PASS Summit Magic: The Prestige


So we started this show with the Pledge, got wowed with the Turn and finally we’ve come to the last step: the Prestige! During the last stage of our act we saw a glimpse of the magic of the Summit and we also saw a certain object near and dear to my heart disappear. So how did this all end? Let’s get to it.

As I’ve mentioned before this was my first Summit so I really had no idea what to expect going there. I’ve known from many others that have gone before me that there is ALWAYS something going on but you have no idea how true that is until you’re there! From the moment I touched down in Seattle there was something going on be it Brent’s Freecon session, the new attendee mixer, the Quiz Bowl, [insert any number of vendor’s name here] party/dinner/event, the various lunches provided, the WIT luncheon, the Microsoft appreciation party, the volunteer appreciation party, the infamous karaoke sessions, or just the random awesome networking opportunities you create for yourself by just meeting up with an expert at breakfast/lunch/dinner/coffee house. Now think about this for just a second. I just rattled off all of those events and that DOESN’T include pre or post con events OR the actual conference sessions itself!

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Un-SQL Friday: Branding

So looks like we have another blog party on our hands, this time courtesy of Jen McCown (Blog | Twitter), one half of the MidnightDBA brand!  This is such a great topic especially coming from a couple who have built up quite a successful brand for themselves in the community and continue to grow it. Check out both their entries (Jen | Sean) on this topic as they both have really interesting views on this stuff.

Branding is a funny thing. It can go one of two ways: you can create a brand that resonates with your target audience, makes you memorable, and any continued associations with your brand and your audience are positive and meaningful. Or you can create a brand very much slanted the other way and any interactions or associations with your brand can bring negative results and damage you personally or professionally.

I’m going to make a quick confession here and tell you that I not only have watched the show “What Not To Wear” on TLC but I thoroughly enjoyed said show. Why confess that? Well on the show the hosts Clinton Kelly and Stacy London often tell their fashion-challenged targets that they need to realize that they’re trying to sell themselves. It’s all about image. This may sound a bit shallow but hear me out folks. You really are the image you project and this includes how you dress, how you act and in the world of blogging and presenting this directly relates to the brand you’re trying to sell: you!

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PASS Summit: Day 3 Keynote Live

Well, it’s the final day of PASS Summit and the week’s final keynote! Today’s keynote will be delivered by Dr. David Dewitt! His speaking is the result of a user survey sent out by PASS earlier this year.

From Summit site:

You voted, and the results are in: Dr. David DeWitt will be speaking on Query Optimization 101 during the most anticipated keynote of PASS Summit 2010!

“In two short years, giving a keynote at the PASS Summit has become a highlight of my year,” noted Dr. DeWitt, Technical Fellow with Microsoft’s Jim Gray Systems Lab. “This year, I am excited to have the opportunity to talk about SQL query optimization, why it is hard to always produce good plans, and new technologies that offer the promise of better plans in future releases of SQL Server.”

Query optimization is the process of compiling a SQL query into an executable plan that is as efficient as possible. While the basic fundamentals for cost-based query optimization were first described in a seminal paper by Pat Selinger of IBM Research in 1979, optimizing complex queries continues to be very challenging 30 years later. In this talk, David DeWitt will describe the fundamentals of query optimization, why it remains a very hard problem today, and present several recent research results that promise to improve the quality of plans produced in the years to come.

David J. DeWitt is a Technical Fellow in the Microsoft Data and Storage Platform Division. DeWitt’s role is creating and leading the Microsoft Jim Gray Systems Lab, a new advanced development center in Madison, WI, for Microsoft, in association with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Computer Sciences Department. DeWitt came to Microsoft from the Computer Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin, which he joined in September 1976 after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He served as department chair from July 1999 to July 2004 and held the title of John P. Morgridge Professor of Computer Sciences when he retired from the University of Wisconsin.

Click Here for live blog!

PASS Summit: Day 2 Keynote Live

It’s Day 2 of the PASS Summit and here we are again live blogging the event.

From the Summit site:

Today Tom Casey will discuss and showcase some of the exciting new and upcoming innovations in Business Intelligence and advances to the data platform, including the expansion into the cloud. Tom will also discuss Microsoft’s progress in the cloud, and the powerful role that SQL Azure and cloud computing will play in enabling the information platform.

Click Here for live blog!

PASS Summit: Day 1 Keynote Live

It’s the first day of the PASS Summit 2010 and I”ll be live blogging the first keynote here. Click on the link below to follow along!

From the Summit site:

Ted Kummert will open Day 1 of PASS Summit 2010 by highlighting continued innovation across Microsoft’s business and information platform. Kummert will explore Microsoft’s key technical investments that help solve the toughest issues for various roles across an organization, from IT Professionals to developers. Kummert will explore Mission Critical applications, getting the most out of your datacenter, and the accessibility of Business Intelligence in an effort to deliver on Microsoft’s vision of enabling data platform customers to be more efficient through integrated tools. Some exciting product announcements will also be shared exclusively with PASS attendees so you won’t want to miss out!

On a side note: I REALLY hope we hear announcement for SQL Server 11 😀

Click Here for live blog!

PASS Summit 2010 Magic: The Pledge

Are You Watching?

I write this as I’m on my way to Seattle for the annual PASS Summit in Seattle, Washington. This is very exciting for me as this is my very first Summit experience and I’ve been looking forward to this for a few years now. So why am I so excited about this event? Well first off this is the largest SQL Server-focused conference in the world! Basically this is the Super Bowl (or for my international friends, the World Cup) of conferences for SQL Server professionals! Being the geek I am, I am going to write a few articles this week that will follow the format of a magic trick: the Presentation, the Turn, and the Prestige. Why this format? Well first off, I’m a fan of the movie the Prestige. Secondly, this event is much like a magic trick in itself.

For those who may not have seen The Prestige, or are familiar with magic tricks in general, there are three major steps to a magic trick. The first is referred to as the Pledge. In this step the magician sets up the audience by telling them they will witness something amazing and setup the situation accordingly. The second step is referred to as the Turn. Here is where the magician’s trick is applied be it making something disappear, or something equally amazing to happen. The audience is held captive as they don’t know how the trick , escape, or illusion will play out. Finally there is the Prestige. This is the final step where the magician finally completes the trick and the audience is left in awe as they witness the seemingly impossible occur right before their eyes. The final result of this process is the audience is left enchanted, thrilled and wanting more. One thing I’ve noticed about the SQL community, and specifically this conference, is it seems to have the same affect hence my choosing this format to share this year’s conference experience.

The last few years for various reasons I haven’t been able to make the cross-country trek for this event . Instead of experiencing the conference first-hand I’ve read accounts on blogs as well as followed along “live” while folks from all over the world Tweeted their experiences from the conference. Not only was there amazing content being presented from top-notch speakers but you could actually follow along and see relationships form as people connected and shared those experiences. Even from a distance I could see how amazing of an experience this was and I wanted to take part. Last year I took part in the conference, virtually, by volunteering my services to the then-community organizer for PASS, Blythe Morrow (Twitter). I had contributed to helping out the organization by putting together a portion of the PowerPoint presentation used by then-President Wayne Snyder in his keynote speech! What made that even cooler was when folks tweeted to me that Wayne had actually acknowledged me by name on-stage for my contribution! In that respect it was very cool feeling connected like I was there even when I wasn’t. It was then that I resolved “even if I have to rob a bank, I’m going to Summit next year!”. Luckily I didn’t have to resort to that and I’m headed there now (the conference, not the bank). I share this last story so as to let you know if you can’t physically make it to the Summit you can still be very much connected and part of the magic. If you’re looking to take part in the magic yourself PASS is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help out! If you’re interested feel free to contact the Community Organizer, Nancy Nasso (Email | Twitter) and let her know!

So, my friends, I give you the Presentation. This week is set to be an amazing one. In the next few days the top SQL Server talent from all over the world will converge upon Seattle once again for this amazing experience. The week kicks off with pre-conference sessions given by top industry folks such as Brian Knight (Blog | Twitter), Itzik Ben-Gan (Blog), Kimberly L. Tripp (Blog | Twitter), and more! In addition to those events there will be extra-curricular events going on such as the Photowalk tour or SQLServerCentral’s Casino Night party. From there the conference kicks off with a keynote from Ted Kummert from Microsoft who promises to have some big and exciting news for attendees. Oh, did I mention that all keynotes this week will be streamed live? They will be, so you can witness the magic first-hand with us! Then the next three days are filled with amazing sessions, events, and networking opportunities. This three days portion will be the Turn, as so much will happen and I don’t know how all this magic will happen just yet. Finally, there is the Prestige. Once everything is sais and done, myself and every other attendee will surely be transformed and spellbound by the magic we experienced. In addition to these posts I’ll also be live-blogging the keynotes just so I can share my thoughts on everything that happens so keep an eye out for those posts as well. Ladies and gentlemen, sit back and enjoy the show as we present to you PASS Summit 2010! Enjoy the show!

Ascending Mount BI Stack: Basecamp

Not quite Mount Doom but...

As some of you may know, I’ve recently transitioned over from the fabulous life of being a production DBA to joining the ranks of the BI developers with Pragmatic Works. In the years I’ve been a DBA I’ve often took a quick look and learned stuff from the BI stack here and there simply because it was there and quite frankly it’s pretty cool. Now, as a BI developer, it’s time to buck up and ascend the face of the Microsoft BI stack!

Part of my transition from production DBA to BI developer is learning the stack from top to bottom. As I journey through the different challenges of getting familiar with this side of SQL Server I’ll bring you, my handful of readers, along for the ride. While I was a DBA I’ll admit the BI stack always kind of intimidated me so I always shied away from it. Hopefully this series of posts will help future DBA’s turned BI developer (or just DBA’s looking to learn the stack) identify with my challenges and learn along with me.

As with anything, you’ve gotta have the right tools for the job and with this journey we’ll have to pack accordingly. First up we’ll need a guide book to help traverse the mountain. The guidebook of choice for this trip will be Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services (Wrox Programmer to Programmer). Next there’s basic equipment we’ll be working with. I’ve created a virtual machine and loaded it with Windows 2008 Standard Edition, SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition (Database Engine, SSIS, SSAS, SSRS), Sharepoint 2007. Wait did he say Sharepoint 2007? Yes, I’ll be installing the older version for few reasons. One, most companies are still on 2007 so it’s best to learn at the majority target. Two, I’ll be doing an upgrade at some point of the SharePoint instance to 2010 so as to get experience with that part and then playing with more goodies there.

In addition to those tools we’ll need some other supplies, mainly that being data. That’s where you fine folks come in! I’ve created a sample form so as to seed some flat files for some SSIS fun later. Every so often I’ll update the data dump file so that you guys can play along with the same sample data you’re generating! To get to the form simply click here and have fun. Fill it out as many times as you want, the more data the better!

This should be a fun journey to take and I hope you guys enjoy coming along for the ride!