Dear Diary - SQL PASS in Seattle – Day 2

Another day at the SQL PASS Summit in Seattle started with a keynote speech from Tom Casey, General Manager of SQL Server Business Intelligence at Microsoft. We found out more about Project Madison which will provide scalability to the current solution via the DATAllegro technology acquired recently. Yesterday we were treated to a demo of a report running against a 150TB Data Warehouse in under 15 seconds showing processing power distributed across 24 8-core servers showing all 192-cores blazing away at 100% CPU (Spontaneous applause...)

Today we had a demo of a customer solution in the Oil drilling industry using Sharepoint and mapping technologies with spatial data types.  We also had a demo of Gemini (self-service analytics) and Operations Manager which both will be part of Project Kilimanjaro. OM will allow real-time management of multiple SQL Servers from a central dashboard style application. Apparently, both Madison and Kilimanjaro are slated for 1st half 2010 as additions to the 2008 release. I assume it will be a functional release in the same vein as Windows 2003 R2 but it seems odd that it would not just roll into SQL Server 2011.

My first technical session of the day was on Resource Governor with David Darden. He did a good job explaining the concepts and demoing the new 2008 feature by restricting users and applications that had “incurred his wrath” which was quite amusing. Apparently, Justin Timberlake is not in his good books so had severely limited CPU time on the box. David presented well and gave some good tips on real life usage. The complex demonstrations were made easier by a mock application that would submit workloads on demand which allowed us to focus on the Resource Governor functionality itself.

After lunch, I attended “Combining Disparate Data in an SSRS Report” with Brian Larson, whose books I have recommended for a while. The 2008 versions should be in the bookstores shortly. He proceeded to show us ways of accessing multiple inter-related data sources from a single report. The examples were strategies such as linked servers, sub-reports, internal report parameters, custom assemblies, SSIS and custom data sources. Each solution had its pros and cons so there was no silver bullet here. All good working examples but the ultimate choice was left with “it depends”…

I then attended the cram test session on the newly release MCITP-DBA Upgrade exam (70-453) so that I can upgrade my 2005 certification to 2008 with a single exam. Telmo Sampaio of Blue Dasher Technologies gave us a good walk-through of the exam topics and I was tempted to take the exam then and there. Prometric had an exam room next door and were offering 25% discounts with a free retake thrown in but there was not enough time left in the day and inexplicably they were not opening the exam room on the Friday. Shame. I get a 40% discount as an MCT anyway so I will just have to schedule another time.

There was a “SQL Server Heroes Unite” event in the evening (the theme of the conference) with mock casino gambling, festivities, food and drink, but I missed that to have dinner with some departing colleagues. We had everything else bar the gambling. I am sticking around for another great day in Seattle tomorrow.

More Later. ..



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