Simon Riggs just rocked my world.


I’m in Brussels for the FOSDEM conference, hanging out at the PostgreSQL booth, meeting my European colleagues, and running into friends.

PostgreSQL has a developer’s room and Simon Riggs just wrapped up a talk about Replication. I sincerely hope that the video of the talk turned out well, because it was the most inspiring and technically interesting talk I have seen in a very long time. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the slides at the moment, but word is that they will be posted on the BSD wiki soon.

Simon focused on new features in 8.4 that affect file-based replication, also mentioning streaming, synchronous replication — which will not be included in 8.4, but is being actively worked on. He explained his rationale for objecting to the inclusion of the synchronous replication patches, mostly, I think, based on the complexity of the WAL archiving required as it was implemented.

Then, Simon launched into an in-depth tour of the issues and solutions brought about during his team’s work on Hot Standby. Hot Standby allows read-only queries to be made against a file-based replication enabled Postgres server, known as Point-in-time recovery and WAL Shipping in the Postgres documentation.

Simon started work on PITR-related patches about five years ago, and continues that work with others today.

One fascinating aspect of the hot standby patches is that they ultimately caused performance improvements in sub-transactions across the board – and will likely cause up to 5% improvement in that code path. There were other performance improvements, but I’ll wait for the slides to mention those. At several times during the talk, Simon pointed out features that Postgres has that no other database has — such as multiple options for dealing with conflicts in hot standby (freezing, conflict resolution and timeout).

At the end of the talk, Simon spent a few minutes talking about how Postgres is capable of being the best database, not just the best open source database. And how all the people in the room were capable of contributing as he had. He claimed that prioritization and aiming to work on the biggest, most interesting problem you can are all you need. And he claimed that all that made him different was that he was a little more persistent about solving problems.

Rock on, Simon.

twittering on 2009-02-05

  • missed dinner home with scoots. :( headed to cubespace. #
  • i haz the flip. need coffee. #
  • ? @IgnitePortland: Tickets Available (10am today!) – Don’t Miss Out! http://tinyurl.com/ce68n5 #
  • status of igniteportland.com cpu/memory:http://tr.im/es1d #
  • watching igniteportland.com be cool. #
  • ? @IgnitePortland: Don’t panic, we have a waiting list. Get your name at the top of the waiting list for when people don’t confirm/cancel tx #
  • @jzb see you there! :) #
  • @znmeb might be something other than ignite, there’s other stuff running on that machine. #
  • @znmeb tickets are on another server owned by @igalko. but 2 ignites ago, we had trouble with the blog server. now we’re cool. #
  • @jmoriarty fancy! #
  • #osbridge contract signing imminent. #
  • graph of ticket requests for igniteportland: http://tr.im/eso5 #ip5 #
  • ? @cshirky: Question: Any good examples of a Govt (local or nat’l) commissioning external developers to create new Open Source project? #
  • @Xof i just plotted every ticket request that’s the first 720 requests. #
  • @Crad any links to discussion? we had trouble with ext4 tests. #
  • checking in for flight. now gonna pack. #
  • Open Source Bridge: June 17-19, 2009, at the Oregon Convention Center. For real. Want to present? http://www.opensourcebridge.org/proposals/ #
  • @petdance you know you love it. #
  • waiting anxiously for that darn cab. #

twittering on 2009-02-04

  • i am sleepy. so much work to do. #
  • the sunrise was gorgeous this morning #pdxst #
  • @fuzzychef the sun is finally rising with me again :) #
  • want for iphone: http://tinyurl.com/aa82v7 #
  • @mattg have played it, or a version of it, and the battery did not die :) #
  • google lattitudes: whassup with the ‘coming soon’ bar?! #
  • @BikePortland RAD. #
  • @thesethings yes, my thought exactly. #
  • i seriously need to research conferences in tropical locations. #
  • @emmajanedotnet oh great. that makes me feel tons better *grin* #
  • @garethgreenaway i have that to look forward to :D #
  • ? @geekygirldawn: Just a quick reminder that @igniteportland tickets (free) will be available tomorrow at 10am. #

twittering on 2009-02-03

  • having massive personal email FAIL. sorry everyone. will get it under control hopefully soon. #
  • attacking the inbox. #
  • @unclenate happy burthday! i just realized that your nickname was not un-cleanate. #
  • want a james jean postcard? dm me your home address. #
  • @hmtasks thank you for the cute little welcome back message this morning. #