Category Archives: PASS Summit

Speaking at PASS Summit 2012

It’s Not A Repeat

Speaking at the PASS Summit last year was one of the highlights of my career. I had a single regular session initially and picked up an additional session due to a drop in the schedule. Both talks were fun and I got some solid feedback.

The Boy Did Good

I won’t say great, there were some awesome sessions last year. I did do well enough to get an invite to submit for all the “invite only sessions”. I was stunned. I don’t have any material put together for a half day or a full day session yet and the window to submit sessions was a lot smaller this year. But I do have three new sessions and all of them could easily be extended from 75 minutes to 90 minutes. So, I submitted for both regular sessions and spotlight sessions and got one of both! WOO HOO!

The Lineup

I’ll be covering two topics near and dear to my heart.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My SAN [DBA-213-S]
Session Category: Spotlight Session (90 minutes)
Session Track: Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment

SANs and NASs have their challenges, but they also open up a whole new set of tools for disaster recovery and high availability. In this session, we’ll cover several different technologies that can make up a Storage Area Network. From Fibre Channel to iSCSI, there are similar technologies that every vendor implements. We’ll talk about the basics that apply to most SANs and strategies for setting up your storage. We’ll also cover SAN pitfalls as well as SQL Server-specific configuration optimizations that you can discuss with your storage teams. Don’t miss your chance to ask specific questions about your SAN problems.

I’ve built a career working with SAN and System Administrators. The goal of this session is to get you and your SAN Administrator speaking the same language, and to give you tools that BOTH of you can use to measure the health and performance of your IO system.


Integrating Solid State Storage with SQL Server [DBA-209]
Session Category: Regular Session (75 minutes)
Session Track: Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment

As solid state becomes more mainstream, there is a huge potential for performance gains in your environment. In this session, we will cover the basics of solid state storage, then look at specific designs and implementations of solid state storage from various vendors. Finally, we will look at different strategies for integrating solid state drives (SSDs) in your environment, both in new deployments and upgrades of existing systems. We will even talk about when you might want to skip SSDs and stay with traditional disk drives.

I’ve spoken quite a bit on solid state storage fundamentals this time around I’ll be tackling how people like myself and vendors are starting to mix SSD’s into the storage environment. Where it makes sense and where it can be a huge and costly mistake.


I hope to see you at the Summit again this year! Always feel free to come say hi and chat a bit. Networking is as important as the sessions and you will build friendships that last a lifetime.

PASS Keynote Day 3


It’s the last day of the 2011 PASS Summit. I can’t wait to get some sleep on the plane tomorrow.

Wayne Snyder, hero

Wayne has been a huge mover and shaker inside and outside the PASS community. His impact on the community is immeasurable.

Buck and Rob sing!

Here’s hoping their performance makes it to youtube! Just a great way to kick off an early Friday.


David Dewitt talks big data. eBay managing 10 petabytes on 256 nodes on a parallel database system. Facebook on the other hand, uses a NoSQL system. Housing 20 petabytes on 2700 notes. Relational isn’t going away and it does scale.


Doesn’t mean No to SQL it is meant to mean Not Only SQL. David is really breaking down the NoSQL, and taking a couple of swings at the developers too.  Hes tone has changed a bit from last year about NoSQL, which is fine he is a smart guy.

Two Major Types of NoSQL

Key/Value Stores MongoDB, CouchBase Cassandra tipically have a flexable model and usually partitions, or shards, on a hash. NoSQL OLTP


NoSQL Data warehouse

Scaleable, fault tolerant framework. Really meant for storing MASSIVE amounts of data. Really used for analytics and question answering.

Paradigm shift?

NoSQL isn’t a paradigm shift! Relational isn’t going away. NoSQL is another way to get to your data and use it.

I’m not gonna blog everything David talked about, it is a simple overview of Hadoop, so it is crazy detailed and way to much info to put up on my little blog post about today. Go watch the keynote online. Then go watch it again. Finally, watch it again then start asking questions.

Great keynote yet again! I’ll be in the SQL Clinic most of the day so come talk to me about your storage issues and share your stories with me.

PASS Summit Keynote Day 2

Bill Graziano opened the day with some very white knees as kilt day kicked off at the Summit this year! Lots and lots white legs showing their love of this great community.

Lori Edwards was announced as the PASSion award winner and it is well deserved. I’ve known Lori for a few years and she has always been a deticated volunteer……..

Not Denali, SQL Server 2012
We got a nice feature overview of some of the 2012 features. They are still touting the feature list as the largest in any single release of SQL Server.

I can’t tell you how big a feature this is for us as a whole. I gets us closer to true shared nothing environments.

The AlwaysOn dashboard is more than just red/green dashboard. It actually helps you troubleshoot problems.


I Think ZoomIt was probably the most popular feature of 2012 according to the cheers from the bloggers table every time it was used.


This is a large part of the improvements across the board from loadng and ETL to query processing.

Column Store

Again this year column store is a huge feature that was announced last year at the summit.

Talking in X’s

I’m not talking about your ex they are throwing around performance increases like 10x 50x or 100x. I’d like to see real numbers or live demos to back it up.

Self Service, Power View and PowerPivot

BI is becomeing more and more adhoc and end user friendly with more tools, tighter intergration. Shifting from a backend maintainer to an end user maintainable product.

Cloud, Azure and Appliances

Lots of talk about Azure and appliances. They are acknowledging that you need to be able to manage these new deployments and are developing management packs.

Only one Dell appliance, the Dell Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance. The other three. Warehouse appliances are all HP branded. We will see how long that stays true.


I love the we will allow you to buy one or a fully configured container, moble datacenter, and gladly sell it to you.

Brian Knight Quotes

Glad to see the guys at Pragamatic Works on a slide from Microsoft. Those guys just flat rock.

ODBC Drivers for Linux!

They are talking about enabling migration from “other products” on the linux platform to get data into their new SQL Server deployment.

Integrating true ETL from Oracle to SQL Server not just export and bulk load.

Semantic Search, Beyond Full Text

Yet again ZoomIt is the killer feature in SQL Server 2012. Demoing a nice little silverlight app to display some of the new semantic search features. Symantec search will take Full Text beyond fuzzy search of words to something more inteligent.

Development Enhancements

SQL Server Data Tools, formerly Juneau, is taking a front seat for developers and SQL Server
Fully imbedable version of SQL Express for your apps! A nice feature where you don’t want to use compact edition.

Sunny Yet Cloudy

SQL Server + SQL Azure = love.
For the third time ZoomIt is the hit feature in Azure! The DAC or deployment assistant helps you migrate your onsite database to Azure for a seamless deployment. I don’t know how they will handle all the features that aren’t in Azure that are on your local install other than failing to create the deployment package.

Azure is highly available with three replicas of your data when it hits the cloud. They aren’t talking about the latency on keeping those three replicas in sync and that may be a deal breaker for some apps that demand full syncronus support.

They are continuing to tightly intergrate your local tools for SQL server and Azure including backups!

Connecting to your Azure storage from SQL Server Mangement Studio 2012. You can restore them locally and share them with others.

Star Trek The Next SQL Server

The Federation takes over SQL Server! Ok, we are actually talkinga bout federations for Azure. You can create large databases by end of year in Azure! Well, 150GB at any rate. That is a 3x emprovement but I wouldn’t call that “large” per se these days. You can manage all your federation members from their new Metro UI for Azure. I’m glad to see Azure growing up.

Hybrid IT

I’m glad to see they are really starting to acknowledge that you can’t just push everything to the cloud. They are definatly pushing SQL Azure but without the tools to join your local IT infrastructure it just wasn’t a very compelling arguement. Like all things Microsoft does they may release the 1.0 to get into the market and work hard to rev it up with features to make it competitive in the market place.

They rapped up with a really cool video that no one stayed to watch.

All in all, a solid keynote and some really great announcements!

From The Bloggers Table Day 1


It is a packed house again this year. If you were here on Tuesday night and you were a first timer you got to meet a thousand of your compatriots as a first timer. I can tell you Microsoft’s Steve Balmer doesn’t have anything on the enthusiasim on the PASS community.

Goals From Last Year

PASS set out a clear roadmap for growth last year and they are well on their way to meeting the goals of the five year plan.

1 million 250k members five global regions

Working globally

SQL Bits SQL Relay

Connect. Share. Learn.

PASS is working hard to give Summit attendees a truly epic training event.


Streaming Keynotes:

Live Summit Site:



Flickr sqlpass


SQL Clinic is a fantasic resource so bring your questions!

Not to mention 93 MVPs and 18 MCM’s that are speaking and attending the Summit.

Birds of a feather lunch is also a great way to come ask questions of reconized experts and your peers during lunchtime.


Tons of after parties and reseptions abound. There is at least one open after party every night. If you are setting in your room after the sessions, its your own fault.

Even though you have to pay to attend, your registration alone isn’t enough to pull off a conferince of this caliber. The vendors who pay to show your there wares pay a large part of the bill. They are also engaged with the community outside of the vendor area and give more than just money but fund people like myself so we can reach out and teach to a wider audince.

The New World of Data

Ted “The Cloud” Kummert took the stage to dissuss the future of data storage and SQL Server. To say that SQL Azure and the cloud is playing a huge part of the future of relational data.

The Hybrid World

Even though the cloud is a new paridigim you still need to house some stuff locally, that means sharing data between


The most significant release of SQL Server, Ted is really touting the breakthrough features in Denali. Personally, AlwaysOn is a huge feature for me.

Denali is SQL Server 2012. Finally, Denali gets a name and a quasi date. First half of next year, leaves a lot of room so hopefully it will be closer to January and not the end of June.

The Future, In Three Parts any data, any size, anywhere:

Manage and process data of all types

Mission-critical scale from on premises to the cloud

Common Management and development

What do people mean by “big data” ?

Big data, to me traditionally meant large single databases. That world is changing. Things like real time streaming data from traditional and non-traditional sources.

Hadoop goes windows, plays well with others

Ted also announced Hadoop based windows distribution!

ODBC Drivers and add-in for Excel nad Hive available next month is huge! It opens up Hadoop to us and our tools.

A javascript framework for Hadoop comming.

Lastly, available today connectors for Hadoop to SQL Server and SQL Parallel Data Warehouse.

Partering with hortonworks!

Eric Baldeshwieler, CEO of hortonworks took the stage to talk to Summit attendees about Hadoop and hortonworks and the spin out from Yahoo! specifically formed to support Hadoop. I’m glad to see Microsoft embracing Hadoop and NOT spinning off Hadoop#, but giving back to the Apache Hadoop project.

There should be CTP’s of Windows on Hadoop very soon.

Denny Lee took the stage to talk about more real world Hadoop and showed us a bit about Hive. He also brought the first demos of the morning.

Hadoop for Windows console is my style, CMD window and ye old’ prompt. Hadoop is about scaling out to split the workload.

Denny showed off the ODBC driver for Hadoop and how seamlessly it plays with power pivot.

CTP on Azure by the end of the year

Connecting a World of Data

WHAT? A Windows Azure Marketplace brings a huge amount of reference and market data in a single place.

Private Azure Marketplace coming too.

Data Explorer

Well, it looks really cool, but as you guys know I’m a storage guy :). The tool looks really good and I understand the problem area they are trying to address but I just don’t know if this will be a game changer or just a nice to have. I would love to know how long it took to build this really slick demo.

Then, it went into the creepy zone a bit with yogurt, kids and delivery. Again, I’m not a BI guy so I don’t always understand the demos.

Amir Netz named Technical Fellow.

I’m not a BI guy and I still know who he is. He did a fun demo that didn’t involve yogurt at all. Power pivot on Windows Mobile is cool though. You don’t have to have build a specific report to fit on your phone or your tablet. You can’t optimize for the smaller screen but you don’t have to. Crescent is bringing a real nice cross platform reporting infrastructure from the iPad to Android and of course Windows based tables and phones.

 Rap up

I can’t wait for tomorrow and Friday for sure! See you in the morning.


Two For One, SQLSaturday and MVP All In One Day.

Day Of Days

I just don’t know what to say, Saturday was just plain awesome. Easily one of the best days of my life. The CACTUSS crew put on an awesome SQLSaturday, well attended and well received.

Right after I did the opening remarks I got a little email letting me know I AM A FRIGGIN’ MVP! It was everything I could do not to cry like a small child. Nothing could have been better than having all my friends around me and the community I support there on my big day. Just typing this I’m getting a little weepy :). Lots of high fives, handshakes and hugs not to mention a standing ovation at the end of the day.

My MVP Profile

All I have to do now is speak at the Summit next week and write a book by the end of the year to take care of everything I’ve never done as a SQL Server professional.

Oh, I’m speaking at the Summit next week. After that I’ll get cranking on a book.