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Articles by Claire Giordano

Claire Giordano

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

Written by By Claire Giordano | June 13, 2020 Jun 13, 2020

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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Claire Giordano

Documenting the Citus extension to Postgres: an interview with begriffs

Written by By Claire Giordano | April 9, 2020 Apr 9, 2020

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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Claire Giordano

Tips on how to get your conference talk SELECTED

Written by By Claire Giordano | January 16, 2020 Jan 16, 2020

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

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

Written by By Claire Giordano | December 7, 2019 Dec 7, 2019

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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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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Claire Giordano

10 Most Popular Citus Data Blog Posts in 2018, ft. Postgres

Written by By Claire Giordano | January 13, 2019 Jan 13, 2019

Seasons each have a different feel, a different rhythm. Temperature, weather, sunlight, and traditions—they all vary by season. For me, summer usually includes a beach vacation. And winter brings the smell of hot apple cider on the stove, days in the mountains hoping for the next good snowstorm—and New Year’s resolutions. Somehow January is the time to pause and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, to take stock in what worked, and what didn’t. And of course there are the TOP TEN LISTS.

Spoiler alert, yes, this is a Top 10 list. If you’re a regular on the Citus Data blog, you know our Citus database engineers love PostgreSQL. And one of the open source responsibilities we take seriously is the importance of sharing learnings, how-to’s, and expertise. One way we share learnings is by giving lots of conference talks (seems like I have to update our Events page every week with new events.) And another way we share our learnings is with our blog.

So just in case you missed any of our best posts from last year, here is the TOP TEN list of the most popular Citus Data blogs published in 2018. Enjoy.

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Claire Giordano

The perks of sharing your Citus open source stories

Written by By Claire Giordano | December 27, 2018 Dec 27, 2018

Most of us who work with open source like working with open source. You get to build on what’s already been built, and you get to focus on inventing new solutions to new problems instead of reinventing the wheel on each project. Plus you get to share your work publicly (which can improve the state of the art in the industry) and you get feedback from developers outside your company. Hiring managers give it a +1 too, since sharing your code will sometimes trigger outside interest in what you’re doing and can be a big boon for recruiting. After all “smart people like to hang out with smart people”.

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Claire Giordano

All the things coming soon to PostgresOpen SV 2018

Written by By Claire Giordano | July 29, 2018 Jul 29, 2018

In this world of all things digital where so many of us are online so much of the time—what with architecting, coding, QA'ing, blogging, and slacking—it’s kind of refreshing to step away from our devices and talk to other humans face-to-face at an event.

Especially when it’s a conference chock full of PostgreSQL open source people, from users to developers to community leaders.

Especially when it’s right in our own backyard here in San Francisco.

Especially when it’s PostgresOpen SV 2018

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Claire Giordano

10 Most-Read Citus Data Blog Posts in 2017, ft. Postgres

Written by By Claire Giordano | January 5, 2018 Jan 5, 2018
Top 10 Most Popular Citus Data Blog Posts in 2017 cover image

What Postgres and distributed database topics got the most attention on our Citus Data blog in 2017? Out of the 47 new posts we published last year, it’s pretty clear that many of you were interested in sharding relational databases, whether it be Ozgun’s principles of sharding or Craig’s post on figuring out which sharding data model is right for you. Heck, the five sharding data models post was so popular that it even got re-published recently on HackerNoon.

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Claire Giordano

A Flywheel for SaaS Databases ft. Postgres and Citus

Written by By Claire Giordano | November 21, 2017 Nov 21, 2017

What happens to your database when your SaaS application is an overnight success? When your customer base has grown bigger than you’d always hoped but it all happened so fast and now what do you do? What happens when your SaaS application needs to scale, but your database is getting more and more sluggish?

Until recently, the conventional wisdom for SaaS startups is that you should launch your application on top of an open source relational database, like Postgres or MySQL. And that once you become an overnight success, you will need to slog your way through a period of fail whales while you re-architect your app to go to NoSQL. Or while you re-architect your app to shard at the application layer. Ick.

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