Today is the official start to the 2012 PASS Summit and I'm honored to have a seat at the Blogger's Table again. This is a set of tables set up in the back of the keynote room for people who blog frequently (I know) to share their thoughts on the keynote with the public, and appreciate the invitation from PASS to participate again.
The lights go down and they showed a video of PASS board members talking about what the PASS Summit means to each of them. It was well put together and I know that the PASS Summit has changed my life. Bill Graziano, the president of PASS comes out to address the crowd and talks about how the event has grown over the last 14 years. (This is my 10th consecutive Summit.) He asked all the people who have ever spoken at a PASS Summit, SQL Saturday, user group meeting, 24 hour of PASS or other like event to stand, and it was an impressive number of people who stood.
New developments over the last year include a simpler way to find local PASS chapters from the sqlpass.org website, and there are 20 Virtual Chapters available to take part in. He shared what PASS brings to individuals via local events, virtual events and and hands-on training. The number of events have grown over 80% this year, and have delivered over 543,000 hours of training in the last year.
The PASS Business Analytics conference will take place in Chicago April 10-12, 2013. PASS is expanding to encompass the expanding focus on data, especially the focus on 'big data' throughout the world. Registration for this event is open now.
PASS is also expanding its focus on the international community (sqlpass.org/community/globalgrowth) and is gathering community feedback from around the world to better serve the global community. PASS is considering bylaw changes to allow appointment to board seats based on geographic location to help support this community.
Microsoft has sent 300 engineers to the PASS Summit. (This is why I love the fact that the Summit is held in Seattle so regularly.) If you have ANY questions about using SQL Server in any configuration, the CSS team has probably seen it, and can help solve the problems.
On Twitter you can follow the events this week using the #sqlpass or the #summit12 hashtags.
Ted Kummert, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft takes the stage to talk about Accelerating insight on any data. He talks about the SQL Server family and how the Summit is like the family reunion, and welcomed all the first-timers to the family.
He showed a picture of the people involved in the release of SQL Server 2012 on the day they signed off on the release. He said that we (the PASS community) is part of the release as well, as they built it to meet our needs and requests. He announced the release of Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2012.
The world of data is changing. Data is becoming a principle focus for business and organizations are realizing this. There are new types and new sources of data. Storage volumes increase to allow us to store more and more data. Architectural assumptions have to change to allow processing that data in ways that were never before possible. The cloud is a way to build infrastructure, along with new hardware and software that can handle incredible volumes to provide new insights on business. Services powered by data analytics allow companies to improve customer service because they can see the trends that were never visible before.
In-memory databases are one focus. Queries against a database in memory are naturally much faster, and Microsoft is building those types of solutions into the product (such as the tabular model in SSAS, and columnstore indexes.) They're bringing in-memory transactional processing engine (known as 'hekaton') to SQL Server. Hekaton will be part of the next release of SQL Server. They demonstrated an app that improved performance by almost 30 times by using in-memory tables and optimizing stored procedures to use those in-memory tables, without changing the application. In the next release of SQL Server, the columnstore indexes will be updateable and can be defined as the clustered index, so the performance gains will be significant.
Another key part of the strategy is to manage any data, any size, anywhere, so they brought in Hadoop and other technologies. Microsoft HDInsight Server is in CTP at this point, and in preview they're providing Windows Azure HDinsight Service. Parallel Data Warehouse has been out for a while now and is another key component in this strategy. The next release of PDW will be in the first half of calendar year 2012 (SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse) with up to 50x performance gains and optimized architecture.
Another announcement is a product called PolyBase, which will unify queries between relational, PDW and Hadoop data, and query data in place regardless of it's location. Using PolyBase you can use Transact-SQL, create an 'external table' to the non-relational data, and query the non-relational data using the query syntax you already know.
Microsoft is focusing on providing "BI for Everyone", integrating BI into everyday solutions that end users and professionals can use comfortably. The next step in self-service BI includes Office 2013 and SQL Server 2012 SP1. Power View and Power Pivot are now fully integrated into Excel 2013. With that integration you simply have to enable Power View and with one click you can integrate a map view of your data into your worksheet. And now, Power View can access MOLAP cubes in Analysis Services via DAX queries.
It was a good keynote and I'm excited about these new ways to get at disparate data quickly and easily.
Allen White is a consultant and mentor for Upsearch Technology Services in Northeast Ohio. He has worked as a Database Administrator, Architect and Developer for over 30 years, supporting both the Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server platforms over that period.