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PASS Summit Keynote Day 1

PASS Summit Keynote Day 1

Good morning, folks! Lights, camera, action – it’s time for the first keynote presentation at the Professional Association for SQL Server Summit.  It’s the annual international conference for Microsoft database folks.  This year it’s in Seattle, Washington again.

Over the next two hours, I’ll be expanding this post with minute-by-minute notes of what’s being covered by Microsoft and the PASS executives.  You can refresh this page and see the latest notes.  Enjoy!

You can watch the keynote over the web here.

8:13AM – People filing in, lots of folks surrounding the blogger table. Tough to ignore all the cool people while I’m getting set up. Ah, dear reader, the sacrifices I make for you. ;-)

8:15AM – PASS’s Kathy Blomstrom has informed us that “As of this morning, 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.”

8:19AM – PASS President Bill Graziano is taking the stage to talk about the numbers and what makes PASS successful – grassroots community involvement around the world.

PASS President Bill Graziano

PASS President Bill Graziano

8:22AM – Bill: “We are 12,000 – excuse me, make that 120,000 people strong.” That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

8:23AM – The PASS Board will be holding another open session this year for Q&A.  It’s important for the community to continue to be open and accept the tough questions, and I’m glad they continue to open the kimono.  Wait, maybe I don’t want to see inside that kimono, heh.

8:28AM – 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.

8:29AM – Over 543,000 hours of training delivered by the community for the community this year.  (This is calculated with attendee numbers – if one person leads a one-hour sess

8:31AM – The first PASS Business Analytics Conference will be held in Chicago April 10-12, 2013.

8:31AM – Microsoft announcing their new in-memory database technology, Project Hekaton.  This didn’t come from the stage – @JamieT caught it.  Excerpt:

Furthering Microsoft’s commitment to deliver in-memory solutions as part of our data platform, today we are introducing Project codenamed “Hekaton,” available in the next major release of SQL Server. Currently in private technology preview with a small set of customers, “Hekaton” will complete Microsoft’s portfolio of in-memory capabilities across analytics and transactional scenarios. It will provide breakthrough performance gains of up to 50 times, 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.

8:36AM – SQL Server 2012 SP1 out today.

8:39AM - Ted Kummert taking the stage. He’s Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Data Platform Group. He usually leads the Microsoft part of the Day 1 keynote and hands demos off to individual Microsofties.

8:40AM – Ted: “I continue to be impressed by how this community invests in itself.” That’s a great way of saying it – we’re all trying to improve our skills and improve those around us to increase our overall value.

Ted Kummert onstage at SQLPASS

Ted Kummert onstage at SQLPASS

8:42AM – Officially announcing SQL Server 2012 SP1 available today. (I caught this earlier in the press release.) Interesting that there’s absolutely no applause for this.

8:43AM – Showing a video of attendees talking about the change they’ve seen in their career and what they’re excited about for the future.  Looks like it was taken at a feedback group in the last couple of days with a combination of customers, consultants, and MVPs.

8:46AM – Starting to talk about big data.  “Approaching the tipping point.”  Talking about how we need to reason over large amounts of data every time we serve people a page.  This is where I start to get a little twitchy – the other way to think about big data is sloppy programming, but I digress.  There *is* legitimate big data, but if you reason over large datasets for each web page you serve, you’re doing it wrong.

8:49AM – Microsoft Research worked with hospitals to conquer the re-admittance problem: patients that had to come back to the hospital to get their problems solved.  They used machine learning to give patients better care to reduce return visits. Or as I like to call it, “euthanasia.”

8:50AM – “If the full dataset fits in memory, amazing transformations are possible.” Ayup. This should not be news to any database professional, let alone any database manufacturer, and it’s a little frustrating that we’d be reacting to this in the next version of SQL Server rather than, say, 2008.  I don’t envy Microsoft’s challenges in predicting the future, but this one seems a little obvious.

Project Hekaton

Project Hekaton

8:56AM – Demoing SQL Server Classic up against Hekaton.  Classic is running 2,000 transactions per second, but running into latching problems.  (Latching often means a lack of indexes.) This already sounds like a cooked demo specially created to show how fitting stuff in memory AND applying the right indexes makes things faster.  Moving it to Hekaton got a 10x improvement at around 20,000 transactions per second.

8:59AM – By modifying the stored proc, we’re up over 60,0000 transactions per second.  They didn’t cover what the modifications are, and I’ll leave that to you to think about.

9:01AM – Demoing column store indexes as a way to show performance improvements by keeping data in memory.  This works in SQL Server 2012, but coming in the next major release, they’ve added two new improvements: it’s updatable, and it can be the clustered index.  It’ll be interesting to see how they describe the differences between these to end users, and how the licensing will work.  These scream Enterprise Edition only.

9:04AM – Rick from online gaming company BWin talking about using Project Hekaton to improve their session state database. They were maxed out at around 15k transactions per second – and yes, these guys really optimize the bejeezus out of their stuff.  They’re been able to hit over 250k transactions per second with Hekaton.

9:06AM – Over 1.5mm units of the in-memory database in customers’ hands.  They’re referring to the in-memory columnar analytics stuff, which includes Excel, so that’s a little tricky – but it’s such an awesome time in technology when this kind of technology is available to end users on their laptops.

9:08AM – Ted says they’re building a lot around the Apache Hadoop infrastructure and they want you to be able to leverage everything that the Hadoop ecosystem provides.  “This may not be technology that you’re familiar with, but I’d encourage you to discover them and use the samples.”  Microsoft needs you, dear reader, to keep your skills current so Microsoft can bring you new tools and you can adopt ‘em.  No pressure – I’m just sayin’.

9:10AM – SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse will be coming in H1 2013, and it lowers costs by using Windows 2012 Storage Spaces. Christian Kleinerman onstage to demo it.

Christian Kleinerman and Ted Kummert

Christian Kleinerman and Ted Kummert

9:16AM - Christian Kleinerman demoing a 1PB data warehouse query finishing in under two seconds. It’s tough to do justice to this kind of thing in a 5-minute demo.  Like Kummert says, it’s a heck of a tough audience, and we take a lot of this with grains of salt.  There’s no mention of the hardware performance, storage performance, number of columns in the table that we’re not selecting, etc.

9:18AM – Official SQL Server 2012 SP1 download link here.

9:20AM – Microsoft went to Dr. David DeWitt with a question – how should the query processor change?  The answer was PolyBase, a new breakthrough in data processing for queries over relational and Hadoop data, in place.

9:21AM – Demoing Microsoft HDInsight’s web-based console using JavaScript or Hive.  That’s cool, but people don’t know T-SQL – so that’s where PolyBase comes in.  Create an external table in SQL Server (kinda like a linked server) and you can query it with T-SQL.

9:28AM – A few very awkward “BI moment” phrases which bombed.  Now showing a Great Western Bank customer video talking about how quickly they were able to recoup their BI investment in a 30TB data warehouse.  “BI makes heroes, and there’s not a lot of tools that can do that.”  I think that’s a great quote for executives, but not in a room full of developers.  Visual Studio makes heroes too.

9:30AM – Ted: “Excel is now the complete end user BI tool.”  Die, Access.  Die in a fire.

9:32AM – Amir Netz onstage! He’s the wild card of the demo crew.

Amir Netz preparing to demo Excel 2013

Amir Netz preparing to demo Excel 2013

9:33AM – Demoing data visualization with Bing maps inside Excel.  Looks absolutely gorgeous – except for the freakin’ CAPS LOCK MENUS. Jeebus, these things bother me.  But yeah, this is a great visualization tool, and if I was an SSRS person, I’d be worried.  The same guys who love handling data in Access will love bypassing the BI crew by building their own tools in Excel.

9:37AM – Visualizing data by combining the movie award data with 11mm tweets to see when people were tweeting about movies.  Counts terms extraction by actors and actresses – Brad Pitt versus George Clooney, etc.  “Imagine that you’re a brand manager – actor names are brand names.”

9:42AM – Not much going on here. Just showing Excel moving charts. While Amir Netz is upbeat and fun, he isn’t really communicating anything technical here.

9:49AM – Audience clapping wildly, biggest applause so far, for transparent images of Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. This is a little…awkward?  The PASS folks unveiled a new code of conduct aimed at avoiding harassment, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone complained about the appropriateness of these.

9:51AM – And we’re done! Off to a day of learnin’.

Want More? Check Out Day 2′s Liveblog.

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