Early morning start here in Charlotte. I'm going to try and keep this post updated as I have new information from the keynote to share, so refresh often!
Bill Graziano takes the stage and welcomes us to the 15th PASS Summit. He mentions that PASS delivered over 700,000 hours of technical training in the previous fiscal year, and shows a Power BI Power Map video talking about all of the SQLSaturday accomplishments in the last few years. She introduces Amy Lewis, who wins this year's PASSion award! Ryan Adams was given honorable mention for all of his work in the community as well. I won't mention that Bill said, "I have an ask…" Oops, I guess I just did.
Quentin Clark comes on and welcomes us back to PASS (not the PASS Summit). He compares the transformation of brick & mortar -> Internet to the transformation of on-premises -> cloud. He announces the availability of SQL Server 2014 CTP2 – the final public CTP before release. You can download it now!
He makes fun of Oracle (without saying the O word), talks about updateable ColumnStore and Hekaton, which combine to deliver up to 30X performance gains, 100X faster star join queries, and 90% disk space savings.
Tracy Daugherty comes on and gives a demo of "Fabrikam" – a retail outlet for games. I guess frozen yogurt has run its course. He changes the transactional table to an in-memory table, and gets an immediate 10% performance gain in the web app. He changes the stored procedure to natively compiled, and it goes from 7 seconds to sub-second. Then he changes the table to ColumnStore and the processing goes from 26 minutes to less than a minute, changing a background process from once-a-day to many, many times a day.
Quentin takes back over and talks more about the competitive advantage Microsoft has with in-memory OLTP, and mentions David DeWitt's keynote session tomorrow – which, if you want to learn more about Hekaton and/or your brain to melt, is a can't-miss. He talks about AlwaysOn enhancements – secondaries in Windows Azure, backup to Windows Azure, data files in Windows Azure.
Tracy comes back on and shows how a new tool allows you to back up all supported versions (2005 -> 2014) to Windows Azure. He also announces *encrypted* backups, which I've just blogged about here. He shows backing up to Windows Azure, which my post doesn't mention. I'm going to resist the urge to explain why.
Quentin talks some more about how Azure is helping people build affordable, mission critical apps. He mentions Hadoop, HDInsight, DW Virtual Machine in Azure, and PDW with PolyBase. He talks about a series of real customers who are using various combinations of these technologies and explains some of the benefits they're realizing. He talks about real-time insights: Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map, Power BI.
Kamal Hathi demonstrates BI enhancements by answering questions from massive amounts of Skype data, which is collected at a staggering rate of 35 TB per day. He successfully makes fun of Quentin, Apple, Google, Android, and a few unnamed companies out there with lazy data privacy policies. He demonstrates the ability in Power BI to ask very English questions (e.g. "calls by platform in Japan vs. China and India") and get immediate and relevant charts showing the comparison. Kind of cool, but also has the feeling of hand-wavy-ness.
Quentin announces a contest – I think you just have to explain how you're using the Microsoft BI platform to empower your business, using lots of buzzwordy buzzword-ness. You can find more details about the contest at http://facebook.com/microsoftbi, but I couldn't find anything just yet. The winner gets an all-expense paid trip and VIP experience at the next PASS Summit; other prizes include Surface and XBox One.
One notable omission: No information yet about release date or pricing for SQL Server 2014…