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Patrick Ross

Published at 19.06.2023

Cloud Native

Postgres Automation: A Journey Through Decades

anynines CEO Julian Fischer recently shared his expertise on the evolution and future of Postgres automation at the PostgresConf 2023 held in Silicon Valley. His unique perspective thoroughly examined the transition from physical servers in data centers to virtual infrastructures and how this shift has dramatically influenced database management. The past decade has seen substantial advancements in automation. Julian described how moving from shell scripts and Chef, an imperative technology, towards declarative technologies such as BOSH and Kubernetes was a game-changer. This shift marked a substantial improvement in managing more assets per DevOps, which is crucial for corporate profitability.

Transition to Virtualization: A Game-Changer

The initial period of running multiple servers in data centers posed significant system availability and management challenges, mainly as these servers aged. The physical host’s management and heterogeneity in the hardware landscape introduced complexity and an increased probability of system failure.

One remarkable phenomenon Julian highlighted was state shift, wherein the state of a machine deviated from the assumed state in the Chef automation. This shift increased unpredictability, affecting the team’s progress.

Julian believes the key to overcoming these challenges was the on-demand provisioning of dedicated Postgres instances based on declarative automation. This approach, coupled with technologies like Bosh for virtual machines and Kubernetes for orchestrating pods, significantly reduced manual intervention and made operations more scalable.

The Power of Declarative Automation

Julian emphasized the importance of the “ephemeral VM persistent disk” paradigm. This approach led to more predictable and repeatable deployments with minimal state drift. This design, integral to Bosh and Kubernetes’ lifecycle management, allows for rapid scalability and robust management of resources. Asynchronous streaming replication was identified as the default strategy for Postgres, considering its efficiency in lifecycle management and ease of orchestration in a distributed cluster. Further, empowering application developers with operational responsibility was critical in managing more assets efficiently.

Kubernetes: More Than Just Container Orchestration

Julian talked about Kubernetes becoming an open framework for cloud automation. However, managing Kubernetes clusters can pose challenges, mainly when adding more Kubernetes nodes on demand. Despite the challenges, Kubernetes’ ubiquity and declarative automation approach make it an attractive tool for Postgres automation.

Looking to the Future

Regarding future trends, Julian envisions an increased focus on full lifecycle management. He mentioned the possibility of using artificial intelligence for consulting on configuration changes, validating their viability, and helping developers make more informed decisions.

In conclusion, Julian Fischer’s enlightening talk highlighted the incredible journey of Postgres automation over the past decade. The key takeaways revolve around the transition to virtualization’s importance, declarative automation’s power, and the future possibilities of leveraging AI in database management. He emphasized that the story of Postgres automation is a testament to the success of virtualization, the rise of declarative automation, and the increased adaptability of Postgres for automation.

As we look to the future, it’s clear that the continued evolution of Postgres automation will continue to revolutionize database management. Julian’s insights provide valuable guidance for cloud engineers and those interested in Postgres automation, paving the way for exciting advancements in the future.

Watch the full video on YouTube

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