend one of our events |

Last week was PostgresConf Beijing 2019. This event was an exercise in people understanding what it truly takes to run a conference. It was a standalone event unlike PostgresOpen China in 2018 which always takes a lot more work. We had generous sponsor support with the likes of Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, IBM, Pivotal, Inspur, HighGo, Credativ, and Command Prompt.

The overarching theme of the conference was of course People, Postgres, Data and we had many (translated) conversations about how Postgres can be the center of your Data Universe and how the ecosystem thrives with not only PostgreSQL but also technology such as TimescaleDB and Yugabyte. All of which are Open Source and enable People to use Postgres to manage their Data. In 2020, the plan is to have PostgresConf China in October or November. The timing will allow for a more moderate climate as well as have more time to generate international content.

English As A Second Language

As we continue to work with English-as-a-second-language communities we continue to find opportunities for them to grow and contribute. Of course the most common (and possibly difficult) opportunity is that in order to contribute code to PostgreSQL.Org, you must speak English. This is not an unreasonable requirement as English is the language of Computer Science.

A common piece of feedback we received was not that English was the consideration but the “level” of English proficiency was high. Unfortunately, verbosity is not always productive and it is certainly counterproductive when the vocabulary doesn’t take into account the non-native speaker. It would be a boost to productivity if we as a community tried to be succinct and as uncomplicated as reasonable in our communication. To put this another way and from a far more qualified source than us:

“Don't use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”

-- Mark Twain

Contribution Opportunities

While encouraging the Chinese community to contribute we continued to look for the low barrier of entry tasks. The obvious opportunity is translation of various project documentation. That is not the only prospect as PostgreSQL has fantastic extensibility and suggestions of developing new extensions. Contributing directly to PostgreSQL code has a high barrier of entry between English as a second language and overall overhead in building comprehensive knowledge of the core code. Extensions in contrast generally require needing to understand narrow areas of code to build a feature that is user-need specific. We are still exploring these opportunities but one option would be to invite extension authors to work with regional communities for translation or feature work.

Software You Weren’t Aware Of

Oleg from PostgresPro and PGConf.Russia was present and we were able to have some great conversations about the work they are doing, most of which can be found on Github. Although there is a lot of great software in that repository, the one that grabbed my eye as immediately useful was Zson. Zson is an extension that allows native compression of JSON/JSONB documents, greatly reducing disk space usage and increasing query speed of documents.

Please Replace IRC and Slack

Further conversations were had on how we can build a modern collaboration community that is internationally inviting, supports all languages, and is built on Open Source technologies. Initially it seems that Mattermost is a good contender but after further research it seems that we should also consider Matrix.org. The idea has barriers as the Chinese are partial to WeChat and the Professional U.S. community has left IRC for Slack, whereas other communities such as Brazil and Russia have settled on Telegram. We have a community member based working group determining next steps.

You may say that I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one

-- John Lennon

Looking Forward

As People, Postgres, Data and PostgresConf continues to move forward we are looking forward to building on existing initiatives and events. We have PostgresConf Philly next week, PostgresConf Silicon Valley in September, and our next International event in October with PostgresConf South Africa. We are also continuing to work on our Inclusivity, Equit,y and Diversity initiative and launching Digital Events! This doesn’t include the growing number of meetups joining the idea of People, Postgres, Data including NYC Postgres, Silicon Valley Postgres, Philly Postgres, Seattle Postgres, and Montreal Postgres!

Quote of the week

“Those pig ears are really good.” -- Michael Meskes, Credativ and Postgresql.org committer.

Joshua D. Drake     July 11, 2019     #postgres #postgresconf

 

Image result for seattle hd wallpaper


It is with great pleasure that we announce the final program for PGConf Local: Seattle. The schedule is still being hammered out but we have finalized the content that will be presented. Please join us in celebrating Postgres in Seattle!

 
The conference is the first Postgres event to be held in Seattle since 2009 and we have received a lot of positive feedback from the local Postgres and Data communities. Clearly Postgres has been missed in the Emerald City!
 
Training Options:
Breakout Sessions:

Track: Ops

  • Develop intelligent apps on the Azure platform using the Azure Database for PostgreSQL by Sunil Kamath
  • Tuning PostgreSQL for High Write Workloads by Grant McAlister
  • POSTGRESQL V10: AN AMPLIFIED VERSION OF POSTGRES by Joshua D. Drake
  • Enterprise Data Architecture with PostgreSQL by Kevin Kempter
  • All the dirt on Vacuum by Jim Nasby
  • Building a scalable time-series database on PostgreSQL by Matvey Arye

Track: Dev

  • Semantic Search Web System on PostgreSQL by QUAN-HA LE
  • Increase Application Performance with SQL Auto-Caching; No Code Changes by Roland Lee
  • Introduction to JavaScript Stored Procedures by Jim Mlodgenski
  • Under the hood: API integrations and more in an energy efficiency PostgreSQL + Django application by Jennifer Scheuerell
  • Using GIS in PostgreSQL by Lloyd Albin

Tracks: Big Data, Data Science and AWS/Cloud

  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility by Michael Sacks
  • Data Quality Expert Is Not Harvard's Sexiest Job...But... by Ben Rogojan
  • GRAKN.AI: the hyper-relational database for knowledge-oriented systems by Haikal Pribadi
  • Best Practices with Managed PostgreSQL in the Cloud by Jignesh Shah
PGConf Local: Seattle is made possible by the wonderful team of volunteers including the Seattle Postgres User Group and our sponsors:
 
 
Diamond2
 
Platinum: Compose.IO, OpenSCG, 2ndQuadrant, and Microsoft
Joshua D. Drake     October 19, 2017

With more than 200 events submitted and approximately 80 slots to be filled, this has been the most difficult schedule to arrange in the history of PostgresConf. By far, the majority of content received we wanted to include in the schedule. It is that level of community support that we work so hard to achieve and we are thankful to the community for supporting PostgresConf. There is no doubt that the number one hurdle the community must overcome is effective access to education on Postgres. The US 2018 event achieves this with two full days of training and three full days of breakout sessions, including the Regulated Industry Summit and Greenplum Summit.


For your enjoyment and education here is our almost granite schedule!

See something you like? Then it is time to buy those tickets!

This event would not be possible without the continued support from the community and our ecosystem partners:

Joshua D. Drake     February 22, 2018