Looking Back at 2020

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In some sense I hate to do this. 2020 was a black swan event for the world, with a pandemic that caused changes all across the world in ways that many of us might never have thought possible.

For the data platform, perhaps one of the more startling changes was the demise of PASS. This organization has been a part of my life for the last 20 years, and while I've had my disagreements, I think they have brought the SQL Server and related communities closer than they might otherwise have been. I hope that any of you that have had dealings with PASS or been to an event will wish the best for the staff at HQ. Anika, Audrey, Craig, Erick, Leeza, Marcella, and others have really helped the community over the years, and I hope I get to see them in the future.

We didn't get a new version of SQL Server, though we got a number of cumulative updates. We also had quite a few updates to their tools, SSMS and ADS. The latest releases included a welcome change. You can now avoid installing ADS with SSMS if you run the installation from the command line. This was something requested and voted on by many people. Glad Microsoft is listening.

The other big thing that changed for many of us was the way we work. Our work environments dramatically changed, in a way that many managers would not have thought could be effective. Many organizations transitioned to remote work in March or April of 2020 and are still embracing the format. A few large tech companies will give people the option to work from home forever, though forever might be changed at some point. Some, like Microsoft, have picked dates next year, which I think is good. Choosing June or July makes sense, as it gives some stability for those with children.

At Redgate we went from requiring most people to be in the office to embracing a remote-first approach from this time onward. Lots of tech professionals have known this was possible, but haven't had the chance until the pandemic forced this upon us. I've seen many people and groups thrive, which shows us that the office might not be quite as important as we thought. We also changed our attitude from coping with this change to thriving under this new paradigm. I don't know what this will mean, and I certainly look forward to the chance to go back to Cambridge, but I'm not sure when that will be possible.

From the database perspective, much of 2020 felt somewhat like a blur. We had breaches, we had minor patches and changes. No big changes, no dramatic evolution of how we work with data, though I know all the cloud vendors would point to all the software releases they've during the year. I am hoping that 2021 starts to feel more normal, even if the pandemic continues to drag us along in the same manner. At least, I hope I adjust more.

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