#PASSdataCommunitySummit Keynote Day 2 Live Blog


I’m in Seattle for the PASS Data Community Summit, and the day 2 keynote is about to start. This year, now that Redgate owns the Summit event, they’re doing the day 2 keynote. Gotta pay the bills, I suppose!

Redgate’s CEO, Jakub Lamik, is leading a team of speakers for the keynote, and here’s the abstract:

These are challenging times for every business everywhere. So how can you ensure you get the most from your investment in IT, to meet your needs now, while also preparing you for an uncertain future? Join Jakub Lamik, Steve Jones and Kathi Kellenberger in this keynote which looks at how the world is changing for data professionals, and the areas to focus on which will bring the best return on your investment in the long term.

Given that it’s essentially a vendor keynote, it would be safe to assume that it’s advertising for Redgate’s products. Over the last couple of years, they’ve focused more and more on DevOps tooling.

I’ll be live-blogging the keynote, sharing my thoughts about what happens. You can refresh the post to follow along – the most current notes will be at the bottom, so if you’re reading later, you can read through the recap as it happened.

7:57AM: as folks enter, the soundtrack is very smoooooth jaaaaaaaazzzzz. Easy listening. I think they know how hung over I am. In related news: I had a great time last night at Matt’s in the Market, and then Rumba.

8:04AM: people slowly filing in. The picture looks empty, but it’s just because it takes quite a while to upload photos over the wifi, so I started early.

8:06AM: Cecilia Judmann, events manager for Redgate, took the stage for her first Summit too. I wanna say I saw that 40% of the attendees are here for their first Summit, period. That’s amazing! So cool to get fresh blood in.

8:10AM: Steve Jones took the stage. Summit and Redgate both started in 1999. Steve was there at the very first Summit! That’s wild. He talked about how attendees used to dash from session to session, taking notes on paper, because back then laptops weren’t really feasible and the battery life was terrible.

8:14AM: Steve really misses the Casino Night party they used to put on. I miss that too! I only got to attend one of ’em – my schedule was a zoo – but I would love to attend that again.

8:16AM: In 1999, the conference was 75 sessions with 1,200 attendees. 2019, it had grown to 200 sessions, 21 pre-conference workshops, and 4,000 attendees.

8:18AM: SQLPrompt was Redgate’s first DevOps attempt. They started pair programming, trying to release fixes within a week. They were able to push 100+ releases in a year. That might sound like a lot of patches, but it’s totally fair – people do TERRIBLE things with their T-SQL and tables, and I’m sure SQLPrompt had to deal with an insane number of edge cases.

8:19AM: Steve Jones and a couple of other folks founded SQLServerCentral about 20 years ago, and Redgate acquired that as well (like they acquired SQLPrompt) in order to make the community better. Hey, I see a theme here! Redgate’s been making smart acquisitions for a long time. I like the theme of this.

8:21AM: When the business organization behind the PASS Summit imploded due to the pandemic, Redgate acquired the assets because the Summit was too good and too big to fail. Plus, Redgate spun off SQLSaturday, the community events, to a separate non-profit.

8:22AM: Redgate CEO Jakub Lamik took the stage to talk about why Redgate believed that the Summit was important to preserve. Data has been important for 20 years, and it’ll continue to be important for the next 20 years, too.

8:26AM: Lamik discussed how open source is increasingly popular across all segments, including the enterprise. Small teams can get traction quickly with open source tools and generate value. This may not sound like a revolutionary point, but remember where it’s being discussed: from the keynote stage at what used to be a very Microsoft-specific data conference. It took a long, long time before things like AWS and GCP were discussed here, let alone alternate databases. Redgate hosting this event means they can be more frank about the reality of other databases – after all, they sell tooling for other databases.

8:28AM: The top databases used by developers in the Stack Overflow survey were PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, and then #4, Microsoft SQL Server. Again, this is the kind of discussion we gotta have. It’s not that you can’t make a career out of Microsoft SQL Server alone – you can – but it helps to remember your context, and data lives everywhere.

8:32AM: Data work involves a lot of steps – coding, testing, deployment, troubleshooting, etc. If you multiply that across lots of different databases, it means everything’s a hot mess of variations, probably all manual footwork. Redgate wants to treat all databases the same way to reduce errors, improve time to deliver solutions, and let less people manage more stuff.

8:33AM: David Bick, head of product management, took the stage to discuss how Flyway, the open source migration tool Redgate acquired in 2015, supports 25+ databases including PostgreSQL, SQL Server, Snowflake, MySQL, Oracle, etc. It’s still open source, but there’s now a Flyway Enterprise layer atop it as well.

8:41AM: Video demo of Flyway watching a database server, noticing a table change, and checking that change into source control. The pull request kicked off a series of automated tests to make sure things compiled, didn’t throw errors, etc. Then in Github, the DBA gets a list of changes and deployment scripts. (I love the idea of this, but I’m probably biased because I actually love Github, and I know it’s foreign to a lot of DBAs.)

8:42AM: Demoing Redgate Clone to restore the 400GB Stack Overflow database for deployment purposes. If you actually have to do this restore, it’s slow as hell (I know, because I have to do this regularly) – and it’s only going to be worse if you’re doing it in a low-powered container being used for automated testing. You don’t wanna wait 20-30-40 minutes for a restore to run in order to test a 1-line T-SQL script. Clone looks like a no-brainer for automated testing, and I can see how it adds value to Flyway.

8:44AM: Flyway Enterprise supports SQL Server and Oracle today. PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Redgate Clone will hit in Q1 2023.

8:45AM: Jakub came back onstage to talk about how DBAs are now supposed to be datacenter-agnostic. We’re expected to support on-premises and cloud databases, and data that flows back & forth.

8:47AM: Arneh Eskandari, Solutions Engineering Manager for Redgate, came onstage to say, “On-prem databases aren’t going away anytime soon.” Again, this is good to hear from the keynote stage. Microsoft speakers often make it sound like Azure is the only thing anyone is deploying today, and that simply isn’t true – and it sends the wrong message to attendees. This is the honest message, and this is good.

8:55AM: wifi bombed out there for a few minutes. For tomorrow’s keynote with Kimberly Tripp, I’ll do the liveblogging differently – I’ll just tweet it, and then edit the tweets together into a blog post after the event. (Plus, I don’t wanna carry my laptop around the conference tomorrow – my last session is today, a lightning talk about fragmentation in the afternoon.)

8:56AM: Jakub back onstage. “Everything is changing. The role of database professionals is evolving. The need for data professionals is bigger than ever.”

8:58AM: Kathi Kellenberger, Redgate Customer Success Engineer and the Queen of SQL Karaoke, took the stage. Of the 377 speakers at this event, more speakers than ever are first-timers. Kathi and Redgate are committed to help your career – by getting you up onstage speaking, helping keep Summit and SQLSaturday alive, SQLServerCentral and Simple Talk help you solve problems.

9:06AM: Kathi explained how writing articles for SQLServerCentral and SimpleTalk was the entry point in her career back in 2005, helping her sharpen her skills by helping others, and it opened lots of doors for her. She eventually went to work for Redgate as SimpleTalk’s editor, and now that role has been passed on to Louis Davidson. (He’s back home in Tennessee working on the hybrid side of the Summit.)

9:09AM: Kathi’s now on the Customer Success team, making sure customers can successfully leverage the software. With something as complex and ever-changing as DevOps, you actually need that layer of consulting. A lot of complex apps end up becoming shelfware, sitting on the shelf without anyone using ’em, because the tool was just too hard, not intuitive enough, or not documented well. Customer Success teams help mitigate that problem, which means companies are more likely to get hooked on that complex software, and then stick with it, paying maintenance over the years. Everybody wins.

9:10AM: The Redgate 100 is their list of top database community influencers. (Hey, I’m in there!)

It’s a wrap! Off to the conference.

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