PASS Summit Keynote by Tom Casey (#sqlpass)


I’ll be liveblogging this morning’s keynotes at the PASS Summit.  Refresh this page for the latest news.

10:02 – Tom’s focusing on the ROI of BI, and suddenly I get it.  The database engine works great.  Now we’re bolting things on top of it to make every end user in the company see the value of using SQL Server as their engine.  Before things like this, you could have swapped back ends with MySQL, Oracle, whatever.  Now, end users will get real value out of using SQL Server as the engine.

10:01 – Kilimanjaro will include the self-service analysis in Gemini, plus the self service reporting, collaboration and management inside Sharepoint.  Interesting – that’s like the SQL 2005 SP2 approach they took with SSRS integration in Sharepoint!

10:00 – Donald just joked about how Gemini isn’t Jim and I, and he said, “Thanks to Joe Webb for that one.”  Holy cow – what a funny use of Twitter to bond with your audience.  Andy Leonard said, “I got goosebumps!”

9:59 – showed an absolutely unbelievable time lapse graph in Sharepoint to show application popularity,  The more popular it got, the graphs moved around and showed interest.  Totally stunning.  That one graph will sell deployments.

9:55 – Donald’s showing Sharepoint as the consumer tool for SQL Server Analysis Services the same way it became for SSRS in SQL 2005 SP2.  One thing to manage.  Absolutely beautiful graphs.  I don’t use Sharepoint enough (nothing against it at all), but if it looks this good, I’ll be all over it.

9:53 – The promise of Gemini is two-fold: end user empowerment, and tracking and management for IT.  Bringing control and accountability into the system so that we can embrace it with the right management and control.  Gemini refers to the twins, and we’re about to see the second half of the twin.

9:48 – Talking about putting BI in context, delivering it as a smaller piece of a bigger application.  I’m thinking of Amazon’s “people who bought this also bought” and I like that approach.  Now wrapping up and going to spend 10-15 minutes with Donald Farmer.

9:43 – Think bigger about BI, they say: bigger deployments, bigger data volumes, better TCO, end user empowerment, etc.  This plays right into the Excel deployment of BI.  If you want to grow the BI deployment rate, you make it a part of a really common tool like that.

9:40 – Tom’s slide made a great point about SQL Server DBAs: “You are on your way to becoming a BI expert.”  Great point because it’s the same toolset we use for tiny OLTP systems versus huge BI systems.  All of your skills are applicable.

9:37 – Donald Farmer pointed out that she’s building reports against a nearly 2 terabyte cube.  Yes, but that doesn’t make it any more exciting.  It’s still watching a report being built.  If you want excitement, just show the report run, like the DATAllegro demo yesterday.

9:34 – Watching someone else build a report is like watching paint dry.  Carolyn’s a good presenter, doing a good job of showing it, but – jeeez, this is some boring content for this audience.  Well, for me anyway.

9:28 – SSRS 2005’s Report Builder started to democratize the development of reports, but Carolyn Chau is now on stage to show us how Report Builder 2.0 is easier.  Designed around the Office 2007 ribbon UI.

Tom Casey Onstage
Tom Casey Onstage

9:27 – Focusing on large data warehouse tools and benchmarks, like the Unisys load of 1.1 terabytes in under 30 minutes.  Oracle and Informatica’s record was 45 minutes for 1tb.

9:25 – Tom is talking about the scale-up story.  5% of data warehouses are 25tb or more, and SQL Server 2008 focused on that.  Those job skills are safe, he says, despite the DATAllegro acquisition.

9:22 – Donald Farmer is sending tweets live during the keynote, responding to the community.  I really applaud that – it makes the keynote so much more interactive and personal.  Plus, keep in mind that Twitter isn’t a Microsoft tool.  That kind of personal commitment is awesome.

9:20 – Tom explains that these tools make BI more continuous and interactive so that BI isn’t done by specialized professionals, it’s done by everyone.  I would agree, but I would clarify that end users are CONSUMING it, not “doing” it.  Otherwise, this is great.

9:17 – Demoing PerformancePoint-based dashboards, Live search integrated with a map, communication between management to set expectations.  This screams consulting dollars.

Bruno Aziza and Tom Casey
Bruno Aziza and Tom Casey

9:13 – While Tom talked about BI for everyone and BI being pervasive, the demo is clearly not built by end users.  They can slice and dice, but we’re still talking about an application that’s set up and modeled by BI professionals.  Whew.  Our jobs are safe.

9:10 – Bruno’s showing a single web browser with his contacts, his email, his My Documents, his dashboard, etc. It’s like a collapsed version of Office that centers on you and your work, NOT which application you’re in.  Interesting.

9:08 – Bruno Aziza, Business Architect in Enterprise Marketing is showing off Contoso Oil & Gas BI demo with Sharepoint, search, BI, PerformancePoint and more.  He’s playing operations manager of oil rigs in North America.

9:05 – Tom’s talking about BI for everyone, specifically giving people actionable information.  They’re going to talk about the second half of the twin (Gemini) that relates to us IT professionals.

9:03 – Tom Casey is onstage talking about the 136 chapters of PASS with 32,500 members in 38 countries.

Kathi Kellenberger wins 2008 PASSion Award
Kathi Kellenberger wins 2008 PASSion Award

9:00 – PASSion Award Winner of 2008 is Kathi Kellenberger!

8:56 – You can try out SQL Server 2008 at  Get a free account and play around with it without installing anything.  Powered by Dell, MaximumASP and Microsoft.

Rushabh Mehta
Rushabh Mehta

8:55 – Announcing PASSPort, a new tool in the virtual SQL Server community that helps you connect, share, learn and be recognized by other SQL Server professional.  Rushabh’s showing it and it looks pretty interesting.

8:52 – The new site is out of beta.  It features hundreds of hours of presentation content.  I love this.

Rushabh Mehta and his Vespa
Rushabh Mehta and his Vespa

8:50 – 92% of the revenue comes from this conference – 72% from the summit, 14% from the expos & sponsorship.  Despite a bad economy, they’re projecting a pretty hefty growth – from $2.6m in FY 2008 to $4.3m in FY 2009.

8:45 – Rushabh’s going through housekeeping stuff about PASS – the parties tonight, financial statements, etc.

8:40 AM – Rushabh Mehta just arrived onstage on a Vespa.  Carrying on a conversation with an offscreen narrator about being jealous of Donald Farmer’s hair.

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