Blogging from the PASS keynote : 2010-11-10

It is the second day of keynotes at PASS, and we're gearing up for Quentin Clark's presentation.  There are not as many kilts around as I would have expected, and I'm only noticing because this year I'm wearing one too.  Actually, at the bloggers' table, there is a pretty good kilt contingent, and I think we've all been a little surprised by the temperature of the metal portions of our chairs.

Bill Graziano steps onto the stage, sans kilt, and asks if he should wear a kilt next year.  The crowd responds with a resounding yes. He announces that the 2010 Outstanding PASS Volunteer is Lori Edwards, and that the PASSion Award goes to Wendy Pastrick.

Then the exciting part: governance and financials. Bill reminds us that PASS is completely self-funded through sponsorships and attendance fees.  Bill welcomes everyone to talk about the financials at PASS, and you can also log into to get as much detail as you want.

Next Bill draws the winner for the Wheel of SQL contest, Denis Paritz, who gets an XBox Kinect. Then he reminds us that the PASS appreciation party is at 7:00 PM at GameWorks.

Quentin Clark takes the stage to talk about SQL Server Codename "Denali."  He talks about how they've been dedicated to raising the "Mission Critical" bar in every release since SQL Server 2000, while also focusing on manageability and TCO. His bullet points for how Denali meets their three major focus pillars:

Mission Critical

  • Enhanced High Availability
  • Up to 15K partitions for VLDB
  • HADR for Beyond Relational
  • Performance for FTS & FILESTREAM
  • Columnar Index – potential 10x performance with better predictability

(While he's talking about this, twitter is flooded with "move on to the demo already" comments.)

SQL Server AlwaysOn:

    • faster failover
    • multi-db failover
    • multiple secondaries
    • active secondaries
    • faster client connection redirection
    • multi-site clustering

Gopal Ashok comes on to demonstrate AlwaysOn.  He shows the Availability Group wizard in Management Studio, which allows you to group databases together for failover purposes, set automatic failover for the group to other instances of SQL Server, and allow some of those servers to be readable while in secondary mode (read: no more snapshots!). This was a pretty cool demo, but please be aware that this functionality is not available in the CTP that we were given access to yesterday.


IT Pro

  • AlwaysOn
  • Flexible server roles
  • Default schemas for groups
  • Enhanced audit and extended events
  • Improved troubleshooting & performance analysis
  • Distributed replay for app testing & upgrades
  • Contained database (logins and jobs)


  • Unlock semantics for search in unstructured data (e.g. XML)
  • Advanced 2D spatial, aggregates, faster queries
  • T-SQL enhancements (SEQUENCE, OFFSET, THROW)
  • Interoperability with PHP and Java
  • FileTable

Rohan Kumar comes on to demonstrate FileTable.  This looks and smells like a combination of FILESTREAM and SharePoint. This feature actually makes me very nervous.  And he didn't answer an important quetion: what happens if you backup this database and restore it somewhere else?

Don Box comes on to demonstrate Codename Juneau – the new BIDS.  It is a unified development tool that works with SQL Server & Visual Studio, and provides SQL Server Edition-specific development and deployment.  There's a new Table Designer with two panes – the junk you see in today's designer, and a lower pane with the actual T-SQL for the CREATE.  You can generate an ALTER for the diffs, but somehow I don't think they're going to put Red Gate out of business just yet. He demonstrates enhanced refactoring and Go To Definition.  On twitter, the reaction to these features is mixed, leaning toward sad trombones (as @Kendra_Little put it).

Pervasive Insight

  • Project "Crescent"
  • Breakthrough in-memory PowerPivot perf
  • Enterprise data integration tools
  • Highly interactive web-based visualization
  • One semantic model for reporting & analysis
  • In-memory tech in SSAS
  • PowerPivot Model Support in BIDS
  • MDS, IAL, DQS (data quality services) for data cleansing

Jeff Bernhardt comes on to demonstrate Enterprise Data Integration and Management. He shows Data Quality Services using Master Data Services, but the only applause comes from Undo (Ctrl+Z) in SSIS' package designer.

And on a closing note…

On the way out, all attendees get DVDs containing CTP1.  So those unable to get decent bandwidth in the convention center (that is pretty much all of us), you can install it right away without waiting for the download.

Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at Simple Talk, SQLPerformance, and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him. If I've helped you out, consider thanking me with a coffee. :-)

1 Response

  1. Mark Shay says:

    Nice summary of Day 2 Keynote.