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James Serra's Blog

James is currently a Senior Business Intelligence Architect/Developer and has over 20 years of IT experience. James started his career as a software developer, then became a DBA 12 years ago, and for the last five years he has been working extensively with Business Intelligence using the SQL Server BI stack (SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS). James has been at times a permanent employee, consultant, contractor, and owner of his own business. All these experiences along with continuous learning has helped James to develop many successful data warehouse and BI projects. James has earned the MCITP Business Developer 2008, MCITP Database Administrator 2008, and MCITP Database Developer 2008, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. His blog is at .

PASS 2012 Announcements

Some announcements and notes from the SQL PASS Summit 2012 last week (If you don’t know what PASS is, check out What is SQL PASS?):

  • PASS Summit 2012 had 3,894 delegates – up 13% from last year’s previous record attendance – and 1,717 pre-conference registrations across 57 countries for a total of 5,611 registrations
  • SQLRally Nordic will hold their third event in November 2013.  No SQLRally in the US mentioned yet – it was put on hold earlier this year
  • The first PASS Business Analytics Conference will be held in Chicago April 10-12, 2013.  Check out the official website
  • There is a new in-memory database technology, called Project Hekaton.  Furthering Microsoft’s commitment to deliver in-memory solutions as part of their data platform, they introduced Project codenamed “Hekaton,” available in the next major release of SQL Server (no release dates announced).  Currently in private technology preview with a small set of customers, which company officials are planning to expand to 100 before the end of this calendar year, “Hekaton” will complete Microsoft’s portfolio of in-memory capabilities across analytics and transactional scenarios, meaning Hekaton is for OLTP (similar to what xVelocity is for datawarehousing).  It will provide breakthrough performance gains 10 times for existing apps and up to 50 times for new applications optimized for in-memory performance.  And because it will be built into SQL Server, customers won’t need to buy specialized hardware or software and will be able to easily migrate existing applications to benefit from the dramatic gains in performance.  See Breakthrough performance with in-memory technologies and How Fast is Project Codenamed “Hekaton” – It’s ‘Wicked Fast’! and Hekaton Query Acceleration Technology FAQs and Hekaton Breaks Through
  • SQL Server 2012 SP1 is out.  Download it here.  The Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 Feature Pack was also updated to SP1.  Download it here.  The main feature in this service pack is support for the PowerPivot and Power View analytics capabilities in Office 2013.  There are other new features in SQL Server 2012 SP1 as well, detailed in this MSDN post
  • Columnstore indexes will be updatable and can be clustered indexes.  Available in the next major release of SQL Server
  • Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW): Version 2 coming out first-half of 2013 (called SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse).  Will have columnstore index support (along with the new columnstore index features of being updatable and able to be a clustered index).  Also uses Windows 2012 Storage Spaces.  They demoed a 1PB data warehouse query finishing in under two seconds.  Will include a new data-processing engine called PolyBase, which is designed to enable queries across relational data and non-relational Hadoop data.  You can create an external table in SQL Server (kinda like a linked server) and you can query it with T-SQL.  Microsoft Technical Fellow David Dewitt is one of the principals behind PolyBase.  PolyBase will be used in PDW for now, and later it will be added to SQL Server.  See Seamless insights on structured and unstructured data with SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse.  PDW will also have an updated distributed query processor and a new admin console. See The EDW evolution continues and it is Bigger, Faster and Better ! and video Parallel Data Warehouse Version 2
  • The CTP for Microsoft HDInsight Server is now available.  HDInsight Server is the name given to the next iteration of Hadoop capabilities
  • Power View can be used on a multidimensional cube.  It is Analysis Services 2012 that will be updated to support DAX queries being run on a Multidimensional model, enabling the use of Power View as well as any future tool generating DAX queries on top of a Multidimensional model.  There are still no info about availability, but this is not included in SQL Server 2012 SP1.  The update to the OLAP SSAS engine will occur at some date in the future, as well as an update to Power View for SharePoint and Power View for Excel.  See Power View on SSAS Multidimensional.  UPDATE on 11/29/12: The CTP for this is now available: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 With Power View For Multidimensional Models CTP
  • Viewing Reporting Services reports on iPad is supported starting with SQL Server 2012 SP1, which has been released
  • iOS, Android and Microsoft mobile platforms: the commitment is to get data exploration and visualization capabilities working within June 2013. This should impact at least Power View and SharePoint/Excel Services
  • An interesting thing I saw was a new UI for managing SQL Server that was web-based.  It’s pretty slick, but I’m wondering where that’s going to go

You can view the PASS Summit Keynote presentations here.

More info:

#SQLPASS Summit Keynote Liveblog – Day 1

PASS Summit 2012: Accelerating Business through Data Insights

Microsoft In-Memory Move Challenges SAP, Oracle

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