November 4, 2009 | SQL Server

Blogging from the PASS Keynote : 2009-11-04

Rushabh Mehta, PASS President of Finance

What makes PASS run?  He mentioned CA and Microsoft as founding members.  But the overwhelming response from the crowd: we're more interested in free drinks.

Stressed financial transparency … members can log in and then go to http://www.sqlpass.org/governance to review budgets, revenue and expenses going back to 2003, and board minutes.

For the coming year, they are increasing expenditures in the community, even though overall revenues are down 15%.

Encouraged people to engage with PASS:

  • sign up for free membership on the site.  Free recordings of PASS summit sessions
  • find a local chapter or regional chapter
  • local events
  • network with members
  • become a speaker
  • become a volunteer or community leader

PASSion awards

Wayne Snyder came on stage and recognized outstanding volunteers Tim Ford (@sqlagentman), Grant Fritchey (@GFritchey), Amy Lewis, and Jacob Sebastian (@jacobsebastian).  The PASSion award was split into international and North America.  The international award went to Charley Hanania, leader of the Swiss PASS chapter, who managed the 2009 PASS European conference.  The North American award went to Allen Kinsel (@sqlinsaneo), the Program Manager for the 2009 Program Committee.  The official press release is here: http://www.sqlpass.org/AboutPASS/News/news13.aspx

Tom Casey, General Manager, SQL Server BI, Microsoft

Tom (@ms_sql_server) came on talked about the theory that less than 20% of decision makers have access to the information they need.  The BI platform is aiming at improving that ratio by providing a better platform and more useful tools to ease administration and enable end users.  Ron VanZanten (dressed like Tom's evil twin) from Premier Bank Card came on stage and talked about his data (25 TB) and the challenges of having 3,200+ employees use that information in a productive way.  They decided on SQL Server BI stack for flexibility, control, and acceptance/familiarity among employees; performance and price played a major part as well.  He made a little fun of cobbled solutions using Excel and Access, and how managed self-service BI will stop these things from cropping up in our organizations.

Amir Netz (@amirnetz) came on stage again to demonstrate end user value of PowerPivot.  This was essentially the same as the demo from yesterday, but with a little more detail and a little more humor.  Once again the theme is that the end user will have much more power to consume and derive insight from back-end data using updated versions of tools they are already familiar with (Office & SharePoint).  There wasn't much mention of the distinction between what you can do with the high-end editions of SQL Server and SharePoint, and what you can do with more commodity editions.  My feeling is that some of these bells and whistles are further separators between the edition most of us can afford (Standard) and the editions most of us want (until 2008, Enterprise, and in 2008 R2, Enterprise and DataCenter).