Nicolas Thauvin

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Tags:   postgresql (170)   backup (4)   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 am a PostgreSQL DBA from France. I live near the sea in Normandy.

Nicolas Thauvin

Nicolas Thauvin

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

In my free time I usually go to the gym, work in the house, play the guitar and do some programming.

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

I am @orgrim on twitter, and I have a blog where I post, not very often, mostly in French about System administration and PostgreSQL.

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

I’m reading “Site Reliability Engineering” by Google engineers to try to learn more about organization at big companies. SRE is a standard now and I wanted to know more about these practices in detail.

Any favorite movie, or show?

I don’t really have a favorite movie, not that I could rewatch again and again. I guess I’m more into music than movies or TV shows.

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

I started around 2007 when I wanted to build a website with some friends. My friend Jehan-Guillaume de Rorthais (@ioguix) was telling me how PostgreSQL is so awesome all the time (and he is right :) ) so I gave it a try and never looked back.

Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

8.2 on FreeBSD, built from the ports.

I’m continuing the development of my dump tool, pg_back, which started as a simple script to dump all my databases when I started using PostgreSQL.

What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension?

pg_stat_statements: one can get a lot of info on performance by just querying its view. It is bundled with PostgreSQL and it is also great to see how it has improved over the years.

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

Transaction ID wraparound, and the need to run vacuum freeze.

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

Being able to see the plan of a query while it is running and know what plan node is currently being executed. This would allow having some kind of progress info and help to follow the behavior of long queries.

Which skills are a must have for a PostgreSQL developer/user?

Good system administration skills, including an understanding of how a operating system works

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

I’ve been to PGCon and PGConf.EU, both are great, with a wide range of topics from beginner to expert level.

Do you think PostgreSQL has a high entry barrier?

It depends, getting started is really easy with cloud services now, but at some point one has to configure, backup, monitor and optimize queries… This requires work and commitment.

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

Yes, more and more people rely on PostgreSQL everyday, lots of companies are adopting it and you can see that more and more technical writers and bloggers base their examples/articles on PostgreSQL when a RDBMS is required to solve a problem.

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

Both. PostgreSQL is used for critical production databases everywhere.

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

I’m only reading -hackers from the archives when I need to check something, because I don’t have time to follow the pace. Otherwise I read -announce.