Almost 4000 people from 48 different countries congregated in Seattle to mark the beginning of the most attended PASS Summit ever. Thousands more attended via the first ever live-streaming of the keynote speech. The UK PASS Chapter had a live-streaming meeting for those who could not travel. The keynote marked the beginning of the annual conference that will feature 191 speakers and 44 MVP’s. And we were the first to hear about the new version of SQL Server code-named “Denali” for which CTP1 will be available tomorrow. Quite a day.
The day started out with Tina Turner telling us we were “Simply the Best” followed by Rushabh Mehta, PASS President, and Mark Souza of SQLCAT, telling us the same. By the time Ted Kummert, Senior VP at Microsoft, told us again, we started to believe it. In between, we were shown a nostalgic video about SQL 7.0 “breaking away from Sybase” which highlighted the massive architecture changes made back then by Microsoft to prepare for the future. Fortunately, they did not remind us about the upgrade from 6.5.
Mr Kummert reminded us of the goals of SQL 7.0 and how they still apply to the current product. Ease of use, lower total cost of ownership and more than a database - an information platform. He covered three major areas: Mission Critical, the Cloud and the next release.
Mission Critical: A quick demo of SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse edition by Jesse Fountain, Program Manager of PDW at Microsoft (formerly of DATAllegro ) using the box on stage with 40 appliance nodes, a 10TB Database and 800 billion rows of data returned in seconds. Customer Paulo Resende, Chief Architect at Bank of America, reiterated the power of the product. Dave Mariani, Yahoo VP of Development talked about their 12TB Cube and how it “ingests” 1.2TB of data per day giving less than 10 second query response times.
The Cloud: New product code-named “Atlanta” built using Windows Azure and SQL Azure was announced as a “configuration assessment tool” in the cloud available now in CTP. The idea is that your SQL Server 2008 configuration information is uploaded securely to the cloud on a daily basis allowing Atlanta to pass back potential diagnosis information. Bob Ward, Principal Engineer at Microsoft CSS, showed us how to solve the common SSPI Security Context error using Atlanta’s change history feature. The culprit was shown as a service account change made three days earlier.
Adam Wilson, Program Manager of SQL Azure showed us working with data in the cloud by developing reports as we normally do, using Report Builder, but with a provider and connection string pointing to a database in the cloud. He also showed us how to use an OData URL to consume any data in the cloud.
The Next Release: Finally, what we were waiting for was the announcement of the next release of SQL Server. Code-named “Denali”, the first CTP will be handed out after tomorrow’s keynote speech. Its three areas of focus are: mission critical, IT/developer productivity and pervasive insight.
Amir Netz, Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft stole the show with a great demo of Project Crescent which will extend the very popular user interface of PowerPivot in Office 2010, into Denali’s Business Intelligence Development Studio. The column store compression engine used with PowerPivot, named VertiPaq, will also be included in Denali’s Relational Engine and Analysis Services. This is great news as PowerPivot shows great potential but relies on client-side computing. Now we can have the same UI and performance features on the server-side. Excellent news.
Amir showed us the PowerPivot “100 million rows” spreadsheet demo as “wicked fast” followed by the new Denali version of BIDS with 2 billion rows accessed instantly as the “engine of the devil!”. With everyone wondering if Microsoft was really going to embrace this line of Halloween marketing, Amir’s next demo showed Denali’s new Report Designer, accessing several billions of rows again in seconds. “That’s trillions of rows per minute, true to God, not the devil!”. Nice save.
So it looks like we will be getting SQL Server 2011 after all. Or will it be known simply as SQL 11.0? Just Denali for now. Watch this space.
Brian D. Egler, MCITP/MCSE/MCT 2009, is currently an instructor with Global Knowledge, teaching various Microsoft training courses. He is a SQL specialist with a focus on SQL Server, Windows, .Net and XML. Egler has been a technical instructor for over 20 years and has more than 10 years experience with SQL Server, data modeling, database design, application development including IMS, DB2, Sybase. Every year he runs the Boston Marathon for cancer research.