Speaker Interview: Ilya Kosmodemiansky

PostgreSQL worst practices   Wednesday 11:20   New York

Twitter: @the_hydrobiont Twitter: @dataegret LinkedIn: hydrobiont Facebook: hydrobiont Facebook: dataegret Company website: www.dataegret.com Company Blog: blog.dataegret.com

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I started as PostgreSQL DBA and consultant just over a decade ago and several years later founded our PostgreSQL consultancy - Data Egret, that focuses on servicing Postgres databases.

How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?

Since I’ve never been the best programmer and instead focused on operating and troubleshooting Postgres (and that’s two very different worlds, as you can imagine), I am now one of those “non-coding contributors” in the Postgres Community.

I share my experience on how to use Postgres with both users and developers giving talks and tutorials at Postgres events worldwide.

In addition, I am a part of organizing teams for events like PGDay Russia, PGConf.EU, FOSDEM PGDay and a co-chair of Frankfurt-am-Main PostgreSQL User Group as well as member of CoC (Code of Conduct) Committee.

Have you enjoyed previous pgconf.eu or FOSDEM conferences, either as attendee or as speaker?

I always try and attend both events. As a speaker, I really enjoy the audience, it somewhat overlaps, but the interaction you have is quite different. PGconf.EU is very community centric, and allows plenty of opportunities for networking among PostgreSQL peers who share their experience and brainstorm ideas that later may materialise as part of the mainstream code. At FOSDEM the audience is somewhat more versatile, so you might have questions from other database users who never touched Postgres, and they can really challenge you, since their perspective is very different from yours and I find that very exciting.

From attendee’s perspective, I must admit, that а true community conference is always much more than just talks. In addition to growing your technical knowledge, which is key in any conference, it is truly exciting to also be involved in the event preparations, meet new and old friends and really feel being a part of the larger PostgreSQL community. I think it’s not only makes your attendance more interesting, but it is also very important if you intend to incorporate Postgres in your business. It provides an opportunity to see people behind the code - something, which is very unique to this open source project.

What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

My talk is about PostgreSQL worse practices. Why worse, you may ask? Because “best practices” are plain boring and often are being ignored, I think, worst practices are way more exciting and, more importantly, we learn much more through our mistakes.

Over the years of working with Postgres, my colleagues and I have collected an impressive number of those practices and through my talk I would like to share a selection of these with wider audience. These are very typical mistakes that every DBA encounters sooner or later and often, when I give my talk on worst practices, many remark that they have indeed been making these mistakes for years - and that’s how listening to “worst practices” really helps to learn “best” ones.

What is the audience for your talk?

This is maybe one of the most open talks at the conference - anyone could come and take something useful away - even if your experience before this conference was about other databases, you would probably recognise some common problematics.

What existing knowledge should the attendee have?

I always like when someone in the audience scores pretty much every worst practice I talk about and finally adds something new to my collection, but it is not necessary. If you know what database is - you are ready to attend.

What is the one feature in PostgreSQL 11 which you like most?

C’mon I am a consultant, who earns money with Postgres, so SQL Stored Procedures with support of embedded transactions are obviously my favorite. If before we didn’t have a foot to shoot into, now we have that foot AND a loaded gun ;-) seriously, this feature will not only make consultants happy, it will make migration from commercial databases so much easier for many enterprises that are on the fence.

Also, I like how long-to-implement features such as Parallelism and Partitioning are slowly improving. Only people who did that know how difficult it is to implement such complex features in an open source project with such harsh release schedule.

How important, in your opinion, for PostgreSQL community to have local groups, meetups and events?

I think it is highly important to grow our community and each one of these groups brings a fresh perspective, knowledge and diversity of ideas that are an absolute must in any open source project and in Postgres particularly. These local activities spread the word about Postgres and encourage new users to try an open source database and join the community. They also open doors to newcomers who may feel isolated if they don’t have an opportunity to attend bigger conferences.

To attend a meetup you don’t need a budget, approval from your boss or taking time off work - they are very informal and allow you to interact with your peers and to feel as a part of larger community. Needless to say, that an ongoing contribution from these local DBA, Developers and Technical Managers it is what makes Postgres the world's most advanced open source database.

Which other talk at this year’s conference would you like to see?

I have quite a few organizational tasks during the conference, so unfortunately might not be able to attend a lot of talks. However, here is my list so far: