Nov 04 2009

PASS Summit Wednesday Key Note 3

More demos using Analysis Services from R2. They’re showing how you can refresh data & reports without having to write a bunch of SSIS packages. That’s pretty cool too. You can actually connect to Excel now and pull data into SSAS to manage the data like it was a database. You’re going to have to spend time managing these files like they were servers.

Analysis services is starting to manage itself? I hate to say this, but I’ve heard that kind of statement before from MS. It wasn’t true then. Is it true now? No idea yet, but the small part of me that doubts these things just fired up.

The reports can be animated. Data in motion is pretty darn slick to watch.

Powerpivot is a freebie that runs in Office 2010. You can put it to work in SharePoint through shared documents and it all runs on top of  SQL Server 2008 R2. It’s going to require a pretty major set of upgrades in peoples offices to get this stuff running. It’s going to be difficult when most of us are still running SQL Server 2000 systems.

And Microsoft is giving away an XBox. Go here.

Nov 04 2009

PASS Summit Wednesday Key Note 2

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.

Nov 04 2009

PASS Summit Wednesday Key Note 1

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.

 

Nov 04 2009

PASS Summit 2009 – Day 1

YAAAAAH!

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.