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.

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