Julien Tachoires

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Tags:   postgresql (170)   edb (17)   france (20)  
Category:   Interviews   
Interview conducted by: Andreas Scherbaum

PostgreSQL is the World’s most advanced Open Source Relational Database. The interview series “PostgreSQL Person of the Week” presents the people who make the project what it is today. Read all interviews here.

Please tell us about yourself, and where you are from.

I’m Julien Tachoires, living in Bordeaux, France, with my wife and our 2 kids. I’m working as a PostgreSQL Performance Engineer at EDB.

Julien Tachoires

Julien Tachoires

How do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies?

Most of my free time is spread across: boating and fishing, programming, and spending time with friends and family.

Any Social Media channels of yours we should be aware of?

@_julmon_ on Twitter.

Last book you read? Or a book you want to recommend to readers?

I’m currently learning Rust programming, therefor, I’m reading:

  • Programming Rust by J. Blandy & J. Orendorff
  • Rust for Rustaceans by J. Gjengset
  • Rust in Action by T. McNamara

Any favorite movie, or show?

I’m a big fan of the TV show The Office! Steve Carell’s performance is incredible.

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

It was in 2009, when I was hired as a backend engineer to work on an online file storage service. The PostgreSQL version we were using at this time was 8.4 (with a couple of 8.3 instances still in production). 2 years later I was in charge of migrating our monolithic database model to a sharded model, based on pl/proxy.

It’s been an amazing experience, I’ve learnt so many things during this period of time.

I’m the original author of pg_activity and temBoard, they are now developed and maintained by Dalibo.

Now, I’m working on edb-ansible and postgres-deployment.

edb-ansible is an open source Ansible collection aimed to deploy and manage PostgreSQL and EDB EPAS at scale, including HA, connection pooling, backup, etc..

postgres-deployment is an open source Python tool used to provision and deploy Postgres reference architectures in the Cloud.

What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension?

I’d say auto_explain because that’s the historic and more accurate way for getting the execution plan of a particular slow query.

What is the most annoying PostgreSQL thing you can think of? And any chance to fix it?

32 bit transaction ID. Transaction ID wraparound has been a threat for decades, I really hope to see the ongoing attempt of making it 64 bit long being merged.

What is the feature you like most in the latest PostgreSQL version?

Support for LZ4 and Zstandard compression of server-side base backups. Having a better compression level will certainly help in case of slow network between the database instance and the backup server.

Adding to that, what feature/mechanism would you like to see in PostgreSQL? And why?

In terms of adoption, I think the following features are very important:

  • Transparent Data Encryption. TDE is a block level encryption mechanism designed to offer data protection at rest. I’ve heard so many times customers complaining because “this application is critical with sensitive data, thus we are not going to use Postgres because there is no TDE“. The Postgres developer community has made good progress and invested a lot of time in this area. I really hope to see this feature ready for PostgreSQL 16.
  • Database Built-in Sharding. Database Sharding is one way for scaling up writes. The built-in implementation relies on Table Partitioning and the Postgres Foreign Data Wrapper. Exciting progress has been made so far, but some important pieces are missing: Global Snapshot, Partial Aggregate Pushdown, Atomic Commit.

Which PostgreSQL conferences do you visit? Do you submit talks?

I’ve been to PGCon and PGConf.EU. In 2021 I talked at PGConf.NYC about Postgres Built-in Sharding.

Do you think PostgreSQL has a high entry barrier?

Well, I’d say: it depends.

For developers, I think it’s not difficult to get started with Postgres: installation is easy, availability of Docker/container images, etc…

For on premise production usage, that’s another story: you have to study and find the right backup tool, the right High Availability solution, monitoring integration etc..

Do you think PostgreSQL will be here for many years in the future?

Absolutely! The project governance is sane: driven by a community of people, not by a single company. With nowaday’s multiplication of new database systems promising to be PostgreSQL compatible, we know that PostgreSQL is the new standard.

Would you recommend PostgreSQL for business, or for side projects?

Definitively for both.

Today’s PostgreSQL ecosystem (PostgreSQL itself, tools, Postgres companies providing enterprise support, etc..) is mature enough to make it a first class database for business.

Its flexibility and the huge number of available extensions are ideal for side projects.

Are you reading the -hackers mailinglist? Any other list?

Yes, I’m following the -hackers list and the -announce list to keep an eye on the other projects.

Anything else you like to add?

I’d like to thank all the people behind this project and its community.