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Tim Mitchell

Tim Mitchell is a business intelligence consultant, author, trainer, and SQL Server MVP with over a decade of experience. Tim is the principal of Tyleris Data Solutions and is a Linchpin People teammate. Tim has spoken at international, regional, and local venues including the SQL PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQL Connections, SQL Saturday events, and various user groups and webcasts. He is a board member at the North Texas SQL Server User Group in the Dallas area. Tim is coauthor of the book SSIS Design Patterns, and is a contributing author on MVP Deep Dives 2. You can visit his website and blog at TimMitchell.net or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Tim_Mitchell.

SQL PASS 2010 Keynote, Day 1

The day 1 keynote was kicked off by a Tina Turner impersonator doing a rendition of “Simply the Best”.  Rushabh Mehta followed up with a Tina wig of his own, though he fortunately had a much less revealing outfit.  Rushabh starts off with an overview of the PASS activities for the year.  PASS has touched over 65,000 individuals this year through various outlets including the Summit, SQL Saturday, 24HOP, and local and virtual chapters.  By 2015, PASS is looking to deliver 1 million hours of content, have a worldwide membership of 250,000 throughout 5 global regions.  This year’s SQL PASS summit has 3807 registered attendees representing 48 countries.  In addition, 4,500 people registered to view the keynote streams.  Simon Sabin is hosting a group meeting to watch the keynotes as a group.

This year’s summit features 191 speakers, 44 of which are MVPs, delivering 168 community sessions over 3 days. In addition, there are 18 pre- and post-conference seminars.  DVD content is available for all community sessions; for the first time, the pre- and post-con seminars are also available for sale.  The expo hall was sold out for the first time ever.

SQL Clinic offers the opportunity to visit with the SQL CAT team directly.  Microsoft presence at SQL PASS is over 400 strong.

Some random attendee just won a new Dell laptop.  He happened to pick the chair with the winning envelope taped to the underside.

Just before the keynote, a video presentation takes us through the history of SQL Server.  Facial hair is both abundant and unruly.  The trip through the versions of this product is nostalgic, but more importantly, is a good reminder of how far this product has come in a relatively short period of time.

Keynote – Ted Kummert

Ted Kummert takes the stage, giving the requisite 5 minute feel-good prep talk before diving into the meat and potatoes of the presentation.  Notable mentions include the SQL Server team’s focus on three core concepts which helped to make the product what it is today:

  • Ease of use
  • Not just a database product, it’s an information platform
  • Capability to handle high-volume, mission-critical systems

Jesse Fountain joined Kummert during the keynote to briefly describe and demonstrate the new Parallel Datawarehouse (PDW) product, which will be available as an appliance solution sometime in December.  Fountain demonstrated by processing an 800 billion (yes, with a B) query in under 30 seconds, retrieving the results into PowerPivot as we watched.  Impressive!

Afterward, Microsoft customer Paulo Resende from Global Wealth Information Management took the stage to describe his experience with PDW.  I wish we could have heard more about his story.  Next, Dave Mariani from Yahoo joins Ted Kummert on stage.  Yahoo has to process 1.2 terabytes of data every day to run their advertising services, and they turned to SQL Server Analysis Services to solve this problem.  There are 3.5 billion events processed every day, creating a 12TB cube that is loaded continuously.  Query response times against this source are around 10 seconds (!!).

Project “Atlanta”

Microsoft Critical Advantage Program is announced today, aimed at mission critical applications.  In addition, Project “Atlanta” is currently in beta, which is intended to identify and head off problems before they become problems.  Bob Ward was invited up to discuss Atlanta in greater detail.  He starts off by displaying the ubiquitous error message “Cannot generate SSPI context”, and showed how this product can help track down the cause of this error by uploading error and configuration data to a cloud service for real-time troubleshooting without having to pick up the phone for support.  Atlanta can even show the history of such changes of a service account for the SQL Server service.  The beta is available now at http://www.microsoftatlanta.com/.

SQL Azure

Next up was the cloud discussion.  Characteristics of cloud computing include:

  • Self managed
  • Elastic scale
  • Agile and familiar

CTP previews are coming up shortly for Web Admin, Reporting, and Data Sync.  Windows Azure Marketplace, DataMarket is available now, which blends both private data and public domain data.  Adam Wilson, PM for the Azure product, demonstrates SQL Azure using the Contoso bike company.  First, we see a report built against cloud data, which can be deployed to an ASP.net application as a report part.  Next we jump to a weather data provider, retrieving meteorological to analyze bike sales versus weather trends.

SQL Server 2011 Denali

Kummert announces the release of SQL Server 2011 “Denali”, which is available for download today (a DVD will be provided to all SQLPASS attendees tomorrow).  He mentions an expanded BI reach – hopefully more details to come during tomorrow’s keynote.  Important mentions include significant changes to the SSIS platform, whereby some of the current standalone services will be server-managed.  Changes to data lineage was also mentioned as a teaser for the Wednesday keynote.

Project “Crescent” is mentioned as a web reporting and visualization tool.  Amir Netz, distinguished engineer for SQL Server BI team, takes the stage to show data retrieval and visualizations in PowerPivot.  “In PowerPivot, working with 100 million rows is as easy as working with 100,000 rows”, says he.  He demonstrates the execution of several queries performing a table scan of in-memory data, to the tune of 2 billion reads per, but the output shows that the queries return almost immediately.  His calculations indicate that he’s procession a trillion (yes, trillion) rows a minute.  Wow!  Netz’s presentation was by far the most interesting and entertaining so far, mixing incredible statistics with comedy and a few glitches in the presentation to keep the crowd engaged.  We see some very cool data visualizations using movie ratings as a basis for reporting.  This actually makes reporting look fun.

Tomorrow

For tomorrow’s keynote, we have the promise of more detailed discussion and demos of the changes for SSIS in Denali, which are expected to be the most sweeping upgrades yet of that product.

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