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PASSS Summit 2011 – Day 2 Keynote

8:17 – Bill Graziano hits the stage wearing a kilt. Good start. Shout out to the kilted. Nice start injecting some humor. Bill’s parents watching the keynote from home. Nice.

Celebrating volunteers. You can’t run this Summit in fact PASS doesn’t run without volunteers.

Outstanding volunteers Tim Radney, Jack Corbett.

PASSion award winner Lori Edwards. So well deserved. She put this thing together from a selection and speaker perspective. She really has worked so hard. I was on the speaker selection committee and know the work that she had to put in to make things a little easier for us. Always in contact, always available. Aren’t enough good words to say.

8:27 – Quinten Clark to the stage

Videos of people talking up SQL 2012. It’s nice, but why are you trying to sell this product to us? We’re here. Show us things.

Metro PowerPoint slides. I actually like these, they are nice and clear with a certain smoothness.

Tag cloud slides, biggest thing that stands out? ODBC driver for Linux.

Integration Services as a Server, HA for StreamInsight, AlwaysOn – all this for “required 9’s & protection” (of course this could be one 9, there’s nothing behind that message)

Bob Erickson brought up to talk how his company does mission critical. Lots of talk of how his business has to have high availability.

OK, how they use AlwaysOn, this is about to get real.
Demoing using the wizard to setup an AlwaysOn group. I’m down with this. Technical bits in keynotes to demonstrate the new tech that you want us to buy is smart.

There’s going to be a SCOM pack to monitor this (shame that SCOM still can’t monitor mount points out of the box, but baby steps)

Nice demo, even a little zoomit so that we could see what was going on.

Quinten back

ColumnStore indexes are going to be big.

Self service BI – Power View + PowerPivot (not sure why there’s a space in Power View, can’t we get some consistency), admin from SharePoint.

Data consistency – BI Semantic Model (BISM), Data Quality Services (DQS), Master Data Services (MDS). Lots of new acronyms to learn.

Lara Rubbelke up with a sense of humor and an awareness of the crowd

Users love SharePoint. Slow running query on stage and data quality issues. Demo of creating a columnstore index and showing the perf difference. NOT USING THE GUI!!!
That’s what a presentation should be at a keynote like this.

Back to Quinten

Expanded auditing for compliance and user defined server roles (very glad to see this one)

Peace of mind – distributed replay so that you can test load from multiple machines, nice.

Fast time to solution – SQL appliances (pre-tuned & optimized), HW + SW+ Support (just plug it in) and a choice of hardware.

Talking hardware – Parallel Data Warehouse, Business Decision, Enterprise Data Warehouse, Business Data Warehouse appliances. I’m not seeing any OLTP appliances.
Ah, the consolidation appliance willl take care of that. Nice nerd hardware talk. Good stuff.

The future of PDW includes changing the optimizer. That could be fascinating. Wonder if there will be any talk of that tomorrow.

ODBC drivers for linux coming out today, CDC for SSIS & Oracle. Nice move for getting to people who might want to switch.

Michael Rhys on statistica semantic search. There’s slide or something on screen. It’s so small we can’t see. Semantic search recommends the Odessy after reading the Iliad. That’s semantic search for you kids. Actually wound up being a good demo after zoomit was used.

Scale on demand – IT’S THE CLOUD with Nicholas Dritsas. There’s atually some good information coming out of ths. however I’m not a cloud guy, so there’s not much Im going to say about it.

Elastic scale with Azure – Chihan Biyikoglu – federation. Sharding for Azure. This could be significant for some companies. I think it’s a niche thing, but could be key for some customers.

Databases up to 150GB in size by years end. That might make the cloud more interesting for some companies. Metro UI for Azure. MS is certainly all in on that one.

We get booklets as we leave and CTP on DVD.

Overall much better than yesterday with Lara being the real stand-out.

PASS Summit 2011 – Opening Keynote

It’s Wednesday morning and time for the opening keynote.

The bloggers tables are filling up as we get ready for what we hope is not another Tina Turner spectacular.

Journey playing over the speakers. Can’t beat a bit of 80’s rock.

8:15 – ok, we’re ready, can we start now?

8:22 – Lights going down, here we go

Videos of people talking up the Summit. I guess this is meaningful to those watching at home. The rest of us are here.

Rushabh Mehta on the stage. No Tina Turner!

Board meet and greet on Friday. Want to ask something of the board? Be there and you can. Might be a good opportunity.

Damn, 430K technical hours of training provided by PASS this year (SQL Sats, UGs, virtual chapters, Summit,Rally, 24HOP etc). That’s a lot of hours. 20,000 new members this year. It’s a community of over 80,000 people. That’s a hell of a lot of nerds. Yes, nerds, I said it.

For some reason Rushabh thinks it’s important people who aren’t at the Summit care about schedule changes. No idea why that is. On the up side he is pushing the DVDs (get them, whether you are here or not, it’s well worth it)

I’m sure that it has nothing to do with the streaming of the keynote, but WiFi is just jacked here again. Second day in a row. I guess the convention center is just not cut out to provide the kind of bandwidth that a huge bunch of nerds require.

Apparently it’s fun to meet the vendors. Well some of them are fun.

8:43 – Ted Kummert to the stage. Hope we get something good, not a long sales pitch.

Ted gets to sit around every day and imagine the future. Nice work if you can get it (he probably works really hard, that comment doesn’t make it sound that way).

Little dig at Oracle….nice

4,000 registred PASS attendees? Damn this thing got HUGE

300 Microsoft SQL MVPs? I challenge you to name them all.

Ted talking of consistency across the environment with SQL & Azure, manage it all with the same tools and keep things seamless.

Denali going to be one of the most significant releases of the product in history. Talking AlwaysOn, BISM, MDS, DQS, data marketplace, Crescent and of course the cloud.

Cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud shut up about the damn cloud already.

SQL Denali now SQL 2012 and will release in H1 2012. This is what we’ve been waiting to hear about. Still no firm date though sadly. Wish they’d given something more, but at least we have a name now.

Funny, Ted’s slide deck looks like Mango.

Talking consistency across the tools pack.

Big data…what is it? I’m guessing giant fonts, but probably wrong. I’m waiting for the announcement of SQL Server NoSQL at this point.

Close, announcement of support for Hadoop to get it on Windows & Azure. Javascript framework for Hadoop, ODBC drivers for Apache Hive, Apache Hadoop based distribution for Windows & Azure. Seems to me that MS is a little concerned on the NoSQL stuff. Partnership with Hortonworks.

Microsoft Hadoop coming soon?

There’s lots of talk around Hadoop, Microsoft, community and I’ve fallen asleep.

Hadoop on Azure CTP by years end.

Denny Lee bringing the demos…

First slide showing an example from a web log. It shows Firefox as the browser. I guess MS testers don’t use IE either.

Oh joy, there’s the Hadoop connector.

Wait, when did this become a NoSQL blog?

Here’s how you quickly dig into data…show the results of the report that took an hour to run last night. Erm, what?

Ted back…

Now Tim, Nino talking “Data Explorer” in the Azure labs. AZURE PEOPLE! IT’S THE FUTURE GET OVER IT! Is the message I’m getting here.

Cool, Contoso have moved on from bikes and are now branching out to frozen yoghurt. But only in the cloud.

Interesting how everyone seems how folks on stage seems to be using Windows 8.

Oooh “traditional reference data” with air-quotes

3-way join between Azure, excel, marketplace data. That’s nice.

Kids love frozen yoghurt. No, kids love ice-cream.

Ted again…

I, am a lot of people around me have completely checked out of this keynote. All we are hearing is Azure and self-service BI.

Amir Netz to the stage. He’s great and knowledgeable. Let’s see if he brings something interesting.

Well there’s some nice graphs, quickly building information from live data. He presents well and has a lot of enthusiasm which it’s difficult not to get caught up in. He’s really doing his best to get the crowd back. Of course all the energy he builds up will be dissapated as soon as Ted starts up with Azure again.

Oh wait, Amir lost everyone by bringing up a windows phone. Damn, he was doing so well in repeating last years presentation.

Time to leave and head down to see Red Gate who I’ve heard have something cool and interesting to say.

Goals Update–July 2011

At the start of the year I posted a few goals that I was looking to achieve. April brought around a goals update post. Now that July is here it’s time for another update.



After completing both pre-requisite MCITP exams I set an additional goal of taking the MCM written test prior to the end of Q3. This is still on track although the amount of knowledge required (just based upon the reading list) is more than a little scary.

Goal Status: Complete & bonus is on track



The goal was to present at four events this year and submit a session to the PASS Summit.

As for the PASS Summit, as I’ve previously posted I submitted two abstracts but neither were accepted so I won’t be speaking there. The goal was to submit so I have to mark that as complete as well.

In April I was at 50% on the presentations having spoken in Chicago and Olympia. In May I gave a presentation on Central Auditing of SQL Permissions with PowerShell & TSQL for the PASS PowerShell Virtual Chapter. I’m hoping to speak at SQL Saturday #89 in Atlanta. Provided that I get accepted for Atlanta my presentation goal for the year will be complete.

Goals Status: 80% complete



I’ve been writing more and not writing long yawn inducing posts, so going good.

Goal Status: going well



Submit citizenship paperwork.

Waiting on a single piece of paperwork to come through. Out of my control at this point.

Goal Status: Still waiting


Bonus goal: Build a decent home lab

I’m acquiring pieces bit by bit for this. Case, motherboard and power supply are here, CPU and memory to come next month and disk in September will complete this.

Goal Status: Well on the way


Get motorbike endorsement

No movement on this one yet.

Goal Status: Slacking


Overall most of the goals are going really well, there are a couple of places where I need to improve things but for only half way through the year I’m quite pleased with my progress.

Next update right before the PASS Summit.

What’s In A Name?

Back in November (which seems so very long ago) I wrote a post for UnSQL Friday #1 on branding. Feel free to go and read that, I can wait…

…while everyone else is off reading that here’s a quick synopsis, I fell into an accidental brand with the bush baby image, this despite few people knowing and fewer people being able to pronounce my Twitter handle @anonythemouse (Anony-The-Mouse).


Welcome back.

Recently I’ve been giving a great deal of thought as regards branding and decided that it was about time that I actively managed my own brand. I can hardly claim that I’m anonymous any longer given the blog posts, activity on Twitter and presentations (@AnonyTheMouse being a play on anonymous). As such I’ve decided to change things and will be sporting a new Twitter handle from next week and there will be an accompanying new blog to match up with it. There is also going to be, in the future, a new logo *say it ain’t so Nic, say it ain’t so*. Sorry, the bush baby needs to rest those eyes, they must be feeling really strained after staring for so long.


I really want to thank Cami Peacock (blog|twitter), Sean McCown (blog|twitter) and Jen McCown (blog|twitter) for being awesome sounding boards and coming up with great and creative thoughts across the whole branding spectrum.

I’ll be posting more details as things change.

SQLSaturday #68 Recap

This post has been a long time coming. It’s been two weeks since SQLSaturday #68 in Olympia, WA. A busy workload and dead laptop meant that this post is extremely late in summing up what was a new experience for me in presenting.  


Om nom nom

Living (relatively) locally in WA there was no big travel for me to this event. That was nice, although the drive down to Olympia from Bellevue on a Friday afternoon is not the greatest. Luckily the sun was out and the weather warm so I wound down the windows and played bad music while sitting in what seemed like endless traffic.


The speaker dinner was, as always, a great event. It’s so great to just be able to sit down and speak to fellow professionals in an informal and relaxed environment. I was fortunate enough to sit and have my meal while listening to the conversation of Buck Woody (blog|twitter), Crys Manson (blog|twitter),  Scott Stauffer (blog|twitter) and John Halunen (twitter).


Post meal I followed my usual pre-evening presentation schedule by going over my demos to check they were all working and then watching the DBAs At Midnight web show.  


When things go wrong 

Saturday morning saw me arrive at the South Puget Sound Community College event location reasonably early where I ran into Mike Decuir (blog|twitter). We wandered in and headed right for the chocolate muffins before hitting registration. 

As people started filtering in I hung around the speaker area chatting with folks until the first sessions started. 

Rather than attend the first session of the day I sat down to bring up all of my virtual machines and get my demos in ready to go so that I could walk into the presentation room, plug in and I would be all ready to talk PowerShell profiles. I spun up my four VMs and to my horror I found that the evaluation Windows 2008 licenses had expired, all of my iSCSI targets had vanished and my cluster was dead. 

Not good. Deep breath time.  


Backup plans 

I’m a DBA, I always have a backup. I knew I could run the presentation from my laptop, just that some of the functionality that I wanted to show would be missing. I managed to get a VM up and running so decided to work with that. I’d never had to go to that DR presentation plan before so this was a new thing for me. I was more than a little nervous to see how this would go.  


Presenting: the backup plan 

I walked into the presentation room hoping to get twenty or so folks in attendance. When I got there a lot of the seats were already filled and then more people started coming in. All the seats were taken and still more people came in. Now the nerves really kicked in because I didn’t want to let all these folks down. Luckily there were a couple of friendly faces in the crowd. Cameron Mergel (blog|twitter) and Hope Foley (blog|twitter) were up near the front. It really helped knowing they were there.  

Things started reasonably well and then about 10 minutes in my VM shut down. At this point I was ready for just about anything to be thrown at me, so I started it up again and kept on talking. I felt myself talking a little too fast and tried to slow down a little and worked to get some questions from the audience to help the timing. The crowd was well engaged and asked some great questions. My time went by very quickly and I was very happy to see that I had as many people in the room at the end of the session as I’d had at the start. 

Things done and I had several folks come up and thank me and say that they had enjoyed the presentation which was nice and very well received. The slides and demos are available for download here

Frankly I was exhausted at this point and just want to take a nap, but went and grabbed lunch instead.  


A mellow afternoon 

After eating my lunch and spending a little time chatting to some folks I got what little wits I had left and went to watch Buck Woody talk Cloud computing. You can tell Buck is an educator, his sessions are so easy and free flowing and he obviously knows the material inside and out. 

I moved from my chair to a more comfortable seat to enjoy Chuck Lathrope (blog|twitter) in the final session of the day talk Transactional Replication. I’ve dealt with Transactional Replication for years and I’m pretty comfortable with it however I know that Chuck always has nuggets that I can take away and work with so when he talks it’s always useful to me. 

The day done there were a few raffle giveaways and folks descended upon a local Tavern for a bite to eat and something to drink.  


Lessons learned 

This little experience taught me a couple of things. 

Firstly, never build your presentations on evaluation copies of software, it’ll come back and bite you in the rear. I’ll be purchasing an MSDN sub in the next couple of weeks to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

Secondly, it can be really exhausting presenting. I’m thinking power naps for me after speaking from now on. 

Thirdly, practice the DR portion of the presentation. Figure out what could go wrong and the mitigation strategy. While I knew I could get by with a lot less I had not built a second presentation around that and had to change a lot on the fly. I won’t be making that mistake again.

Goals Update

Back at the start of the year as a part of T-SQL Tuesday #14 I posted a few goals that I wanted to achieve this year.

A quarter of the way through the year I decided to throw out a quick post to see where I stand on those goals.



My plan was to get my Database Development MCTS in Q1 and follow up with getting the MCITP in Q3. Things actually went a lot better than I thought they would with this. I came out of the MCTS feeling good, even though my passing was a close thing.

I had heard that the MCITP for the development exam was easier, and as I had not used the second shot opportunity with the first I decided what the heck and signed up for that exam two weeks later.

The MCITP was a breeze compared to the MCTS and I passed that and left the test center holding both the MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 and MCITP: Database Development 2008 certifications.

Goal Status: Completed



My goal was to present at four events this year and to submit a session to PASS.

I was picked to present at SQL Saturday #67 in Chicago. That was a couple of weeks ago and I thoroughly enjoyed myself there and blogged about the fun.

Upcoming is SQL Saturday #68 in Olympia, WA. I was not originally going to submit to this event however due to a change in circumstances I was not able to take the vacation I had originally planned. I was again lucky enough to get chosen to present, this will be my second of four (planned) for the year.

The call for speakers for PASS has not opened yet so I have not had the opportunity to submit my session.

Goal Status: 50% on presentation goal



Blog frequently and include shorter posts just to say something quick.

I went through a job change at the beginning of March which really ate into my time and prevented me from writing posts, reading posts or following Twitter. Now I have a handle on the new position I have found a little more time and can refocus back on this. I’ve still managed to average a post a week this year so far so I’m ahead of last year.

Goal Status: Not bad, could be better. Need to refocus on shorter posts. No need to wax lyrical all the time.



Submit citizenship paperwork.

I need to still get a couple of pieces of paperwork for this. I should be able to pick those up this month and get the paperwork submitted.

Goal Status: Not there yet


Hidden Goals

One of my chief goals this year was to find myself a new job. I was sad, bored and unhappy in my old role. This is obviously one of those things that you can’t just stick out there on a blog when you are searching.

Happy to say that I found a position that was a good fit for me and that has a lot of things upcoming that I can leverage my existing experience in. There are also plenty of growth opportunities for me in the role and I will get to play with aspects of SQL Server that I would not have touched otherwise.

Goal Status: Oh so achieved!


New Goals

As the year progresses things need to be reassessed.

I’m not changing any of the goals that I already had set. I think they were smart and warranted. I have found myself in a place where I should be able to work towards more than I already had as such I am adding a couple of new goals:

  • Take MCM written test before the end of Q3
  • Get motorbike endorsement on my license
  • Build decent home lab


I’m well ahead on my certification goal. Actually I achieved that goal. I questioned internally whether I could actually complete this goal. My confidence level was not high. Fortunately my girlfriend Cami (blog|twitter) has more belief in me than I do in myself and persuaded me that I could do it. Given that she didn’t steer me wrong with the certifications before and she has told me that I could get the MCM I’ve decided to work towards that end. I’m certainly not in the position to take the written at this point, however I feel I could knuckle down and study for a few months, leverage my experience and have a reasonable shot of being able to sit down and get a few of the questions right in the exam come September time.

Prior to moving to the US I had a license to ride motorcycles. When I moved here and took my drivers test to get a US license I did not go through the work to get the bike one at the same time. This has left me without one. Now I live in the Pacific northwest I look around at all the folks zipping around on their bikes and get jealous. I’ve been talking for the last two years about actually getting this endorsement, it’s time that I got off my rear and actually got it.

It’s frustrating when you want to try something out and you don’t have the space or horsepower on your laptop to try it. I’ve been wanting to build myself a home lab for a while now. I’ve even had chats with Sean McCown (blog|twitter) on the best path towards this. I believe that this is something that I can get done by the end of the year. I just need a box or two and a bunch of storage with some virtual machines. Heck I’ve done that on my laptop, I just need to scale it up. 


Next follow up on my goals to come the first week of July.

Presenting At SQLSaturday #68

This weekend (4/9/2011) I will be speaking at SQLSaturday #68 in Olympia, WA. My session is slotted in at 10:30am. It will be a reprise of the presentation I gave at SQLSaturday #67 in Chicago titled “PowerShell: Are you checking out my profile?”

I think the title sums it up pretty well, but in case you need more details: Powershell is a very powerful management tool and you can spend hours writing magical scripts to do all the things you want. Frequently forgotten is the Powershell profile, a place you can add your own functions which can provide you lightening fast access to information. We’ll talk about the power a profile puts at your fingertips. I will also demo (and share) a bunch of short functions that I use frequently for common tasks. I’ll show you my Powershell profile if you show me yours.

If you decide to attend my session don’t expect much in the way of pretty slides, extended powerpoint information and the like. This is going to be heavy on the demo side of things and interactive, so bring your questions, thoughts and ideas.