Conference Schedule - Nordic PGDay 2016
Sorting Through the Ages
Time: 10:30 - 11:20
When new versions of Postgres are released most of the attention is focused on new features. Inevitably a release note claiming speed improvements seems relatively mundane and doesn't provide the compelling argument for upgrading.
However the reality is that these speed improvements represent pain points that have been identified and solved. Understanding in depth the problems makes it clear that these innocuous sounding release note entries hide important changes to reduce risks that users really should be concerned about.
Reviewing the changes to the sort code in Postgres over the last 10 years clearly shows the kinds of problems users have run into. As usage patterns changed over years these problems changed and as databases scaled up and hardware changed sometimes older assumptions have needed to be revisited.
Upcoming changes in 9.5 and 9.6 will dramatically change the experience further. Making sorting UTF8 and other encodings less of a problem and handling scaling to larger machines with many processors and memory cache more effectively.