PgEast 11 The End Game

Mar 25, 2011 / By John Scoles

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Well the last busy day here in The Big Apple again a number of very good technical talks. It is not often that the developer of a key piece of a technology gives an intro talk so I grasped it when it came up. Robert Haas gave a very informative talk on the theory behind WAL (Write Ahead Logging) and how it is implemented on PostgreSQL as compared to other DBs. His talk never ventured into the neither world of techno-babel but gave just enough of the technical side to get the understanding out. In the second part of his talk Robert focused on a introduction of the ‘Buzz’ words of WAL that one might have to deal with. This was both very entertaining and armed one with a real understanding of WAL.

I next sat in on ‘Little Jim’ Mlodgenski’s ‘Scaling with GridSQL’ talk. Another great technical talk that did not get bogged down in little details. Jim illustrated how GridSQL leverages the Power of Nodes to create a scalable parallel query data ware-house by creating a controller that will split off most of a large query to the different nodes in a cluster take the results from these nodes and then applies the final touches. Jim clearly demonstrated that with simple aggregation queries one seen a linear gains in performance for each node added to the cluster. With more complex queries there was an exponential gain for the first few nodes but one sees a fall of after only 8. Jim was very open about the pitfalls of this form of scaling (eg backup can be problematic) but it a very good solution for quick scalable data-ware housing.

The final talk of the conference was Jake Luciani’s talk comparing Apache’s Casandra to PostgreSQL was a very good introduction to this rather novel No-SQL DB. Think of a ring of peer to peer hash tables that work together to scale, provide no single point of failure, automate replication and implement tunable consistency. Its basic concept is the opposite or the RDBMS ‘Store Many! Read Once’ which makes some sense when used in such situations as large blogs, photo libraries or even diverse catalogs. Jake also introduced us to something he called CQL a query language for thew No-SQL DB

The conference ended with one of the better open forums I have attended I am sure next year will be much better.

Hopefully I will be able to make it next year as well

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