Tushar Ahuja



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Tags:   postgresql (149)   edb (16)   enterprisedb (5)  
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.

Hi, First of all, thanks for giving me an opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Tushar Ahuja, I am from India. My father was a retired Indian army officer, unfortunately, he passed away in 2008 due to cancer. My mother is a homeworker, My brother is a businessman. We are very fortunate that we are living with her.

I am married with one kid. My wife is a school teacher and she is no doubt my best critic in the world. My kid is in his 3rd standard of schooling.

I did my computer engineering from Pune University in the year 2005 and then initially for a year I worked in an FMCS (Fast-moving consumer goods) company as a SQL server DBA and then lucky enough to get a job in EnterpriseDB Software India Private Limited (EDB) in 2006 as a QA Engineer.

Thanks to Faiz Husain (Sr. Exec for South Asia at EnterpriseDB) and Ashish Mehra (Country Head - Sales at EnterpriseDB ) for the opportunity and for providing an excellent platform for me to learn new things, technologies, and of course PostgreSQL.

Tushar Ahuja

Tushar Ahuja

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

I spend some of my free time in gym Workout/ bodybuilding is my passion. The gym is my place to reduce stress, and anxiety and increase my energy level. Earlier I was so addicted to the gym that my wife told me once that “if I die tomorrow you will first go to the gym and then come to my funeral” but now with time -things, priority has changed so definitely will go to her funeral first and then to the gym :-)

Playing with my kid is something I love to do. I prefer my kid should be more involved in outdoor sports activities than spending time playing games on mobile or watching reels.

I have a few close friends whom I connect with in my free time.

Also try to find some penny stocks which could have the potential to become multi-bagger stocks and make me a millionaire :-) and last but not least watching TV/movies with my family members.

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

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

Well, I prefer reading technical blogs, and documentation, and watching technical and motivational videos on youtube but reading books is a very good habit.

“How far one will go in life” will depend on how much one reads which I believe.

Any favorite movie, or show?

In Bollywood (Hindi movie industry) my All-time favorite movies are - “oh my god” and “Taare Zameen Par” and In Hollywood” Jurassic park” and recently I have watched “Ozark” and “House of Cards” web series which I liked a lot.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

Hitting the gym, eating eggs, relaxing, and spending time with my loved ones.

What’s still on your bucket list?

Have a trip to Switzerland with my family in the future.

What is the best advice you ever got?

I have lots of good advice from my college professors/colleagues/friends/family like:

  • Be honest.
  • Keep it as simple as possible.
  • Flow like water.
  • Think twice before replying.
  • Don’t forget the basics.

These are the few pieces of advice that I try to implement in my daily life.

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

I was introduced to PostgreSQL in 2006 when I joined EDB (which is one of the largest contributors to Postgres).

Do you remember which version of PostgreSQL you started with?

I think it was 8.2.

Yes. I did a bachelor of computer engineering from Pune university.

My study didn’t help me directly with what I am doing now or when I started but thanks to my education which helped a lot to build a strong foundation and aptitude.

I feel now - Skill sets are more important than degrees. The whole purpose of education should be to open the mind, think beyond the obvious, out of the box things, and be a problem solver. I would say don’t go to college just because of a job. One can do much better if one chooses their hobby or passion to become a professional rather than following the job race.

I will see my kid doing what he wants to do in life rather than I am pushing him to become an ordinary engineer or where I think his future will be more “secure”.

What other databases are you using? Which one is your favorite?

I have worked on SQL Server and Oracle in the past and currently, I am working on PG and EPAS(EnterpriseDB Postgres Advanced server). All are good but my favorite is EPAS not because I am working in EDB but because EPAS gives you both PG + Oracle compatibility so You can write plpgsql and pl/SQL code in one database which is cool.

Recently I tested backup compression to introduce LZ4 and ZSTD server-side compression and replacing role-level NOINHERIT with a grant-level option which is developed by Robert Haas.

From time to time if I find any bugs I report them to the hacker mailing list.

How do you contribute to PostgreSQL?

By testing the patch, report the issue in the hacker mailing list,testing the PG bitrock installers of Windows/macOS (prepared by EDB)

Any contributions to PostgreSQL which do not involve writing code?

I am not a developer :-) so all my contributions are either testing the dev patch or reporting the bugs to the hacker mailing list.

To contribute to the community- you need not be a developer - you can help the developer like by testing his patch, and writing down the test cases - All this will not only help the developer but the reviewer and the committer too, and will be appreciated.

What is your favorite PostgreSQL extension?

pg_stat_statements, postgres_fdw, mysql/mongo_fdw/hdfs_fdw plus there are tools like pg_catcheck to check system catalog corruption (if any) and sqlsmith to generate SQL random queries to test code.

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

:-) due to this “postgresql.auto.conf” file, I am not able to open postgresql.conf using the in one go. I explicitly had to write “c” before I again press and this is where sometimes I got annoyed but manageable so I never complain.

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

Allow pg_basebackup to do server-side gzip, LZ4, and Zstandard compression.

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

I would like to see more GUI tools for the PG server, for example setting up Streaming replication or setting up logical replication. You need some PG/UNIX command experience but from an end-user perspective would be great if User can do it from GUI, just select the options ,press next and you are done!!.

Could you describe your PostgreSQL development toolbox?

I mostly worked on Centos7 or Debian 10 where with the help of yum or apt I installed GCC, git, and all the dependencies to install the postgresql server. vi editor mostly I use.

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

Database knowledge, SQL, procedural language, C, and above all eagerness plus a good mentor will be icing on the cake.

Do you use any git best practices, which makes working with PostgreSQL easier?

Dry run before final git push.

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

I attended PGConf.EU in Ireland in 2013, PostgreSQL Vision in the USA in 2019, and a couple of times PG conferences in India.

Do you think PostgreSQL has a high entry barrier?

No, PostgreSQL is a very known open-source database now. I can see my friends who are working for different small or big IT companies - most of them know about it.

What is your advice for people who want to start PostgreSQL developing - as in, contributing to the project. Where and how should they start?

As I mentioned before: one does need not to be a developer or a coder to contribute.

One can contribute by testing the dev patch, writing the test cases, writing blogs, and helping in solving users’ queries in the pg mailing list.

The starting point is to join the -hackers mailing list and find out some proposed features that one can think of to test OR add some value by sharing their opinion and asking questions (Remember no question is a stupid question).

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

Of course! I can see a great future for postgresql. The PG community is great and Thanks to all Community members for their contributions.

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

Yes, I think the PostgreSQL database is well-known now so a recommendation is not needed. I recently met with a stock broker and for his small application, he was using PostgreSQL in the backend.

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

Yes, I do follow the -hackers mailing list but mostly follow the threads in which my company colleagues are involved like Robert Hass, Dilip Kumar, Rushabh Lathia, Amul Sul, and others.

What other places do you hang out?

Mostly on the hacker mailing list.

Which other Open Source projects are you involved or interested in?

I am not involved in another open-source project.

Anything else you like to add?

Nothing more, Thanks Andreas for asking me for the interview although I believe I won’t get a single penny for this but thank you for this wonderful opportunity to express my thoughts/views :-).