Dear Diary - SQL PASS in Seattle – Day 3

My last day in Seattle started with the key note session with David Dewitt of Microsoft who gave us an interesting lesson on “Shared Nothing” partitioning using distributed database strategies. This is the paradigm being used in Project Madison using the DATAllegro tools slated for 2010. The scalability of this technology means we will not be talking about Terabytes any more as we will move quickly onto Petabytes (1000TB). It won’t be long before we can really ask for the answer to “Life, the Universe, and Everything” a la Douglas Adams’ supercomputer Deep Thought. But we know the answer will still be 42. Let’s look at my last day in Seattle.

I attended the session on Data and Backup Compression given by the SQLCAT team (Customer Advisory Team). This Microsoft team works with high profile customers, who have the most challenging solutions, helps them succeed then produces white-papers, case studies and presentations like this one on the lessons learned. The Microsoft development team learns from these solutions and the product is made more robust because of the strategy. A win-win situation for Microsoft, assuming a significant initial investment in the consultants that comprise the team. Happy customers, better quality products. All findings are published on The consultants/presenters outlined the differences between Data and Backup compression in SQL Server 2008 emphasizing the completely separate technologies. However, both technologies give space savings and performance improvements based on less IO. “Actual mileage may vary” was a key phrase in this presentation.

After a boxed lunch (I think I actually got the last one), I attended a session on Policy Based Management with Lara Rubbelke of Microsoft. We had fun competing with the session next door on PowerShell in terms of noise and enthusiasm. Then Lara proceeded to show us how to use Powershell Plus (with Intellisense) to evaluate policies across multiple SQL Servers in an automated fashion. Several DBAs in the audience let us know they were managing over a thousand SQL Servers which is mind-boggling. For them, this feature is long overdue and provides policy based management across all the supported versions of SQL Server 2000, 2005 and 2008 as long as at least one server is at 2008. Once again, here was a session with real-life scenarios and lessons learned. That’s what makes this conference so valuable.

I must confess, I ducked out of the session a few minutes early so I could watch the new 3rd season premiere of “The IT Crowd” live on Britain’s Channel 4 using Slingbox Mobile on my Palm Treo 800w phone. It was 10pm in England, 2pm in Seattle. Some things have to take priority. Am I a geek or what? 

My last two sessions were on “SSRS Security” and “Running SQL Server 2008 virtually on Microsoft Hyper-V” both excellent sessions. The amazing thing was, both sessions were in the same room, both standing room only. As Michael Ruthruff of the SQLCAT team, presenting on Hyper-V, put it: “It’s amazing to see such a full room at 5pm on Friday when there are so many bars in downtown Seattle”. That is the ultimate accolade to this conference, we couldn’t get enough of the SQL PASS Community Summit 2008 – SQL Server Heroes Unite!



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