Wednesday 24 November 2010

Just 2 days left to register for PGDay.EU 2010

Yup, you heard correctly - there are just two (and a bit) days left to register for the annual European PostgreSQL Conference, pgDay.EU 2010, being held in Stuttgart on December 6th and 7th, with a day of training sessions on the 8th.

With over 40 talks in a mix of English and German, this is an event not to be missed if you're a PostgreSQL user, developer, hobbyist, or are considering a deployment. There are a wide range of topics including talks on GIS, interoperability and migration, high availability and monitoring, business around PostgreSQL and case studies, as well as more academic topics.

On day three we have a number of training courses available, including a two part course on PostGIS, presented by one of the leading developers, Mark Cave-Ayland from Sirius, deployment of applications in the Cloud with Servoy presented by Robert Ivens from Roclasi, and a two part PostgreSQL administration course (in German) given by Andreas Scherbaum for EnterpriseDB.

Finally, as attendees from previous PGDay's will have come to expect, EnterpriseDB will be hosting a party for everyone on Monday night - definitely not one to miss!

So, talk to the boss, fill out those pesky travel requisition forms, and head on over to the registration page!

Saturday 6 November 2010

PGWest: Day 3

PGWest; the final day. It started (for me at least) with Greg Smith giving another excellent talk on scaling PostgreSQL with Hot Standby. This was followed by Robert Hodges and Linas Virbalas talking about replication of data from MySQL to PostgreSQL using Continuent Tungsten.

The highlight/lowlight of the day - depending on your viewpoint - was Rob Wultsch's talk on MySQL. Rob primarily looked at some of the things MySQL does better than PostgreSQL, and also talked about the forks (or lack of them, if you discount patchsets - which I personally, do not) and the FUD. Now lets be honest here - Rob did make some perfectly valid points about MySQL; for example, the fact that it's replication is easy to setup. Now to take this example, I would argue that PostgreSQL isn't that hard to get going either - Robert Haas' tutorial illustrates that nicely - but MySQL is arguably better at the moment. For most of the points he raised, there are easy counter-arguments that can be made by PostgreSQL, as shown by JD who made a number of us cringe a little with an impromptu rebuttal session afterwards.

In my view, this whole session was doomed to failure. It's fine to point out some of the things that PostgreSQL can learn from MySQL, but the session as given glossed over everything that PostgreSQL can do but MySQL cannot - which, to someone unfamiliar with PostgreSQL could give an incorrect impression. For the end user who is selecting a database, it is important not to choose a product based on whether some features are better implemented in one database or another, but to choose based on the quality of the products, the reliability of them, and the availability of the features you actually need.

On reflection, I think the only way we can tackle this sort of comparison fairly in a talk session, is to have a proper, moderated debate between a PostgreSQL expert, and a MySQL expect. Who knows, maybe we can do that for PG East or PG Europe 2011.

Regardless of that - kudos to Rob for having the bottle to stand up and talk about MySQL in front of a room of PostgreSQL users. It was never going to be an easy crowd.

After lunch, I did a little work for a while, and then toddled off to Rob Treat's presentation on PostgreSQL 9.0: The other stuff. We joked the night before that no-one knew what The stuff was, never mind The other stuff, but I guess once he knuckled down to his slides, he realised it meant Hot Standby and Streaming Replication. The talk was pretty good in the end, though it did remind me a little of my talk in Brussels earlier this year, which could have been entitled PostgreSQL 9.0: The stuff, and the other stuff!

And that's where the conference ended for me, as we took the opportunity to hold an EnterpriseDB meeting whilst a we were in the same city. All in all, an excellent show, with a great turnout - and to top it off, The Register took notice of us with two different stories - which somehow makes it feel all worthwhile.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Booked for PGDay.EU 2010 yet?

If you're planning on attending this year's European PostgreSQL conference (increasingly inaccurately known as PGDay!), then you might want to think about registering and booking your travel and accommodation now. It's just over a month until the conference, and isn't uncommon for the price of flights and trains to start to rise as the date gets nearer.

We have 42 sessions this year, with a wide variety of PostgreSQL talks in English and German, followed by a day of training sessions, covering PostgreSQL Administration, PostGIS, Hot Standby and using Servoy with PostgreSQL. Places on the training sessions are limited, and available on a first come, first served basis at a (relatively small) extra cost.

We have two guest keynote speakers: Simon Phipps is giving the opening keynote, and will be giving a talk entitled "Back To The Future of Open Source", looking issues around corporate involvement in Open Source projects, and what that means for the PostgreSQL community and contributors. Simon has been involved in many Open Source projects over the years, and was most recently known for his role at Sun Microsystems as Chief Open Source Officer.

The second, closing keynote will be given by Ed Boyajian, President and CEO of EnterpriseDB. Ed will be talking on "PostgreSQL's time to shine", and looking at how we as users and contributors to PostgreSQL have the opportunity to turn the $26B per year database industry on it's head.

This year's event will be held at the luxurious Millenium Hotel in Stuttgart, Germany, with the conference sessions on the 6th and 7th December, and training on the 8th December. We have a discount group rate for hotel bookings that includes internet access and breakfast.

Registration for the conference days and the training can be made online. We encourage you to register as early as possible to help us plan the event more effectively.

For more information on the conference, please visit the website.

PGWest: Day 1 and 2

So my blogging of PGWest was a FAIL on the first day, as I never got around to following up my Day 0 post with anything, so with apologies, here's a quick roundup of day 1 and day 2.

Day 1 

Started with breakfast with Magnus, Devrim and Guillaume before heading up to register on the mezzanine. The first half of the day was a number of three hour tutorials which were on some interesting topics, but none which particularly interested me, so I spent the time catching up with a number of colleagues who I haven't seen in a few months.

After lunch, my talk on "Securing your web application" was one of the first 'normal' talks to be given. It was intended as a wide but shallow look at some of the security issues to consider when building a web app - a completely new talk which unfortunately didn't work as well as I'd hoped and needs some tweaking should I give it again; trimming the length a little, and focusing a little more on the database end of the stack. Still, I think it covered most of the important points for new developers to consider.

After my talk, I spent more time with colleagues, including $BOSS who had arrived. I completely failed to see any more talks unfortunately.

In the evening, we had a quick drink (thanks SFPUG!) before heading off for dinner at an Irish pub, and then to the Starlight Room at the top of the hotel for a couple of drinks and dessert, coupled with lots of discussion on covering indexes (aka index-only scans), managing community workload and more.

Day 2

Day 2 started with JD herding a handful of us together at breakfast to go and give Josh Berkus some encouragement in his talk on the PostgreSQL Community. An excellent talk for the newcomers in the room, though a little wasted on those of us who have been around the community for 10+ years.

Highlight of the day was Scott McNealy's keynote, introduced by Ed Boyajian ($BIG_BOSS at EnterpriseDB). In case you've been living under a rock, you'll doubtless know that Scott was the founder and boss of Sun Microsystems until the Oracle takeover. The talk style was a little deadpan, but with a good stream of jokes that went down well with the audience. Interesting to hear Scott note that he was considered a good capitalist, whilst Larry Ellison is a great capitalist (who doesn't like to share)!

Scott's talk was followed up with JD's introduction to the conference (yeah, halfway through the schedule - really Josh?), and then lunch. After a quick EnterpriseDB training meeting, I caught Jimbo's talk on GridSQL, Magnus' on database driven cache invalidation with Varnish (which we'll be using with the new PostgreSQL website backend, so I figured I should learn how it works), and then finally Bruce's new talk, MVCC Unmasked. Pretty complex for the newbie I suspect, but a very well presented topic.

And on that note it's just about time to go back up to the Starlight Room, where the EnterpriseDB party is about to kick off with an open bar. I'll try not to get too hungover so I can write about day 3 tomorrow....

Tuesday 2 November 2010

PGWest: Day 0...

... or day 1, depending on how you look at it. Anyway, mostly yesterday, the day before the conference starts. Which is today. Obviously. $DEITY I hate jetlag-induced early mornings, especially when coupled with reminders for meetings on the East coast that go "ping" right as I'm finally drifting off to sleep again at 6AM.

Anyway, enough about that. The flight from LHR to SFO was mostly uneventful, barring an APU failure which meant the HVAC was barely working until we took off. It got a little hot, but otherwise everything was good, and being completely cut off from email, twitter and IM for nearly 11 hours meant that I managed to get a bunch of work done that's been piling up for ages and watch the A-Team.

Immigration at SFO was remarkably fast (I've only seen similar speeds in the past in Boston), which gave me plenty of time to queue up with a bunch of other passengers for over 10 minutes before a single cab showed up. What the *$£% is that about?

Made it to the hotel, which took a little longer than expected due to the World Series (I'm sure I won't be the first, or the last to note that that's a really misleading name) to find a whole gaggle of elephant herders in the lobby, with beer. Oh, and one dolphin botherer (hi Rob!). Dinner was at a small, but excellent Indonesian place on Post and Jones where Greg Stark showed up from work to join myself, Aurynn Shaw, Bruce Momjian, Magnus Hagander, Jim Nasby, Rob Wultsch and Guillaume Lelarge.

After dinner, a few of us stopped in the hotel bar for a night cap before heading off for some Zzzz's.

Today the conference starts in earnest of course. Breakfast in 20 minutes, and then at 9AM, a bunch of 3 hour tutorials. After lunch, my talk "Securing your web application" (and overview for beginners) is up, then I have the rest of the conference to see what I like.

So, there you have it. A couple of hundred largely useless words that spilled out of my brain having cleared out my "Starred Items" at 5AM leaving me nothing more interesting to do without committing more hours than I have. With any luck, tomorrow's roundup will be somewhat less of a waste of bytes, though someone did mention beer so I wouldn't hold your breath....