Category: PASS General

FY2016: Investing in Community Growth

August 4, 2015 — As PASS moves into the next year, I'm happy to announce that the Board of Directors has voted to approve our Fiscal Year 2016 budget. We’re excited about the upcoming year and opportunities to continue building this amazing community.

Last year, our goals for FY2015 were to focus on support for SQLSaturday and chapter growth, as well as for our two major conferences: PASS Summit and PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC). We also prioritized strategic planning for the business analytics (BA) community and focus for our Global Alliance Program and global growth. We committed to investing in the necessary IT to modernize our platforms to enable a stronger community. Over the past year, PASS has made solid progress on many of these fronts:

· We announced our strides and strategies for building and supporting the BA community.

· PASS Summit 2014 saw our highest attendance to date, and we successfully established our venue through 2019, for significant savings.

· We reestablished the strategic focus and community for the PASS BAC 2015, resulting in positive responses from the community and renewed commitment from the industry.

· We added two regional Board advisors to support our Latin America (LATAM) community.

· We relaunched our SQLSaturday website with expanded support for speakers and leaders.

· We made the difficult but necessary decision to retire the SQLRally brand and reinvest those resources into other portfolios.

This year, our budget’s primary purposes are to continue to strengthen our PASS communities. Some key areas of focus in the FY2016 budget include:

· Add a specific BA portfolio, to maintain consistency in the budgeting for our BA efforts, with the aim of continuing growth in both our BA community and PASS BAC event.

· Refocus our SQLRally investments to our SQLSaturday portfolio.

· Increase our global growth through support for our Global Growth Program.

· Add a Sales portfolio, to diversify revenue streams to help ensure the continued success of the PASS community.

· Add resources and staff to support further technology improvements, including a redesign of the sqlpass.org website for better usability and functionality.

You can see this focus in action starting with PASS Summit 2015, October 27–30 in Seattle. With an all-star lineup of expert speakers and can’t-miss sessions, this event represents one of our primary revenue streams as well as offering a wealth of opportunities for community engagement and networking. If you haven’t already registered, contact one of our Local or Virtual Chapters for a discount code.

Next year, don’t miss PASS BAC 2016, May 2–4, 2016 in San Jose. Join influencers in this rapidly expanding industry, to share knowledge and take part in this incredible community.

As far as governance goes, keep an eye out for the PASS Board of Directors elections. Following a successful Nomination Committee (NomCom) election in July, Board applications open August 5. Take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the future of PASS.

As in former years, this year's budget process was successful in large part thanks to our many PASS community volunteers, Directors, HQ staff, portfolio owners, and Finance team. All worked long and hard to assemble the necessary research and crunch the numbers to help us in this important endeavor. Many thanks to you all!

This is a wonderful time to be a part of PASS. I hope that you’re as excited as I am for the future of this community. We often emphasize that “PASS is your organization”—and it’s true. We want to hear your ambitions for PASS; contact us with feedback any time. And thank you for another great year.

Adam Jorgensen
PASS EVP, Finance and Governance
@Wadamj

PASS Welcomes Global Alliance Partner Pyramid Analytics

August 5, 2015 – PASS is excited to welcome long-term sponsor Pyramid Analytics to the Global Alliance Program, a strategic partnership that supports the worldwide PASS community.

Pyramid Analytics strives to help customers get the most of their investments in the Microsoft BI stack. To that end, the company prioritizes three key relationships:

  • · Engaging mutual Microsoft customers and channels as a best-in-class analytics platform on top of Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS).
  • · Partnering closely with Microsoft, with whom Pyramid Analytics recently unveiled a strategic agreement, collaborating on integrated technology and go-to-market.
  • · Committing to the SQL Server community as a long-term sponsor of PASS SQLSaturday events and other global training and leadership events.

     

“PASS has a history of commitment to SQL Server professionals,” notes Alberto Sutton, Vice President of Marketing for Pyramid Analytics. “Its resources, events, training, and networking opportunities are extremely helpful to build knowledge and careers. Pyramid Analytics has been a long-term sponsor of the SQL Server community and PASS, so becoming part of the PASS Global Alliance Program furthers our ability to connect with our most avid users: professionals looking for the best-in-class BI platform on top of SQL Server and SSAS.”

As a Silver Global Alliance Partner, Pyramid Analytics will be participating as a sponsor at PASS Summit 2015, supporting PASS SQLSaturday events throughout the year, and more.

PASS sponsors are a vital part of the community, supporting the organization’s many training and networking opportunities, including free learning events. Through the Global Alliance Program, PASS looks forward to bringing many new opportunities and added value to our community and to our partners. For information about becoming a PASS Global Alliance Partner, please contact Craig Ellis.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Mark Vaillancourt

August 5, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Mark Vaillancourt takes us inside his General Session, “A Bigger Boat: Data Visualization Lessons from the Movie Theater”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Mark: I would have to pick Professor Xavier of the X-Men: his ability to see the truth in people's minds and cut through the false picture they try to present. I am hoping my attendees will learn how to use powers of Data Visualization to help find and show the truth in their data rather than the fantasy that might be more convenient.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Mark: I was working at a regional Theater in IT and part of my job was pulling lists for the fundraising folks. I just kept pushing forward and ended up getting into consulting around SQL Server, mostly with Reporting Services, initially. That led me to BI.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Mark: My favorite is actually not much of a secret. I love how easy it is becoming to get work done in the BI space. The new Power BI is a great example of that. BI does not have to be hard. There are some situations and problems that are, but there are great applications for simplicity.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Mark: I see people get really caught up in how to build something, how to make it work, and sometimes forget to ask if that is the right thing to build. Building the wrong solution really, really well is still building the wrong solution.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Mark: I am excited by the fact that I will never stop learning. Things change so fast and opportunities come up that I never would have dreamed. For people interested in stretching themselves and learning new skills, this is an amazing time to be a data professional.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Mark: I would love to see people take the new Power BI for a spin and act on what they learned in my session. For me, there is huge satisfaction in helping to show someone how to do something themselves that makes their lives easier.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Kathi Kellenberger

August 5, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Kathi Kellenberger takes us inside her General Session, “Writing Technical Books”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Kathi: I haven’t been interested in super-heroes much as an adult, but of the super-heroes I know about, I would have to say Batman. Batman’s powers were not from some mutation, immigration from another planet, or exposure to radiation. His powers are based on the ability to come up with great ideas and the resources to turn those ideas into reality.

My session is “Writing Technical Books”, which is a rare super-power indeed. I have been writing for ten years, and my words have reached thousands of people around the world. When I think about how many people I have helped, I know that I have used my powers for good, not evil. This super-power is like a key to the world, and I hope that my session will inspire a few future authors to take that first step.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Kathi: I have always loved logic and data. I remember being obsessed with math problems in grade school, usually working ahead until I completed my math textbook during Christmas break. I also spent hours looking at the library card catalog and encyclopedias. Luckily, I relate to people better now than I did back then!

Unfortunately, my interest in math and science led me to the wrong career. I spent 16 years in a field that I didn’t love before becoming a developer in 1997. I first touched SQL Server in 1998, but didn’t switch my focus until 2002, when a DBA job opened up at a law firm where I was working on a six-month programming project. I really wanted to work there, and thought that I would figure things out given a chance. That turned out to be a fantastic move for me. Not only was it a great place to work, but I finally found my niche.

I think that explaining what you know to someone else, be that writing, presenting, teaching, or blogging, really helps get anyone to the next level.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Kathi: For SQL Server, it is T-SQL window functions. I have been speaking and writing on this topic for at least three years at many SQL Server events. I am always surprised that most people in the audience haven’t heard about them before or at least aren’t using them outside of ROW_NUMBER. By the way, I wrote a book, Expert T-SQL Window Functions, and recorded a Pluralsight course on this topic. The biggest advantage is that they make problems that are difficult to solve outside of cursors easier to solve. In some cases, you will also get better performance over older solutions.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Kathi: I would say blindly following index suggestions from SQL Server. I’ve been doing quite a bit of index tuning for my Linchpin People customers, and I am seeing tons of duplicate and overlapping indexes. The index suggestions might come from the execution plan, Database Tuning Advisor, or even the missing index DMVs, but you have to think about what is in place, not just create the suggested indexes.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Kathi: Twenty years ago, I dreamed of having a computer-focused career. I am still amazed that I get to work in such a fun and exciting field. Sometimes I can’t believe how well things have turned out for me after such a big midlife career switch. I am so grateful to be where I am today.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Kathi: After attending my session, I hope that the participants just start writing!

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Reza Rad

August 19, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Reza Rad takes us inside his general session, “SSIS vs. Azure Data Factory”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Reza: I am a fan of Batman, especially the incarnation of Bruce Wayne in the newest movie series. Batman is not superhuman; he is mortal, but he has the willingness and substantial willpower to make things right. My favourite character in these Batman movies is Lucius Fox, who provides tools, such as the Batmobile, that Batman can leverage in his missions.

In my session, I will play role of Fox: I’ll explain great tools for data transformation—Azure Data Factory for cloud and SSIS for on-premises—so the audience can use these tools in their missions. The super-power that audience will gain after my session is knowing when and where to use which tool or service.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Reza: I was an intern in a software consulting company in 1999. Those days helped me become familiar with the database world, especially SQL Server 6.5. I soon understood that I enjoyed working with data, building data models, writing queries, and all the cool stuff about data.

I got much of my learning as a self-learner through books, websites, and forums. I also was interested in sharing whatever I learned by posting answers in forums. This helped me to become more expert in data-related fields. In about 2009, I started my blog with technical articles about SSIS, T-SQL, and other data aspects. Now, I speak around the world and write books on SQL Server, Azure, Power BI, and the data analysis field.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Reza: I am a big fan of data transformation and consolidation. I’ve spent many years working with data-transformation tools, from T-SQL code to great tools such as SSIS, Azure Data Factory, and Power Query. I believe that there are many secrets and hidden powers in these tools that can help developers and data professionals. I spend a lot of time sharing my experience and knowledge in these fields so others can benefit from it.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Reza: High tech is great, but it is not the whole story. Creating a fancy chart is not BI; there are many aspects and components. Many BI professionals overlook the backend of data. To have a great BI solution (and any data-related solution), you need to design and implement the backend carefully. The backend can be your database design, performance tuning, SSIS package tuning, data-transfer principals, and so on.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Reza: The world of technology never stops! I like this. There are always new features, new components. There are always new methods of doing things more easily with better performance and more reliable solutions. In this fast-paced career, I enjoy working with best practices of existing tools and services as well as experiencing new features and components.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Reza: I believe that after my session, the audience will have a clear understanding of the similarities and differences between Azure Data Factory and SSIS. They will understand when and where to use which tool and service. I recommend that attendees use these technologies in their real-world solutions to truly understand their awesome power.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Ryan Adams

August 19, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Ryan Adams, President of the PASS Performance Virtual Chapter, takes us inside his general session, “Install an AlwaysOn Failover Cluster and Availability Group”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Ryan: My favorite would be Thor. It would be cool to summon lightening every time you see a bad practice and lay the hammer smack down when management wants to cut corners without fully understanding the true cost to the business. I hope people walk away with the power to design solid HA and DR architectures and to understand how they can increase resiliency by tweaking a few things.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Ryan: Years ago, when I was supporting servers, we had a fire-drill patching situation. Back then, automated tools for patching were just coming out, and most patching was done manually. We had a couple of SQL Server2000 boxes and we needed to check the current version to see whether they required the patch. I went to Help…About and got a whole lot of nothing. I was intrigued by this application that hid its version and required a query in Query Analyzer—remember that old friend?—to get the version information. Once I started playing and learning, I was hooked.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Ryan: Policy Based Management. This is a fantastic tool for managing large environments to enforce standards and consistency. Not only can you manage all your best practice settings, but you can enforce naming standards for tables, views, stored procedures, and more.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Ryan: The biggest mistake I see is lack of a proper backup plan.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Ryan: I get excited meeting new DBAs. They are often overwhelmed and have a thirst for learning the technology; that rejuvenates me.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Ryan: In my session, I will deploy a Failover Cluster and an Availability Group across a 5-node Windows cluster. The next step for attendees will be learning more about Windows Clustering.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

Recap: Inside the PASS Board's July 2015 Meeting

August 20, 2015 — The Board of Directors met via teleconference on July 9, 2015 and were joined by new Board advisors Diego Nogare and Eduardo Castro. Here are the highlights of the meeting:

    • Adam Jorgensen introduced the Board to Diego and Eduardo, PASS’s new Latin America (LATAM) Board advisors.
    • We had an in-depth discussion of PASS’s strategy for growing and supporting the BA community and providing true value for the PASS membership across both new and existing communities, as well as a potential future collaboration with Microsoft. Adam shared feedback that he had collected from the Board, Microsoft Board representative Jennifer Moser, and the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) planning committee.
    • We voted to re-establish the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) planning committee as a Steering Committee through June 30, 2016. The committee, chaired by Jen Stirrup, will help drive the continued growth and strategic development for business analytics focused events and members.
    • We discussed the process for filling the upcoming off-term seat, as explained in an earlier post.

As we head into the Board of Directors election season, I encourage all PASS members to keep an eye on our Elections page for upcoming events and information.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any of these topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Dmitri Korotkevitch

September 1, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Dmitri Korotkevitch takes us inside his general session “Thinking Outside the In-Memory Box” and full-day Pre-Conference Session “SQL Server Internals: The Practical Angle”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Dmitri: As you can guess by my name, I grew up in a culture that had very little knowledge of super-heroes, and I missed an opportunity to pick my favorite one. Nevertheless, I think that concept is overrated. Every one of us can obtain superpowers by motivating ourselves and working hard toward our goals. It is a long, challenging, and often painful process, but the results are well worth it.

In my Pre-Con, I will help soon-to-become SQL Server super-heroes to better understand their super-powers and use them in the most advantageous way. As a bonus, I will teach people how to knowledgeably answer, "It depends," to any SQL Server-related question.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Dmitri: I started my career in IT as an application developer, slowly migrating towards backend and database development. I quickly discovered that it was impossible to write efficient code without understanding how SQL Server executes it and decided to learn SQL Server Internals. Since then, my life has never been the same.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage? What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Dmitri: I will try to kill two birds with one stone and answer both these questions together. I think the biggest mistake people make is following the separation of duties in the industry. Database professionals limit themselves to either a DBA or DB Developer role and live within those artificial boundaries. I believe it is impossible to succeed in either of those roles unless you step up and look at the entire product. Strong database professionals need to know how SQL Server works, in order to properly design database schema, write and optimize queries and T-SQL code, create sound HA/DR strategies, and so on.

Obviously, I am not advocating a “jack of all trades, master of none” approach. Rather, I view successful database professionals as the “jack of all trades, master of many” type. People like that are the most successful professionals in the industry.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Dmitri: We are living in an interesting time. The amount of data and systems complexity are growing at an extremely fast pace. It is challenging but also exciting and makes you proud of your work. There are also plenty of new and promising technologies appearing on the market. In-Memory OLTP, Azure SQL Databases and PaaS stack, Power BI, Query Store and many others—they are changing how we design, implement, and manage the solutions and open the possibilities we were afraid to even consider before. It is a good time to be on the data side of the house!

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Dmitri: I do not want to promise that people will become SQL Server Internals experts just by attending the Pre-Con. It is a broad subject and impossible to learn in one day. My goal is to help lay a foundation upon which people can build their knowledge. I would encourage students to download and play with the demo scripts, read my and Kalen Delaney’s books, watch MCM Readiness Videos—do whatever it takes to continue learning. I will also answer any questions in person at PASS Summit or over email thereafter.

Find Dmitri on his blog at http://aboutsqlserver.com or on Twitter @aboutsqlserver, and check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Jes Borlund

September 2, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Jes Borlund takes us inside her session, “Minimize Data Loss with Advanced Restore Methods”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Jes: Those who know me won't be at all surprised: It's Wonder Woman. She embodies truth, justice, strength, and wisdom. She is always helping those who are in need—the same thing DBAs do day in and day out! After attending my session, "Minimize Data Loss with Advanced Restore Methods", DBAs will be even more prepared to help. I'll give them the "lasso of truth" for recovering data when there's been corruption!

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Jes: I took a Structured Query Language class in college. The DBA then handed me a stack of report requests, showed me how to open SSRS, and said, "Have fun." I loved making the data tell a story. After the DBA left, I became the "accidental" DBA, and realized I liked that, too—so much so that I became a purposeful DBA. I've spent years learning how SQL Server works, and how to work with it, so I can help businesses make the most of their data.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Jes: SQL Server is a powerhouse of features. One of the most under-utilized tools in it is the SQL Server Agent. Most DBAs will set up jobs to run backups, but beyond that they don't tap into the power of jobs that can have multiple steps or run PowerShell scripts, Alerts based on Performance Monitor counters, or have an Alert kick off a job. I suggest DBAs dig into it more!

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Jes: Not knowing how to restore data. The business's data is the business. Without proper backups, companies have gone out of business. But if the wrong type or schedule of backups is being taken, or no one knows how to restore the backups, or there's corruption within a backup, the business is still vulnerable. The best skill a database professional can have is a working knowledge of restoring data.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Jes: I really enjoy creating high-availability and disaster-recovery solutions for businesses. When I've built a system, and I hear that there was a problem over a weekend, but no data was lost and there was no business interruption because of what I built, I'm happy. It shows that SQL Server is an enterprise-level RDBMS, and the data is safe.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Jes: I have instructions and resources for all the attendees to create a VM, download a sample database, create corruption, and fix it. I want everyone that attends to spend an hour the following week practicing what they learned. It's much easier to learn to fix corruption when it's a test database than when the business data is really in trouble!

Find Jes at PASS Summit 2015, and check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Edward Pollack

September 2, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Edward Pollack takes us inside his session, “My Favorite DMVs”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Edward: While there is much to be said for superheroes who don’t have actual super powers, such as Batman or Daredevil, I’ve always found myself drawn to those who had to face immense, daunting tasks that were well beyond what we’d expect any one person to be able to take care of. Growing up, I loved Superman, and found that the stronger and smarter he got, the tougher the competition become. Even though he seemed invincible, he was often in danger of getting killed or being unable to solve the problems facing him, despite his powers. He had to get ahead of the competition to have a chance of winning.

Getting ahead in SQL Server means continuing to get stronger so that you can deal with unforeseen problems or those that come about as a result of new software changes, features, or unexpected growth. Dynamic Management Views are a key to efficient monitoring and allow us to identify bad situations before they become 2am wake-up calls. With them, we can improve efficiency, save time and money, and respond quickly if emergencies arrive. They are our x-ray vision or super hearing for SQL Server!

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Edward: Like many in the world of data, my story did not begin in databases or data science, but in hardware. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, I spent many years working in systems administration, building and upgrading server hardware, and supporting a majority of the backend functionality for small companies. One day the DBA left, without a plan to replace him. I began looking into his job, seeing what he did, and what it was all about. Needless to say, I broke quite a few things early on. Despite any misadventures, I found this to be a fascinating, quickly evolving area where my skill set fit well. Data challenges were exciting, and there was always more to learn, more to see, and new foes to vanquish!

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Edward: SQL Server provides a ton of tools that we can use to troubleshoot, monitor, debug, and fix problems as they arise. Many are documented, but not all are documented meaningfully enough to be usable out of the box. Extended events, dynamic management views, and server metrics can provide immense knowledge about a database environment. While many excellent software suites will manage your environment for you, understanding the internals of where their data comes from can allow for the ability to monitor more specific use cases. Applications often have their own special quirks, and the ability to tailor your own monitoring to them can increase uptime and provide better insight into your software while offering chances to improve it as new weaknesses are discovered.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Edward: Fear of change. We are in a rapidly evolving field where new versions of our core software are released frequently. New hardware and software technologies are popular now that were unheard of only a few years ago. Doing the best for our software environments requires that we research and learn new technologies regularly and stand prepared to test and implement them. As our data grows quickly, we need newer and more powerful tools to keep up. SSD SANs? In-Memory OLTP? Hybrid environments? Columnstore indexes?

Tools like these could be game-changers for many companies and organizations, but only those that are willing to learn about and consider them. It is very easy to fall into a conservative, change-phobic mindset where we eschew all risk in favor of stability and the status quo. Upgrades can seem expensive, time-consuming, and risky, but the resources we spend now to get ahead are dwarfed by what we will pay in the future if we are forced to maintain an outdated infrastructure. Bring forced to upgrade, rather than being able to do so on our own terms, is disruptive and expensive, and distracts from all the other important tasks that we should be worrying about. Evil villains are evolving their strategies every day. Only with new tools and ideas can we keep up and hope to defeat them!

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Edward: SQL Server is such a vast product, with so many features and tools, that we often become more proficient in one area at the expense of another. I’ve personally spent so much time researching and working in optimization, database design, and with new, related features that when problems came along relating to replication, I was not as well-prepared as I’d like to have been. This is a source of both excitement and frustration, as I love learning new things, but hate being caught flat-footed when time is of the essence. The fact that there is, and always will be, more makes the future bright for us, but will ensure we are never short on challenges and late nights.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Edward: Attendees will be provided with a whole host of queries that come directly from the demos during the session. Test, alter, and play with them! Customize these tools to be useful in your own database environments, and then use the principles behind them to build your own! Once you have this set of indispensable tools, work on automating them so that you can focus on other projects and not be distracted by the deluge of charts, graphs, and messages that we often “keep an eye on” in production. There’s always more to do, but the further ahead we can get now, the easier our jobs will be in the future, no matter where we end up!

See Edward at PASS Summit 2015, and check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.