I agree that the PASS keynotes are often just marketing. And too often the marketing is aimed at senior managers rather than technical staff.
When I see a glitzy application demonstrated, I feel 'so what', any organisation can create a glitzy application given enough time. What I want to know is how it was done and how long it took to design and build. For most of the product demos, we were given no indication that the build took 1 year or 1 week. But if we had been shown how to do the build in 1 week that would have woken me up!
The keynote on Friday was the best I have heard at PASS. The only drawback is that it reminded me very much of a presentation at IDUG in 1998 describing much the same features in the recently launched DB2/PE. Even so, it will be great to have these features in SQL Server. I look forward to seeing how SQL Server deals with adding nodes to an existing shared nothing environment, which was a big availability problem in early releases of DB2/PE for hashed distributions.
So, for the future it would be great to have keynotes that stretch the mind, rather than just showing us what we get if we read the manual.
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