Interview with Tomas Vondra Written by Pavlo Golub on 10.03.2020

Tomas Vondra is a speaker of the PgDay Ukraine conference. He is working for 2ndQuadrant as a database engineer and developer, committer, …

Tell us about your experience with PostgreSQL.

I think I started using PostgreSQL in 2003. I’ve been working in a small company running a bunch of e-commerce websites on MySQL. We’ve been facing some performance issues, and we ended up switching to PostgreSQL. The root cause ultimately turned out to be mostly in the application, not a database, but we kept using PostgreSQL anyway. I liked investigating database issues, so I became the go-to PostgreSQL guy, started going to conferences, contributing patches, and ultimately I became a committer. Over the years I’ve been working in a couple of other companies, most of them using PostgreSQL in some way, and now I’m with 2ndQuadrant, one of the main PostgreSQL contributors.

How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?

For me, the diverse, active and growing community is what makes a difference compared to proprietary products, so I try to engage in various ways to help with building it. Aside from the obvious development related stuff (writing patches, discussing them on a mailing list or in person, maybe even committing some of them) I do attend conferences and meetups, give talks and trainings. For the last 10 years or so I co-organize the Prague conference, and I’m the president of the local PUG.

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

My talk will be about how PostgreSQL performance evolved over the past couple of years. It probably won’t give you anything immediately useful, it’s more a high-level overview of the evolution which is difficult to assemble otherwise because we rarely compare more than two commits or versions. So I’ll try to demonstrate how the performance changed for a couple of basic workloads, how we achieved it, etc.

What is the audience for your talk?

I’d say it’s both for PostgreSQL users and contributors. It’s useful to have a better idea how much the performance improved – if anything, it might give you a nice warm “job well done” feeling.

What existing knowledge should the attendee have?

I don’t think they need a lot of prior knowledge. It’d be nice to know what OLTP, OLAP, pgbench or full-text search is, but that’s about it.

What benefit will visitors receive from your topic?

A nice warm “job well done” feeling about how much progress we made since about 8.3 (i.e. 2008).

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

Probably Oleksii’s talk about running analytics with 200TB of data, because it’s related to BI, a topic I’ve been involved with at one of my previous jobs.

What are the benefits of conferences? What interesting things can you remember from conferences?

Obviously it’s great to attend talks, but I think the main benefit is the hallway track – meeting people in person. It’s amazing to discuss the topic with the speaker face to face or talk to other users facing similar issues. It’s a networking and community building opportunity.

If you would like to meet Tomas Vondra in person, please, register now with a 25% discount code: Vondra25.

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