PostgreSQL community held the first event in Russia as part of the global PG BootCamp initiative

October 5, 2023, an international research-to-practice conference on open-source DBMS PostgreSQL PG BootCamp Russia 2023 took place in Moscow.
Organized by members of the PostgreSQL community's international PG BootCamp initiative group, the event brought together more than 1,000 participants in one space. It was a hybrid event, which allowed specialists not only from Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also from Kazan, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, and other regions of Russia to attend the conference.

The PG BootCamp Russia 2023 was attended by 11 leading experts in the field of DBMS development: Michael Goldberger, committee member and Chairman of the PostgreSQL Code of Conduct, Vadim Yatsenko, CEO of "Tantor Labs", Andrey Borodin, PostgreSQL Contributor from Yandex Cloud, Maxim Milyutin, Senior Database Developer at Huawei Russian Research Institute, Dmitry Dorofeev, Chief Designer at Luxms, and others.
One of the founders of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group, Bruce Momjian addressed the audience with a welcoming word, emphasizing the significance of the PostgreSQL project for the development of competencies in the field of database development and management, which is particularly relevant in the Russian market's infrastructure:
The opportunity to speak with other Postgres people and learn more about it is really going to accelerate your ability to use Postgres effectively, get involved and make it a successful part of your enterprises and your career.
The wide range of current questions regarding the capabilities of PostgreSQL was covered in the key topics of presentations and master classes, such as "Autonomous Transactions in PostgreSQL," "Cascade Query Optimization on the Example of Greenplum ORCA," "To Build or Not to Build... or How to Properly Assemble PostgreSQL from Source Code," "Exploitation of Historical Vulnerabilities," "PostgreSQL as an Application Server," and "How to Write a PostgreSQL Extension?".
Within other topics of PG BootCamp Russia 2023, speakers talked about PostgreSQL innovations and features that are still under development, touched upon graphs and DBMS capabilities in implementing algorithms on graphs, what a beginner PostgreSQL kernel developer would need, and how to optimize Postgres planner behavior based on hints.
The lecture part was opened by the CEO of "Tantor Labs" Vadim Yatsenko, a member of the initiative group PG BootCamp, who gave a presentation "Autovacuum. Harmful pieces of advice." The expert shared a case of one of the former foreign clients — the developer/operator of a cloud storage, who received support services for PostgreSQL. In that company, they used distributed file system, where metadata, indexes, and other information were stored in the database. The speaker showed how a series of errors at different stages of the customer's BD lifecycle once led to its complete shutdown for more than a week, to wraparound, bit blocks, and maintenance issues. He explained the reasons for the incidents and ways to solve the problems.
Despite the fact that we work in different companies, we primarily focus on the fact that we have an open PostgreSQL." This is the result of the work of many people around the world. And our community should evolve. If you look at the trends of the last 5-7 years, the popularity of PostgreSQL is only growing. We had 2,217 confirmed unique registrations for the current PG BootCamp, many participators were with us online. Considering such interest, next year we will also organize a similar event in Russia.
concluded Vadim Yatsenko.
The senior DB developer of Huawei Russian Research Institute, Maxim Milyutin spoke about the mechanism of cascade query optimization using the example of Greenplum ORCA in a lecture titled "Cascade Query Optimization on the Example of Greenplum ORCA". During the presentation, the speaker noted that initially the ORCA technology was developed as a plug-in component for external query engines, but today it is fully integrated into the Greenplum source tree.
The chief architect of Luxms Group of Companies, Dmitry Dorofeev, covered the possibilities of PostgreSQL as an application server. He talked about the current and prospective use of DBMS for the development of server applications, about live reload and updating application versions. The speaker compared strongly typed data with JSON, FDW, and direct calls to an HTTP API from the database, as well as plv8 and PL/pgSQL. He also explained how to create an HTTP request using SQL, how and for what to use the embedded programming language LPE in PostgreSQL and browsers, and the benefits of advanced functions in DBMS, such as pgsql_http and FDW.
The lecture of Andrey Borodin, PostgreSQL Contributor from Yandex Cloud, that included "Exploitation of Historical Vulnerabilities" report and a master class on this topic, sparked particular interest. During his lecture, the speaker revealed the techniques used by intruders to hack into databases and talked about the methods to deal with the most common OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities, particularly with injections. The presentation was completed with a practical case on the exploitation of several historical vulnerabilities of PostgreSQL. The master class clearly demonstrated what to do when information from a client goes directly to the database without verification, and how to escalate one's privileges using historical vulnerabilities.
Andrey Borodin also talked about the innovations and prospective functions of the GiST technology, noting the following: "Generalized search trees are used, for example, in many mapping applications." Many people use Yandex.Maps or OpenStreetMap. These products are based on a spatial search, which is implemented using GiST technology as well. Today GiST is one of the distinctive architectural features of PostgreSQL. It uses the idea of dividing objects into groups based on some similarity. At the same time, this technology has already advanced significantly compared to the initial ideas.
Senior developer at Tantor Labs, Ilya Evdokimov, conducted a master class for beginner specialists in working with PostgreSQL, filled with deep knowledge and practice. He spoke about the source code of the open-source database, how to test and analyze what was submitted for review, how to clone a repository to a computer, what to do with the code after that, and how to document it all. Then he helped the audience to practice the gained knowledge on one of the simplest functions.
Connection to the cluster via psql, application of meta-commands, management of output and input, use of query buffer — these are just some of the activities at the workshops within PG BootCamp Russia 2023. Such an intensive educational program, packed with cases and hands-on exercises, distinguishes boot-camp from other traditional conferences. This allows developers of any level to fully focus on projects of creating PostgreSQL DBMS, contributing to its development and strengthening it as one of the most powerful and reliable open-source database management systems in the world.
At the buffet after the event the guests had a chance to continue networking in an informal setting, exchange business contacts, and share experiences with colleagues and industry experts.
Mikhail Goldberg, member of the PostgreSQL Code of Conduct committee, chairman, member of the PG BootCamp initiative group, organizer of the PGDay Israel conferences said:
PostgreSQL is not just a software product." PostgreSQL is a community united by dedication to transparency of the source code, quality, and constant improvement of the software. The events of the global initiative PG BootCamp are focused on providing participants with practical skills allowing to more effectively use PostgreSQL. We see a great response and involvement from the participants, so we want to expand our initiative and hold PG BootCamp Russia events not only in Moscow but also in other regions of Russia.