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Citus Data Blog

Thoughts on scaling out PostgreSQL, sharding, multi-tenant apps, real-time analytics, and distributed databases.

Nils Dijk
By Nils Dijk
June 25, 2020

Using custom types with Citus & Postgres, from popular hack to transparent feature

Custom types—called user-defined types in the PostgreSQL docs—are a powerful Postgres capability that, just like Postgres extensions, were envisioned from Day One in the original design of Postgres. Published in 1985, the Design of Postgres paper stated the 2nd design goal as: “provide user extendibility for data types, operators and access methods.”

It’s kind of cool that the creators of Postgres laid the foundation for the powerful Postgres extensions of today (like PostGIS for geospatial use cases, Citus for scaling out Postgres horizontally, pg_partman for time-based partitioning, and so many more Postgres extensions) way back in 1985 when the design of Postgres paper was first published.

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Claire Giordano
By Claire Giordano
June 13, 2020

Release notes for Citus 9.3, the extension that scales out Postgres horizontally

Our latest release to the Citus open source extension to Postgres is Citus 9.3.

If you’re a regular reader of the Citus Blog, you already know Citus transforms Postgres into a distributed database, distributing your data and SQL queries across multiple servers. This post—heavily inspired by the internal release notes that lead engineer Marco Slot circulated internally—is all about what’s new & notable in Citus 9.3.

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Louise Grandjonc
By Louise Grandjonc
May 20, 2020

Postgres tips for optimizing Django & Python performance, from my PyCon workshop

This year, I was so excited about doing a workshop about optimizing Python & Django apps with Postgres superpowers for the PyCon 2020 conference.

Working with other developers on performance is something I always find amazing. So props to the Python people at Microsoft who encouraged my team to create a workshop on Postgres for PyCon 2020. Thank you to Nina Zakharenko, Dan Taylor, & Crystal Kelch.

Alas, we had to change our plans and find other ways to share the PostgreSQL workshop content that we had prepared. So I created a video on the topic of database performance for Django developers, to help teach you the PostgreSQL tips and tricks that have served me well in optimizing my Django apps. These tips are what I call “Postgres superpowers.”

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Marco Slot
By Marco Slot
April 27, 2020

How the Citus distributed query executor adapts to your Postgres workload

In one of our recent releases of the open source Citus extension, we overhauled the way Citus executes distributed SQL queries—with the net effect being some huge improvements in terms of performance, user experience, Postgres compatibility, and resource management. The Citus executor is now able to dynamically adapt to the type of distributed SQL query, ensuring fast response times both for quick index lookups and big analytical queries.

We call this new Citus feature the “adaptive executor” and we thought it would be useful to walk through what the Citus adaptive executor means for Postgres and how it works.

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Claire Giordano
By Claire Giordano
April 9, 2020

Documenting the Citus extension to Postgres: an interview with begriffs

The last two months, I managed the agenda for our weekly Citus team meeting, the one time each week where our entire distributed team—with people spread across 6 different countries—gets together to talk about Citus things. As I chatted with our PostgreSQL folks to find speakers to give 10-minute “lightning talks”, I heard a chorus from several of the engineers: “see if you can get Joe to give a talk. His talks are always super interesting.”

I succeeded. Joe Nelson (known as begriffs online) did deliver a talk titled “Dominus SQL, lord of my domain.” And the engineers liked it. Not a surprise, as Joe’s content tends to be pretty popular, both on his personal blog, and on the Citus Data blog, including high traffic posts such as 5 ways to paginate in Postgres and Faster PostgreSQL Counting.

And when Joe agreed to let me interview him about his work on the Citus documentation (he’s quite busy so I wasn’t sure he would say yes), well, I was thrilled. This post is an edited transcript of my interview with Joe—and it’s your inside baseball view into how the documentation for the Citus open source project gets made.

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Ozgun Erdogan
By Ozgun Erdogan
March 3, 2020

Microsoft Azure Welcomes PostgreSQL Committers

Interview with the Postgres committers who have joined the Postgres team at Microsoft by Sudhakar Sannakkayala (Partner Director, Azure Data) and Ozgun Erdogan (Principal, Azure Data)—cross-posted from the Azure Postgres blog.

In recent years, the data landscape has seen strong innovation as a result of the onset of open source technologies. At the forefront, PostgreSQL has shown that it’s the open source database built for every type of developer. By staying true to its principles of being standards-compliant, highly programmable, and extensible, PostgreSQL has solidified its position as the “most loved database” of developers across the board—ranging from scenarios for OLTP, analytics, and business intelligence to processing various formats of geometric data using the PostGIS extension.

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Marco Slot
By Marco Slot
March 2, 2020

Citus 9.2 speeds up large scale HTAP workloads on Postgres

Some of you have been asking, “what’s happening with the Citus open source extension to Postgres?” The short answer is: a lot. More and more users have adopted the Citus extension in order to scale out Postgres, to increase performance and enable growth. And you’re probably not surprised to learn that since Microsoft acquired Citus Data last year, our engineering team has grown quite a bit—and we’ve been continuing to evolve and innovate on the Citus open source extension.

Our newest release is Citus 9.2. We’ve updated the installation instructions on our Download page and in our Citus documentation, and now it’s time to take a walk through what’s new.

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Claire Giordano
By Claire Giordano
January 16, 2020

Tips on how to get your conference talk SELECTED

As I get ready for the PgDay San Francisco event that is happening next Tue 21 January—a one-day, single-track Postgres community event at the awesome Swedish American Hall in SF—I’m reflecting a bit on how important the speakers are to developer events. Let’s face it, without speakers, there would be no conference.

And because I was on the PgDaySF talk selection committee, I’ve had some good conversations these last few months about CFPs, conference talks, how talk selection committees work, and how you can improve your chances at getting your proposals accepted. So I thought it would be useful to walk through the tips I’ve accumulated on how to get your conference talk accepted—at a Postgres conference, or at any developer conference.

These tips are premised on the notion that a good conference talk requires these 4 things:

  1. interestingness: a topic people will care about—and learn from
  2. knowledgeable speaker who knows their subject & can communicate effectively with an audience—so people can follow, understand, and learn
  3. a hook: a compelling title & abstract that will hook people and entice them to attend
  4. fits holistically into the rest of the lineup: a talk that complements the rest of the talks at the event, that adds something unique, and doesn’t overlap the other talks in a significant way
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Claire Giordano
By Claire Giordano
December 7, 2019

Architecting petabyte-scale analytics by scaling out Postgres on Azure with Citus

How do you know if the next update to your software is ready for hundreds of millions of customers? It starts with data. And when it comes to Windows, we’re talking lots of data. The Windows team measures the quality of new software builds by scrutinizing 20,000 diagnostic metrics based on data flowing in from 800 million Windows devices. At the same time, the team evaluates feedback from Microsoft engineers who are using pre-release versions of Windows updates.

At Microsoft, the Windows diagnostic metrics are displayed on a real-time analytics dashboard called “Release Quality View” (RQV), which helps the internal “ship-room” team assess the quality of the customer experience before each new Windows update is released. Given the importance of Windows for Microsoft’s customers, the RQV analytics dashboard is a critical tool for Windows engineers, program managers, and execs.

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Claire Giordano
By Claire Giordano
September 26, 2019

What DjangoCon has to do with Postgres and Crocodiles. An interview with Louise Grandjonc from Microsoft

When Django developer and Azure Postgres* engineer Louise Grandjonc confirmed that she could sit down with me for an interview in the days leading up to DjangoCon 2019, I jumped at the chance. Those of you who were in the room for Louise’s talk this week probably understand why. Louise explains technical topics in a way that makes sense—and she often uses unusual (and fun) examples, from crocodiles to owls, from Harry Potter to Taylor Swift.

And since I experience a bit of FOMO whenever I miss a fun developer conference like DjangoCon, I especially wanted to learn more about Louise’s DjangoCon talk: Postgres Index Types and where to find them.

Here’s an edited transcript of my interview with Louise Grandjonc of Microsoft (@louisemeta on Twitter.)

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