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Lucas Barret
Lucas Barret

Posted on • Updated on

Let's MERGE INTO Postgres !

Maria is a SQL enthusiast who works for The Coffee Company. Maria has mainly handled the databases and ensured everything operates nicely.

Recently she discovered the MERGE commands of Postgres. She wants to create a Proof Of Concept about improving the ETL of the company processes with this command.

Data Architecture

Before manipulating any data, Maria wants to refresh her mind with the current architecture in the database.

Data architecture is simple for now, and the company does not need a complex one.

For each ETL process, data goes into the staging schema first. Then, if everything is fine, we can put the data in the production schema.

She creates a POC database with the same schema to avoid messing up with the production database and schema.

POC database

Did you know that when you make a database in PostgreSQL, it uses a template database called template1? And after creating her database, she establishes the schemas with a staging schema and a production schema with the tables in it.

CREATE DATABASE coffee_testing;
CREATE SCHEMA production;
CREATE TABLE staging.coffee_stock;
CREATE TABLE production.coffee_stock;
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Better Processed Coffee

Recently the coffee company has decided to update and add some references to decaffeinated Coffee in their database.

To be more respectful of the environment, they have decided to add decaffeinated Coffee through the SWP process. And through the process with high-pressure CO2 (supercritical) at 31°C instead of chemically decaffeinated Coffee.

These data can be perfect for testing the new ETL process.

Move data into other tables

MERGE INTO is a specific Postgres Command that enables :


You can batch load data that matches some conditions in different tables, even tables from different schemas, but not from other databases.

Maria wants to move her data from the coffee_stock of the staging to the coffee_stock production in her test database.

Some decaffeinated coffee exists on the production table, whereas others dont. If this coffee exists, we want to update the stock. If the coffee does not, we want to insert the coffee and the quantity.

MERGE INTO production.coffee_stock cs
USING staging.coffee_stock cse
ON cs.coffee_id = cse.coffee_id
        UPDATE SET quantity = cse.quantity
        INSERT (coffee_id,quantity)
        VALUES (cse.coffee_id, cse.quantity)
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After this test, she sends a PR to her colleagues for feedback. In the majority, they liked it, and this could significantly improve their ETL.

Indeed MERGE has a straightforward syntax and avoids using procedural language in our PostgreSQL database.

We can see which SQL command is executed in what conditions. We can perform the basic DML (UPDATE, DELETE, INSERT) commands with it.

Now Maria has a lot of work to migrate their ETL. Of course, she will begin with one of the less important ones to test it in production, ensure everything is fine, and then migrate everything bite by bite.

PS :

I did not choose the name of Maria on purpose, this was not related to MariaDB. But I found this fun so let's keep it :)

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Top comments (2)

rozhnev profile image
Slava Rozhnev

Nice article! I also wrote about MERGE operator here

yet_anotherdev profile image
Lucas Barret

I am definitely going to check this out