Thursday, November 8, 2012

My PASS Summit 2012 Experience - Day 2 Keynote (LiveBlog)

Thursday is Women In Technology day at the PASS Summit.  This year I was able to wear a kilt  to show support for the fairer gender. 

The keynote started off with an overall PASS status update. Emphasis was given to the community, and how you can do much in the community without huge financial resources at your disposal.

Tomas LaRock stepped up and announced some additional awards being added to the PASS lineup. Jen Stirrup was awarded the PASSion award, and she totally deserves it for her contributions to recognizing Women In Technology.

PASS Summit 2013 was mentioned. It will be held October 15-18 in Charlotte, NC.

Quentin Clarke (Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Database Systems Group) spoke on data analysis and how businesses can use that data to market their business. This poses new challenges and problems when trying to analyze that data in a more real-time manner. 

A large package shipping company was mentioned, and the analytics that they perform to generate additional revenue by analyzing the contents of their data warehouse. The data life-cycle was discussed and demoed. Effective use of the data requires analysis and collaboration between multiple departments/companies to take full advantage of the advantages that proper analysis can reap.

Analyzing data from a movie theater company's data warehouse was demoed (utilizing PowerView). There was a mixed response as most DBAs and straight up developers were not incredibly impressed or interested. Karen Lopez tweeted that big data might not be interesting, but it is inevitable and that we need to at least be aware of the technology and how to work with it. As a DBA, I'm likely not going to be using Excel very frequently. If the demos could cover more information as to how things work under-the-hood, a lot more interest would be garnished. I think that's why Dr. DeWitt was so insanely popular last year.

The ability to add Azure as an Availability Replica was an awesome feature that was shown off toward the end of the demo.  The demo ended on a high note as more functions and features were demoed.

I'm really looking forward to Dr. DeWitt's session tomorrow. What a brilliant man!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My PASS Summit 2012 Experience - Day 1 Keynote (LiveBlog)

Bill Graziano opened the day with a PASS status update and Summit overview. Connect, Share, and Learn is still the mantra of PASS.  Community is of critical importance. No one can know everything, but together we can accomplish anything. Bill recognized many of the community volunteers. It was a great opportunity to realize and acknowledge the value of those that contribute to the community.

A new user group website was announced with additional and more valuable tools. These tools are designed to ease chapter management and administration. As a chapter leader, this excites me greatly.

A PASS BI conference in Chicago (at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers) was announced, April 10-12, 2013. The BI arena is growing rapidly and a dedicated conference is awesome.

It's an exciting time to be involved in PASS. PASS is growing (over 127,000 members) and is becoming much more globally focused. International growth has been tremendous. 57 countries are represented and additional growth opportunities are actively being developed.

Ted Summers (Corporate VP of Microsoft) presented the keynote. Microsoft is extremely excited about the release of SQL Server 2012. The release of SP1 for SQL Server 2012 was announced and was released today. I'm very excited about that as it addresses a performance issue that I had when testing SQL Server 2012.

Big/non-relational data (including, but not limited to, Hadoop) is still a big focus for Microsoft. Data storage requirements are only going to continue to increase in the future, so dealing with larger and larger amounts of data will continue to garnish attention.

In-memory technology was discussed and it was announced will be a feature in the next major version of SQL Server (codename: Hekaton). The technology was demoed and you can actually pin an entire table (including indexes and table structures) into RAM (the demo initially yielded a 5x gain in performance). You can also recompile SPROCs to run native in memory (in combination with in-memory configured for the table, this yielded nearly a 30x gain in performance in the demo).  Included is a tool that examines performance and recommends tables and SPROCs for in memory optimization. No code or hardware changes were needed to reap huge benefits.

Performance gains of an in memory column store index was also discussed.
Heketon makes SQL incredibly fast ("wicked fast") and since it's merely an enhancement to SQL Server, if you know SQL Server, you know Heketon.

Additional optimizations to the parallel data warehouse have yielded massive performance improvements in that arena as well.

An updated query processor was announced. PolyBase handles queries from multiple sources, including local and cloud sources.  This allows you to use standard T-SQL code to query Hadoop and other non-relational databases. You can even JOIN between relational and non-relational data. This will also be included in the next major version of SQL.

BI enhancements were announced. Excel 2013 is now a complete BI tool. PowerView has been integrated into Excel to provide exceptional BI functionality. Full interactive maps were demoed directly within Excel.  

Overall, the keynote on Wednesday was very exciting for the SQL Server professional.  I eagerly anticipate the next major release of SQL Server.