PASS Summit Wednesday Key Note 2

November 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm (PASS) (, , )

Tom Casey of Microsoft on BI.

20% of people that are decision makers within organizations have the tools and information they need. That means that 80% don’t have it. I believe those numbers. Microsoft is very focused on getting BI built into the information platform. You can tell from the stuff released in SQL Server 2008.

Part of the proof he’s putting out is the PASS Summit itself. There’s 2 dedicated BI trackes, 50+ sessions, and 30% of attendees said they were interested in that track.

For some information Ron Vanzanten. He’s sporting identical clothing to Tom Casey. 4 million card holders and 3200 employees. They’ll be working through 600,000 credit card applications in a month. Woof. 24tb of customer data in a SQL Server BI environment. Woof X2.

Unfortunately, while all this information is accurate, it’s still just marketing. It’s true that there are people in the organization that are building data access through Excel & Access, unsupported by IT. I’d love to find those people and support them within our company, but how do you find them? MS isn’t letting us know that.

Amir Netz comes out for the demo’s of the new Excel 2010 utility, PowerPivot. It’s basically the old pivot tables, but they’ve pumped it up… a lot. It’s not on steroids, it’s on pure rage. We’re seeing structured and unstructured data coming in. That’s great. The differences in Excel are pretty amazing. 100,000,000 rows. That’s going to be tough to manage desktops when they’re getting that much data. It’s all live, connected directly to the database, but it’s doing SQL queries in the background. I wonder what that TSQL looks like when it hits the server? But they can really go to town with the data, putting together pretty amazing  reports right out of box, easy & quick.

In the demo they showed the new Windows 7 Touch screen computer. Sweet! Very pretty! But best of all, there was some excellent stuff from Sharepoint using PowerPivot. He showed how you can gesture your way through sets of reports and data using the touch screen. It’s really slick. It’s almost like the computers in Minority Report. I’m digging this new technology.

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PASS Summit Wednesday Key Note 1

November 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm (PASS) (, , )

Nice phot montage, included so many friends. I love PASS.

Rushab Mehta launching the Wednesday key note. Unfortunately, this is the DULL, but important, stuff about finances. PASS is a non-profit, volunteer run organization. I’m not going to track this stuff. You can find the full financials on the PASS web site.

Celebrating volunteers. You do need to thank the people that make this thing run. I’m especially amazed by the work done by the Program Committee. The outstanding volunteers for the year are:

  • Tim Ford – Program Committe, Quizbowl
  • Me – SQL Server Standard, Editorial Committee
  • Amy Lewis – Co-leader & Volunteer Coordinator for BI Virtual
  • Jacob Sebastian – Chapter Regional Mentor

The PASSion Award is going to two people this year:

  • Charley Hanania – International Recipient
  • Allen Kinsel

I nominated Allen and I know several other people who nominated him as well. He’s one of the hardest working guys in this organization. That was well earned.


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PASS Summit 2009 – Day 1

November 4, 2009 at 11:03 am (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , )


The PASS Summit is pretty amazing. Yesterday I sat through the key notes from Microsoft. I was at the bloggers table where I could hear the speaker and lots of typing. I used to consider myself a blogger, but then I watched Brent Ozar doing and learned that I was doing it all wrong. Anyway, the key note was pretty interesting. They talked about future plans and directions of the information platform (note, not data).

Right after I presented my first session, Execution Plan Best Practices.  The room was darned full and I only had one, very minor, glitch. After that I RAN to the Birds of a Feather lunch to host a table discussing developing databases on a team. It went all right. I don’t think my table mates were quite as excited about the topic as I was, but we had fun.

I then looked around the vendor floor, more than a little shrunken from last year it seemed. There just wasn’t quite as much excitement. I think the economy is hurting people. After lunch I hung out in the Speaker’s room for a bit, and I don’t mind saying, that’s a great place to meet the people I’ve been learning from for years.

I presented my second session of the conference, DMV’s for Performance Tuning. The session went fairly well, but I was glad as hell that Tim Ford, who’s writing a book on DMV’s was in the room to answer questions when I got stumped (which happened a couple of times). The best part was when Jenn McCown (Midnight DBA) tweeted one of the things I said and Paul Randall tweeted back, commenting on it. Jenn announced what Paul said in the session and I was able to comment on that. GREAT STUFF. Twitter may or may not be useful in day to day life, but in a conference like this, having the experts like Paul hooked in… what a difference in the quality and flow of information. Again, great stuff.

I then went to Allen White’s magnificent session on using PowerShell to collect performance metrics. Unfortunately, I got a little ill and had to leave part way through. It was a great session and I’m going to watch what I missed on the DVD’s.

Then, it was off to parties. First the reception for the vendors at the Summit. It wasn’t as exciting as last year, although I got to meet and talk with Michael Rys of Microsoft about some issues I was having with spatial data. Opportunities like that are what this summit is all about. After that it was off to the Microsoft Insiders party where I could hob nob with my betters, the other MVP’s. What a privilege. The party then moved to the Tap House, hosted by SQL Server Sentry (thanks guys).

What a day! I’m going to mostly hit sessions today.

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SQL Server Standard, Volume 6, Issue #1

October 27, 2009 at 5:11 pm (PASS, sql server standard, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , )

It’s alive! It’s alive!

That’s enough from Colin Clive.

It’ll be out for the Summit. SQL Server Standard lives again! Although, not quite in the same shape as it used to be. But hey, stitching stuff together out of dead tissue is messy work.

I want to thank our first author who had to suffer through quite a few growing pains and help us blaze a trail through the woods, Thomas LaRock. I want to thank my boss at PASS for all the support especially the time I started whining, Andy Warren. And there’s this other guy, who has helped just a ton in this effort in every way, and lead the technical edit team, Brad McGehee. We have a photo credit to Pat Write for the front. Craig Ellis has done a yeoman’s labor putting together all the layout & art stuff, especially when you consider he had me making artistic suggestions (gave my wife a laugh anyway). The technical editors on the first article are K. Brian Kelley, Jose Santiago Oyervides and Tim Mitchell. Finally I have to thank Kathy Blomstrom for all her hard work editing and laying out the final.

To all you guys, thanks for working so hard through this process. I have bad news though. We have to get another one together in just a couple of weeks.

I’m probably stealing a little bit of Andy’s thunder by announcing it here. I don’t think he’ll be too mad at me.

I hope the community appreciates all the hard work these people put into this. Each of them did a great job. If you see them at the PASS Summit, be sure to say thanks.

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3 Weeks to the PASS Summit

October 10, 2009 at 8:10 am (PASS) (, , )

The PASS Summit is only three weeks away and I’m getting awfully excited. It’s not too late to register. Heck, you can register at the door, but you’ll pay full price. If you want to save a little, use this registration code, FRP3D, and tell them you know me. They’ll hook you up & you’ll save $200. 

If you’re involved with designing, building, developing, developing against, supporting or maintaining SQL Server databases or manage any of those who do any of the above, this is where you should be for the first week of November. You’re going to get great information from presentations by top experts within the SQL Server community. Speaking of community, this is one to take part in. You’re going to be able to network, talk to, confer, converse and otherwise hob-nob with your fellow DBA’s, Developers, and Database Developers. Don’t quite feel comfortable networking. There’s an answer for that at PASS too. A pre-conference session is being held on Monday evening just on better networking and communication.

For those who won’t, or can’t, attend the Summit, I’ll post a daily summary here on the blog. If you’re on Twitter, keep an eye out for #sqlpass tweets from me and others. Last year we put quite a load on Twitter. This year, we might just bring it down. It’s worth monitoring even if you’re at the summit. If nothing else you’ll know which parties people are attending.

Three weeks… I can’t wait. If you see me, be sure to say hello. I’m presenting twice on Tuesday (Execution Plan Best Practices, DMV’s as a Shortcut to Procedure Tuning). On Wednesday, I’ll be one of the guys wearing a kilt. On Thursday I’ll be one of the guys curled up against a wall (you’ll see, it’s tiring). This year will be great.

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July 21, 2009 at 7:16 am (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , , )

Do you know how to start a conversation or how to join one? I usually wait for a pause and then blurt out whatever point I thought was missed, missing, or insufficiently covered. In other words, don’t come to me for advice. The fact of the matter is, while the legend of misanthropic, barely washed, hardly lucid, but frighteningly competent IT personnel is alive and strong, in reality, we need to speak to each other, our peers, and worse yet, the business people. Developing social skills is a must. Further, with the economy being what it is (and looks to be for some time to come) you probably need to put those social skills to work building up a network, people you can help and, hopefully never needed, can help you.

If you can’t get that kind of information from the Scary DBA (although why suggesting beating someone with a stout stick until they give up the full set of requirements is a bad plan doesn’t make much sense to me), then where should you go?

I am so glad you asked that question (yes, you asked it, or should I get the bigger stick). At the PASS Summit this year (and you’re going right?) a special pre-conference meeting will be taking place. Andy Warren is responsible for putting it together. He’s been working on his own communication & networking skills and blogging about them regularly. They guy he’s been working with, Don Gabor, will be hosting a special two-hour session, right before the opening night party, on improving your communication skills, specifically around conversations, starting them, working the room, etc. He says he can teach you to remember names, a particular weakness of mine. I usually just refer to people as “that admin guy”, “that developer, you know, the one with the weak SQL skills” or “the business guy who won’t give us all the requirements.” Actually I remember his name, it’s Pell. But I digress.

I’m pretty excited to be taking part in this session. If you’re attending the conference, which we’ve already established that you’re going to, you might want to try this session out too. It sure can’t hurt (unless you get teamed up with me) and it will probably help.

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PASS Summit Session Preview

June 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , )

The Pre/Post Conference Sessions and the Spotlight Sessions for the PASS Summit 2009 have been announced. Go check it out. This is going to be a fantastic conference this year based on the topics and the people presenting (and I’m still humbled to be included with that group).

I wasn’t aware that they had shifted the structure of the conference so that it takes place from Tuesday-Thursday instead of Wednesday-Friday. I’m not sure I like that. I’m not sure I dislike that.

In addition to the Pre/Post conferences, a special new session, and program, has been put together by Andy Warren on networking. Since networking is one of the very best reasons to attend the PASS Summit (although pure geek joy can be had in the sessions), this should be very useful.

Things are starting to ramp up around the Summit. If you’ve gone in years past, I think this one may be better than before. If you’ve never been, I think this may be the one to get started on.

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Call for Speakers Extension Explanation

April 9, 2009 at 8:46 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

It’s not nearly as fun as my own speculations were, but it’s still interesting. Andy Warren explains that the because Microsoft cancelled the 2009 BI Conference and recommended the PASS Summit as an alternative, PASS wisely decided to extend the time to try to get those people to submit abstracts.

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PASS Summit 09 Call For Speakers Deadline Extended

April 8, 2009 at 7:53 am (PASS, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , )

It’s now running until Friday April 24th. That’s good news if you couldn’t get yourself together by this Friday. However, I wonder if they’re also extending the time for the committee to make it’s decisions? That means extended worry and sweat for those of us who have already submitted abstracts. But, on the other hand, if they haven’t extended the committee’s deadlines, then that means those guys are going to be working their behinds off to meet the original date (end of May).

I also wonder if it means that they’re not getting enough abstracts or if the quality of the abstracts has slipped? New this year you can check out the abstracts to see what others have submitted. That makes for some interesting reading, but now I’m wondering if it’s scared people off. I mean, if you saw that Itzik Ben Gan had submitted a tips & tricks session for TSQL, are you going to put one in as well? Well you should! Last year I think there were two or three different sessions talking about “worst” practices for TSQL (Gail Shaw’s “The Dirty Dozen” was the best though). So you can submit abstracts that, on the surface, appear to be duplicates of others. You’re going to provide a unique point of view on the information and people may connect with you better than with some of the big name stars (yeah, I know it’s unlikely, but that’s what I keep telling myself).

Get out there and submit your abstract.

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March 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm (PASS, SNESSUG, SQLServerPedia Syndication) (, , , , , , )

I’m always impressed and amazed with what happens in the SQL Server community. If you need help, there almost always seems to be a willing and able hand that reaches down to pull you up. It happens again and again, all around. I take part in SQL Server Central, one of the best, and biggest, communities out there for SQL Server. The people that pitch in every day are some of the nicest you’re ever going to meet, but they’re also extremely well informed. I regularly benefit from people swinging by this blog to offer suggestions or solutions or improvements to my ramblings. I’ve been making friends and developing contacts at the PASS Summit for the last four years and at my local user’s group for the last two.  I’ve also been using Twitter for some entertainment, chat, and the occasional question or answer regarding SQL Server. You can get involved with Twitter by looking at the list of active DBA’s over at SQLServerPedia.

The reason I’m talking about all this? I’m trying to implement spatial data in SQL Server 2008. I’ve played with it a bit, but now I’m really drilling down for the first time. I have a vendor that’s supply our company with some geospatial information and we need to import it automatically into the database. The format I had was .GML. After searching through the internet, several times, several ways, to try to find whatever methods for loading .GML files had already been worked out, I came up empty handed. Apparently no one does this much. So, in addition to trying to refine or broaden my search to land more pertinent data, I sent out a question on Twitter. I recieved a response very shortly, pointing me to a resource. I sent him a message and I received enough information back to get over the hump I was in. Easy-Peasy Lemon Squeezy. Not only did I have more information than previously, but I had another contact that I hope I can return the favor and help out someday.

Another triumph for networking, communication and community. This stuff works.

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