Tuesday, November 27, 2012

PASS Summit 2012 - Part 2

Sorry for the long delay in posting my summary of PASS Summit 2012 activities, but I needed to enjoy the Thanksgiving break off from work and travel.

I left off on my previous post on Monday afternoon before the Networking Event that took place around dinner time. The Network Event has been done for many years now by Steve Jones (b|t) and Andy Warren (b|t) before PASS Summit starts and is always a good event to meet lots of people. For me I had overdone it earlier in the day so I wasn't feeling very well, so sorry if you tried to meet with me and I didn't make it around to talk to you. Thankfully the issues I was having passed later in the evening, but I wasn't sure what was going on for awhile that evening.

Tuesday was the first day that I had Chapter Leader meetings to attend throughout the day. First was the meeting with all SQL Saturday organizers where we had many discussions on where we are with SQL Saturdays and where we want to take them in the future. Lots of very helpful information that we will be using for our next SQL Saturday on 9/21/2013! After lunch was the Chapter Leaders meeting where we split up into multiple different groups to talk about specific issues around starting/running/extending our User Groups. Again lots of great info that I will be looking forward to implementing in our group.

Tuesday evening was the Welcome Reception put on by PASS. As usual I was a little bit late getting to this event again this year, so I missed the First Timers entering the party (maybe next year I need to be a mentor to force myself to be there when this happens). The party was big as it has been over the past couple of years, was still able to get to the food and drink without too much waiting though. After meeting quite a few people I headed over with a few of the Pragmatic Works guys to the Volunteer Party at The Garage. Even though I had paid for the Exceptional DBA Awards put on by SQLServerCentral.com & Red Gate, I wanted to attend the Volunteer Party since this was the first year I have been invited to it (hate it when there are multiple parties going on at same time). Had a great time bowling and watching the election coverage.

Wednesday was finally the first official day of the Summit. It started off with Keynotes given by the current PASS President, Bill Graziano (b|t) and various Microsoft representatives. The biggest announcement that I picked up on are the changes to allow Multi-Dimensional cubes to be queried by DAX along with MDX, this puts Multi-Dimensional cubes on par with the newer Tabular models. Can't wait to see how this is fully implemented in vNext of SQL 2012 (this will not be included with SQL 2012 SP1 which was also announced). Also announced were changes to the ColumnStore Indexes to make the updateable and able to be clustered, should add some pretty cool new capabilities. The last thing that I remember from that Keynote was the Hekaton announcements, which is an in-memory OLTP solution that is supposed to add many X improvements in speed for most database solutions (assuming you have tons of memory on your servers). There were other announcements at the Thursday Keynote, but I didn't attend much of that one and heard from others that some of the demos were a bit long, lots of stuff around Big Data/Hadoop.

As with previous years I didn't attend a bunch of sessions during Summit, I end up spending a bunch of time networking and volunteering at the PASS Community Zone and spending some time at the Pragmatic Works booth. It was cool to see the Summit from the perspective of an exhibitor this year, that was the first time I got to see it that way. I did attend a session given by Mark Stacey (b|t) on using NASA data with PowerPivot, which was really cool because he built the whole session around how to get and use the free NASA and ESA data that is out there in demos. Being a Space Nut this was right up my alley and gave me some possible great ideas for future presentations (thanks Mark!). I also saw a great presentation on setting up Kerberos with SharePoint, which as anyone that has done knows this is a real pain point and Chuck Heinzelman (t) laid it out in 7 steps, should help if I do end up running into this in the future. I was able to get to one of the Lightning Talk sessions (yet again in way too small of a room again this year) and saw Bill Fellows (b|t), Jes Borland (b|t), Niko Neugebauer (b|t) and Oliver Engels (t) present on some great topics. As with most conferences with any BI sessions there was a BI Power Hour at Summit again this year and as with the previous ones this did not disappoint in presenting more solutions with Microsoft BI that you probably never would have thought it could do. Great job by Matt Masson (b|t), Chuck Heinzelman (t), Peter Myers, Matthew Roche (b|t), Sean Boon (b|t) and of course Patrick LeBlanc (b|t). I have been to at least 6 different BI Power Hours over the years at various conferences and they are still by far the funniest session to go to. The last session that I remember going to was on the details of the changes to allow for DAX on the Multi-Dimensional cubes, sounds like they did a good job adding these changes in the right way, including no translation to MDX, just adding DAX as a full featured query language against the MD cube.

As with every year there were tons of events in the evenings after the sessions stop, including the Exhibitor's Reception on Wednesday night that I had to try and work as "security" at the Pragmatic Works booth for the 200+ free books that Brian Knight (b|t), Adam Jorgensen (b|t), Mike Davis (b|t) and various other current/past Pragmatic Works employees were signing for free! Was a very popular thing at the reception and we were able to offer many more books to the attendees thanks to Wiley/Wrox being in the booth next to us and having boxes of these books there that they could allow us to give out. After we got rid of all the books at the reception, a few of us headed over to get setup at the Hard Rock Cafe for the Pragmatic Works, Microsoft and HP SQLKaraoke Event with a live band! Was an awesome party and the first time that I have seen karaoke done with a live band, which was really cool. Not sure how we are going to top that party next year in Charlotte, but I'm sure we will come up with something! :)  Thursday evening was the night that we set for the annual Colorado Dinner at PASS Summit. As in past years we had it at Elliot's Oyster House and as always they were very accommodating for a group of 20+ people that were all paying separately and ordering whatever they wanted. After the dinner we caught a cab over to the EMP (Experience Music Project) to catch the end of the Attendee party. I love this museum, in fact I have been there so many times over the years that it is one that I actually went ahead and became a yearly paying member of. I got to go down to the Science Fiction Museum that is in the lower 2 levels and enjoy all of the great exhibits from my favorite TV and movie memorabilia  There was even more SQLKaraoke with a live band there, guess that is the new trend for the Summit this year. I didn't make it to SQLKaraoke at Bush Gardens until Friday evening this year, just too much going on during the week.

And that is it for another Summit, it was a crazy week that went by far too fast. I had a great time meeting everyone for the first time and again and I'm already looking forward to 2013 in Charlotte!