PostgresConf and Greenplum Summit 2018: Post Show Review

May 23, 2018 Andreas Scherbaum

Thinking back on PostgresConf 2018 in New Jersey, the Pivotal team showed up in full force as not only one of the two Diamond sponsors of the event, but also hosting our very own (but complementary) Greenplum Summit. This coincided with the latest Customer Advisory Board, where members were able to take advantage of the talks at the regular conference, the keynotes, as well as witness our large booth presence where we dropped bombs of knowledge on visitors about Massively Parallel Postgres (MPP).



Let's start at the beginning: Tuesday saw two very different things happening simultaneously..

First, our Customer Advisory Board (CAB) for Greenplum met at the conference venue. A diverse set of new and old customers with various use cases discussed and advised us on the future of Greenplum. Features we should consider next, the strength and weaknesses of the product as it exists today and as compared to other products, what features or strengths they like the most, and what can be improved to better help them solve real problems. That kind of input is really useful for us, in order to guide the future development and deliver features the customers actually want and need.

Pivotal Greenplum CAB 2018

The other event on Tuesday was the hands-on Greenplum training delivered by Marshall, Craig and me. We started Greenplum clusters from our Greenplum marketplace offering in the cloud and a dozen people jumped on the opportunity to learn for a full day about the basics of Greenplum and play with the database cluster. All with a focus on how it is different from PostgreSQL.


Greenplum Summit

The Postgres Conference was scheduled for 3 days towards the end of the week, with talks focusing on ...PostgreSQL! We had several talks from Pivotal Data employees as well as our customers presented there. On Thursday and Friday, we had our own Greenplum Summit where again both customers and data engineers from Pivotal presented a total of 10 talks which focus solely on Greenplum (and it’s similarities and differences from Postgres).


Booth at Postgres Conference

Pivotal was one of the two Platinum sponsors for the conference, and we had a large presence with demos, Marshall Presser’s O'Reilly books about Greenplum, as well as several other goodies to give away - and of course with people from all parts of the company to talk with everyone who was interested to learn more how Greenplum supports Analytics at scale with PostgreSQL. Many of the conference visitors had never heard about the product before, nor did they know about the PostgreSQL roots of Greenplum.



Scott Yara presented one of the Platinum Sponsor keynotes, thanking everybody for PostgreSQL, and showing how Greenplum would not have been possible without three things: ingenuity, diligence, and moral code. The ingenuity of the community to create such an incredible database combined with the diligence to keep plugging away at it and not get distracted by anything (No SQL, Hadoop, In Memory, etc, etc) as well as the moral code to do the right thing (for the users, for the code, for the namesake). Each of these have parallels to some of Pivotal’s core beliefs like “Do The Right Thing.” As a funny side note: When referencing diligence, Scott mentioned that while preparing for his talk he landed upon the PostgreSQL website which has been so stable and “diligent” that it hasn’t changed much in over 10 years! And on the very same day, the PostgreSQL Project released a major overhaul of the entire website design! The coincidence was very comedic to many of the attendees I spoke with.



For all of us at Pivotal, it was very good to get in touch with so many users at a PostgreSQL conference. Even though we have deep roots within this community, and Greenplum has been a successful fork historically, we are growing towards reversing that “fork” status, and we want the world to know that we care about and respect this community. This will allow us to continue to educate users about the large-scale analytics functionalities we can provide on the same platform they already use and love.


Watch the Sessions and Download the Presentations

Watch the Greenplum Summit sessions

Check out the Greenplum Summit presentations and other Greeenplum documents


About the Author

Andreas Scherbaum

Andreas Scherbaum is working with PostgreSQL since 1997. He is involved in several PostgreSQL related community projects, member of the Board of Directors of the European PostgreSQL User Group and also wrote a PostgreSQL book (in German). Since 2011 he is working for EMC/Greenplum/Pivotal and tackles very big databases.

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