Recently I had the opportunity to travel to NYC to present at PGConf NYC 2021.

The talk was titled How We Made PG Fitter, Happier, More Productive.

This talk will walk through a series of improvements made to our PostgreSQL 10 databases to improve performance, increase operational efficiency, and tune parameters. Some of the techniques were to add monitoring, remove and replace indexes, remove bloat, and split tables into a new database without application downtime.

Overall I felt like the talk went pretty well. I had done a couple of practice runs and received great feedback that I incorporated into edits prior to giving the talk.

Besides specific technical feedback for accuracy or for wording and examples to avoid confusion, there was feedback to provide more structure to help with context.

I ended up going with 4 major categories around Scaling and Optimizing: Connections, Space, Performance and Errors. The slide deck is below and the recording of the talk from Confreaks should be posted in a few weeks.

The Conference Experience

Both speaking and attending the conference was a real honor and a privilege for me. I always love to visit NYC.

I had not attended a PostgreSQL-specific or databases-related conference before. I was worried the audience would be entirely database administrators and computer science folks that might grill me on any small technical inaccuracy.

In reality I found a variety of backgrounds and a supportive community. Backgrounds included database administrators, systems administrators, software engineers, contributors/committers to PostgreSQL, consulting service providers, and vendors that build tooling and companies on PG technology.

And very helpful conference volunteers and a great hotel venue at the Downtown Marriott in lower Manhattan.

Open Source Freedom

The opening keynotes included an inspiring talk from Umair Shahid about how open source with permissive licensing isn’t just about free cost, but is about freedom.

Another great point was that the project goals are aligned more with what is best for the project, versus profit. The presenter suggested that PostgreSQL is a high quality project because of this passion for prioritizing what is best for the project.

The Conference

After nearly 2 years of no personal business travel or trips away from my family and young kids, it was really refreshing to have a bit of time to focus on my career development, enjoy exploring NYC, and networking with industry folks.


Here is the tweet from the conference. Likes ❤️ and Retweets 🔁 are appreciated!

Recording Link: PGConf NYC 2021 - How we made PG Fitter, Happier, More Productive by Andrew Atkinson. Likes on YouTube are appreciated as well

Follow Ups

Had a discussion afterwards with some engineers from Politics Rewired about how to automate some of the maintenance tasks. At work we’re using pg_cron to automate reindexing, partition management and more.

Regarding removing unused indexes, we can codify those patterns into a Rails migration generator.

Stay tuned for a blog posts on both of those topics.