Day 2 @ PGCon 2008


The 2nd day of the PGCon conference also had a good list of hacker/community sessions lined up. The talks started at 10 am instead of the usual 9 am time, may be because, people getting late due to the EnterpriseDB party previous night was anticipated.

I was initially planning on attending PostGIS, but then changed my mind to attend "Deploying PostgreSQL in a Windows Enterprise" instead. Magnus covered how Postgres can be deployed with Active Directory Server connected network. I have been working on Solaris for a long time, so one of my intentions was to understand how different it is to deploy Postgres on windows platform and  possibly get an idea of how widely it is being used. I think my understanding is improved a bit after the talk and have realized that the problems are of similar nature in windoze too.

Later, I walked in "Security Enhanced PostgreSQL" session and it turned out to be a very cool project which I was not really aware of. This project provides fine grained mandatory access control even for the privileged user (such as 'postgres'). It depends heavily on the security context associated with certain tuple/cell. For PostgreSQL to be able to achieve such fine grained control, security enhanced operating system is necessary. KaiGai, the SE-PostgreSQL developer, demonstrated this on SELinux and it was really very exciting. I am now wondering if this can be implemented easily on Solaris 10 Trusted Extensions (Tx). He mentioned that for other operating systems to run SE-postgresql, there is a framework available and only certain modules need to be ported.

Post lunch, I attended "PL/Proxy, pgBouncer, pgbalancer" by Asko from Skype. I had a bit of idea about these tools and have a learnt a lot more about them from this talk. I think Skype contributing a bunch of tools is really appreciated. For a postgresql dbms user company to be able to solve their practical problems by creating tools that will help many many other users is really very creditable. pgProxy seems to be a really cool idea and the combination with pgBouncer seems to be really useful for customizing specific deployments which are exposed to heavy load. Kudos to the Skype team working in the PostgreSQL community!

For the next talk, "Performance of PostgreSQL", the speaker, I think at the last moment, decided to get a translator friend for his talk. I was disappointed by the  content of the talk. Lots of data was presented but it did not take long to realize that the tests were not performed taking all the aspects into consideration. That sort of took all the flesh out of the data presented. The translator did a good job though.

Zdenek then presented his findings and approaches on 'In-place upgrade' project. He demonstrated a working version of live upgrade from 8.1 to 8.2. He then presented various approaches to implement the same for other latest versions. Version 8.3 and later has some changes to the on-disk format which is complicating such conversion. The talk was  received very well. It was quite evident that the hacker community is really serious about this project and hence it will be interesting to see how the project shapes up in the near future.

Dan did a great job (again!) with his closing session. I think he was phenomenal in making this conference a huge success.

Most of us got together at the Royal Oak pub for the last time this year. I have never been to pubs for so many consecutive days in my life, but It was a lot of fun! Many of us are meeting up for a sightseeing tour tomorrow and then I will leave Ottawa on sunday to go to Niagara Falls and then back to India.

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