Today is Kilt Day at the PASS Summit. We’re going to try to arrange a group photo at lunch time.
The network connection is extremely slow. I suspect the tweeting about the kilts.
Bill Graziano is leading the key note and he started off with having all the kilted stand. Only about 12-15 of us, but that’s five times better than last year. Then it was time for the volunteers to stand up. It was excellent to see so many people. The Outstanding Volunteer of the Year was Lorie Edwards. The PASSion award went to Wendy Pastrick, who really earned it.
Unfortunately the next segment was on governance… blech! But necessary. Everyone here is a member, so they should know how the money is spent. Luckily Bill is not digging in a lot. He’s covering the things he has to. Yes, it’s a boring topic, but this is a not-for-profit organization and it needs to be transparent. I’ve always been happy to see the numbers, even when it bored the heck out of me.
An X-Box Kinnect was given out to a lucky winner. Cool! I was too busy yesterday to take advantage of the contests… ah well.
Today is also the Women In Technology Luncheon.
The first speaker of the day is Quentin Clark of Microsoft. Mr. Clark is introducing Denali. Today we should get some meat. The goal is shifting user expectations and shifting business expectations. Sadly, I was extremely excited about this presentation, but, instead of getting into the product, we got quite a lot of sales pitch. I do want to see what they think is the most important functionality, but I want to see it, not hear about it. That’s important. I think vendors frequently don’t think about the audience. The Twitter stream started to get pretty abusive, just like last year during the “I can’t mention the major hardware vendor that supports PASS because we really appreciate it” presentation.
Finally, after 40 years in the wilderness, we got a demo of SQL Server Always On. He started right into Management Studio, which is the first time I’ve seen it in the last two days during any of the Denali demos. That’s an indication of something. This is pretty neat. Automatic failover with multiple secondaries, so you can have more than one data center, around the country and have synchronous data in multiple sites. THAT will be useful. This without shared disk. Yes, you can still use it, but now you don’t have to. That’s a huge improvement over what we’ve had in the past. And, he got an ovation during the demo. When you have a collection of nerds as big as this clapping for you, you did something right. Thank you Microsoft. The data synchs occur in near real time, behind the scenes, with HA set ups that you can put together, for individual databases or groups of databases, in about five minutes. Huzzah! Oh, and the secondaries can be set to be readable and you can move your backups to the secondary… WOW! Again, thank you Microsoft.
The break down of the goals is the same as outlined yesterday, of course, Mission Critical, which they just showed, then IT Pro & Developer Productivity and Pervasive Insight. Then Mr. Clark mentioned DAC and there was a low rumble around the blogger table. That is not a popular set of functionality. There’s going to be enhancements in spatial within Denali, modifying the abilities to run queries and moving all the way through the BI stack. We’re finally getting Sequence Generator and Paging and enhanced Error Handling.
FileTable, a whole new integration of FileStream technology is being demo’ed next. This should be good too. The Key Take Away is “Every windows application that generates files, can now store files within sQL Server without a single modification to the app.” I’m not so sure this is a good thing, and what about SharePoint? Still, technology is cool and I’m a geek enough. I’m going to enjoy it. So, to a degree, this works like FileStream, but it’s file management through the database, but, the demo showed a set of files getting inserted into SQL Server management through a command prompt. Oooh… That’s cool. The demo is impressive. You can update the documents from the file system or from the database. That’s pretty neat. I’m just not sure exactly where this goes within the enterprise. I’ll have to read some more about it.
The next set of functionality is Project Juneau. I’ve heard a lot about this. It’s likely to hurt some of the 3rd party tools. We went right to the Demo this time. Thanks. We’re in the VS 2010 Shell now, along with BIDS and everything else. They’re not retiring SSMS, but it’s clear that it’s on the way out, must be. I like the improved TSQL completion. The table designer is good too. Because you can sync the visuals & tsql as you create the table. That’s great! I think I said this yesterday, but there are a lot of people that will not enjoy moving to Visual Studio. I’m a fan, but others will not like it. Still, it looks good. It’s working better than it ever did, and that’s a good thing.
Ted Kummert is still talking.
For the cloud, of course, they’re talking about SQL Azure. Microsoft really is throwing themselves into the cloud, completely. The emphasis is that they offer both a cloud and an on-premises solution. I don’t mind saying, I’m still trying to get the full business proposition for an old school, fat, business like the one I work for. What should we be doing with the cloud. I just haven’t seen the magic. I see where smaller businesses, or start-ups, or temporary surge capacity for businesses that may have that type of thing can use the cloud, but… traditional work, it just doesn’t seem to jive yet.
We’re going to see some made-up scenarios for how Azure can manage Contoso Bikes. He shows how the report can pull data from the cloud and deploy reports from the cloud, in order to deliver to people on the road. But, we can do that already in other ways. The ability to link your data with the Data Market data is pretty cool. I can see that being useful. You will have to purchase access to these data sets. You can query against them, but, similar to the PDW demo, we’re not in SSMS any more. I wonder what Microsoft’s long term plans are for SSMS based on the ways we’re seeing it being bypassed.
What’s next for SQL Server? Denali. The CTP is getting handed out tomorrow after the keynote tomorrow. We’ll be seeing the demo on Denali tomorrow. The idea that Mr. Kummert is communicating is that Denali represents client requests. They targets are Mission Critical, IT Pro & Developer Productivity, and Pervasive Insight. They’ve focused on manageability and upgrade capacity. That should be good. They’re going to work on performance, which is interesting. They’re unifying the experience into Visual Studio… I’m OK with this, but I know that a LOT of DBAs are not OK with this. It’ll be interesting to see how it breaks out. Denali is the largest release of integration services ever. Full life cycle development on SSIS. That will be good. They’re also talking about expansion on the PowerPivot type of work. Project Crescent is a new reporting tool that is coming out with Denali, which is a new way of showing business information. Sounds good. Finally, a demo. We’re seeing the 100 million row demo, again. I’d like to see the new stuff, please. So, they pulled the data out of Excel and directly into Analysis Services. That’s good. Showing how it’s working within VS, which gives you source control, etc., and then you also get to use the server, which is better than the memory limits within PowerPivot. And he’s showing how over 2 billion. This is a great demo. We’re seeing a trillion rows per minute, filtered & reported on. It’s very slick. This is good. Same technology is also in the database engine. We’re seeing fantastic performance. I might be out of a job. It’s based on the columnar data store technology. It’s a very good thing.
Come back for more tomorrow!
Mark Souza from the SQL CAT Team, some of the smartest & most capable of MS consultants in SQL Server, is presenting how his team is offering a health check for people’s SQL Server systems.
There going to actually be using some technology to do this little event called SQL PASS It On, using Twitter. Twitter is become more and more of a major part of the event. If you’re not at least monitoring Twitter, you’re missing out.
It’s a busy day with the SQL Clinic, the Exhibit Hall, Community Learning Center, Birds of a Feather Lunch, Regional Mentors, Book Signing and Exhibitor Reception. That’s not mentioning all the sessions.
The key notes will be Ted Kummert today, Quentin Clark tomorrow, and David DeWitt (YAY!) on Thursday where he will talk about Query Optimization. I will be taking notes!
We’re seeing a history of how Microsoft split the code from Sybase for the SQL Server 7.0 release. They built a brand-new database platform in 2.5 years. That’s pretty amazing.
They started off with SQL Server 7.0 for ease of use. Ted Kummert is emphasizing how important Total Cost of Ownership is to Microsoft and their plans. He’s also talking about how important it is that SQL Server is integrated, including Analysis Services and Cloud. His final focus is on large scale, high availability systems. This is the history of what they’ve built. Now, he’s going to focus on the future, starting with mission critical, then covering the cloud, and finally what is going to happen with SQL Server Next.
For mission critical, they’re releasing the Parallel Data Warehouse, which will allow for 100s of terrabytes in what is basically and appliance. That’s right, a toaster for SQL Server. Seriously, this is a big deal. The demo is already fascinating. He’s showing how you create tables with the distribution, and partitioning in place. But it comes with a special PDW loader, which will load up to 1tb an hour of data. It can even be integrated with SSIS. This is pretty amazing. On the Tweet stream I saw Michelle Ufford mention that she’s looking at it for GoDaddy, so this is viable. They then showed how they could move 800 billion (yes, that is a “b”) rows into the system in 19 seconds. Interesting point from Brent Ozar, what they were doing was not in SSMS. Paulo Resende from Bank of America came out to give a customer testimonial on how they implemented PDW. Now Dave Mariani of Yahoo is giving another testimonial on how they manage User Data & Analytics for… well… spam. They’re running through 1.2 tb a day and 50 gb an hour… uh… WOW! The fascinating thing is, they’re moving that data in a cube for the queries and are able to pull out data in less than 10 seconds. That’s great. Microsoft is also announcing “Atlanta” which is a service that assesses the configuration of your 2008 and 2008 R2 systems, through the cloud. Bob Ward, cool, is out to show how Atlanta works. This is extremely cool stuff. I’d like to think that I keep most of my servers up to date, but a service like this could still be extremely useful.
Sitting at the big kids table at the PASS Summit, ready to rock and roll. The Summit has not officially started yet, but it’s been a fantastic ride already. I’m getting to meet a bunch of great and amazing people. I made my very first trip out to the Microsoft campus yesterday. Last night was the SQL Server Central party. This is just a great organization and a great event.
Right at the start, the tweeting is hot & heavy. Hmmm… OK, starting off with a Tina Turner impersonator. She’s extremely good, but I have to ask, what were they thinking? Her name is Truly Tina. She was outstanding. Just a bit odd.
Rushabh Mehta is introducing the PASS organization. He’s showing off the Board of directors and the executive committee. He’s also showing what else PASS has besides the Summit, which include 24 Hours of PASS, SQL Saturday and the European Summit. The organization also includes the chapters and the vritual chapters. The organization reaches thousands of people around the world through all these events and organizations. The goal this year is try to get to 250,000 members.
This year the summit has 3807 registrations from 48 countries. The keynote is streaming live, as well as 40 people blogging and tweeting away. If you want to follow the tweets, make sure you use the hash tag #sqlpass. There are 191 speakers with 44 of them MVPs.
It’s actually kind of cool that SQL Rally voting for the pre-conference seminars and voting in the real(ish) world in the USA are coinciding. I’m in the running for the pre-con AND I’m volunteering for an actual election campaign for the first time ever.
Volunteering for the campaign is hard work. We’re walking around neighborhoods dropping off literature, which is actually enjoyable. We have to cold call people, and if you’ve never done it, it’s rather hard to describe. I did telemarketing for about 9 months in my youth, so I had a sense of what was coming. I wasn’t prepared for some of the more interesting suggestions (anatomically impossible suggestions) that I was going to receive, but there you go. Luckily, to try to get out the vote for SQL Rally, I just have to blog a bit.
Voting is almost closed, so if you haven’t voted, you really should. Polls close on Tuesday, November 2nd, at 8PM PST, about the same as the real(ish) elections.
Personally, I would like you to vote for my session. I’ve already detailed what I think you’ll get out of the session and what the session is going to be about. I haven’t mentioned why you might want to listen to me blather on about the topic of Query Performance Tuning.
In more than 20 years spent working in IT, one of the most common comments/complaints/squeals I’ve heard is “Why is the application so slow?” There are lots of possible reasons, and I’ve worked before to fix many of them, bad code, poorly written UI, improper network configurations, weak server set-ups, or the database. When it comes to the database, the number one problems, and I wish it were otherwise, are usually the code or the indexes. The fact is, they’re related. You have to lay out your indexes in support of the queries that will feed data to your applications and you have to write your queries in such a way that they’ll take advantage of your indexes. That’s why I was very excited to write the book “SQL Server 2008 Performance Tuning Distilled.” Not only did I get a chance to write about something I enjoy doing (and I really do like tuning procedures) but I got a chance to stretch my own skill set and learn new stuff. I’ve also spent lots of time presenting on this topic to user groups, at the PASS Summit, at Connections, and online at 24 Hours of PASS and other venues. The idea of the session I’m putting on is to attempt to get as much of that learning and experience as I can into one day and hand it over to you the attendee.
Ah, but will you be an attendee? What is SQL Rally you may also be asking yourself (or not, but this is my blog, I get to put thoughts in your head). It’s actually hard to describe. First off, it’s being hosted by the PASS organization. But it’s not a replacement for the PASS Summit. Instead, think of it as a scaled down Summit. Or maybe think of it as a scaled up SQL Saturday. Either way, it’s going to be a multi-day event in the spring of 2011 that will pack a ton of SQL Server, and related, learning into just a few days. It’s taking place on the East Coast so it should be a little cheaper to travel to, it’s shorter than the Summit, so you won’t be gone from work as long, but it’s still going to feature many of the same SQL Server experts you’d expect to see at the summit, just in a smaller, less expensive setting. In other words, vote for my session or not, you should go.
I get the call, you get the call, everyone gets the call. “Hey, my app/procedure/query/report is running slow.” Now what do you do? You go to my full day session at SQL Rally, that’s what. Assuming you vote for it.
I didn’t post the abstract I submitted for the SQL Rally before because I thought that it would be redudant. However, since it’s not right off the voting page (unless they updated it since I voted), if you’re interested, here’s what I thought I would do for a day. If it sounds good to you, please go here and vote for it.
One of the most common problems encountered in SQL Server is the slow running query. Once a query is identified as performing poorly, DBAs and developers frequently don’t understand how to diagnose the problem and often struggle to fix the problem. This one day seminar focuses exclusively on these two topics. Attendees will learn how to identify the queries that are performing badly and learn how to fix them. We will start by learning how to gather performance metrics, both server and query metrics, using tools available directly from Microsoft such as performance monitor, DMVs and Profiler. From there we’ll move into learning how the optimizer works and how it uses statistics to determine which indexes and other database objects can assist the performance of a query. The session takes considerable time to show exactly how to generate and read execution plans, the one best mechanism for observing how the optimizer works. We’ll then look at other DMVs that can assist you when performance tuning queries. With all this knowledge gathered, we’ll move into looking at common performance problems, how they evidence themselves in the metrics and execution plans, and how to address them. Finally, we’ll explore advanced methods for solving some of the more difficult query performance problems introducing such concepts as query hints, plan guides and plan forcing. Through all of this, best practices and common techniques will be reviewed. Attendees will go home with a working knowledge of query performance tuning, a set of methods for identifying poorly performing queries, scripts to assist in these processes and the knowledge of how fix performance problems in their own systems.
Although I would prefer that you voted for me, it’s more important that you vote at all (same thing as in real life). Please go here and select the sessions that you want to see.
I’ll be presenting a practice run at one of my PASS Summit presentations, Identifying Common Performance Problems using Execution Plans, for Pragmatic Works tomorrow, October 28th. If you can’t make the Summit, please stop by.