PASS Summit 2015 Keynote – Day 1

SQL PASS Summit 2015Today, I’ll be live blogging the SQL PASS 2015 keynote. Today is the third day of the PASS Summit, and the first day with regular sessions. Everything shown in the keynote will also be streamed on PASS TV.

As a logistical note, I’ll be updating this post throughout the keynote.

PASS president Tom LaRock kicks things off by recognizing existing board members, as well as newly elected board member – and my good friend – Ryan Adams. Also noted that there are approximately 5500 attendees this year. Many, many first timers are hear as well (edit: I’ve been told there are approximately 1400 first timers).

Tom shared a bit about ongoing initiatives such as Women In Technology, Speaker Idol, and others. I love to hear about programs such as this. Finding ways to be more inclusive on all fronts is how we’ll grow this community.

Joseph Sirosh, Corporate VP of the data group, takes the stage. His graphics about the recent explosion of data reinforces just how much information there is to process, manage, and analyze. He opines that half of all data has an IP address. He shares a brief video on a client using cloud services to improve outcomes and get in front of health emergencies.

Interesting data note – Joseph reports that a human being contains about 2 gigabytes of genomic data. Further, the cost of sequencing a human genome has gone from $100 million to under $1,000. In fact, Joseph had such a sequencing performed by a company called 23 And Me, and he was able to detect his risk for hypertension (high) and prostate cancer (low). THIS is what data analytics is for.

Eric Fleischman, Chief Architect and VP at DocuSign, joins Joseph on stage. He reports that when he joined the DocuSign team, the data volume was doubling in size every year. In evaluating SQL Server to meet those needs, he likens the decision-making process to a hiring decision. They are on the cutting edge of available software, even using some SQL Server 2016 components (including HA features and always encrypted) to address their data issues.

Alone on the stage again, Joseph talks about the full stack of SQL Server products, including the integration of on-prem and cloud offerings. He reports that Microsoft is currently running 1.4MM databases in the cloud. A very telling couple of statements from him acknowledge that the future contains both cloud and on-prem solution. This language is much more friendly to on-prem offerings, and is a bit of a departure from the last few years where the focus was all-in on the cloud.

Shawn Bice, GM of the Database Systems Group, takes the stage. He reports that, even though it has not yet been released for on-prem installation, SQL Server 2016 is powering the entire Azure infrastructure. It also runs the entire backbone for a nation of millions (did he mention the name of the nation?) for mission-critical processes. He reinforces what Joseph said earlier, that Microsoft is not going to force clients to the cloud. He talks about enhancements to HA, including the ability to add a machine to your backbone without adding it to a domain.

Talking about real-time analytics, the key is to learn and adjust based on discovered patterns. The integration of R, JSON, and Polybase to SQL 2016 will play a big part in this. Shawn says that you will be able to embed R within T-SQL in 2016. Note to self: I really, really need to spend some time learning about R. We get to see a high-level demo of integrating R into T-SQL.

Shawn now shifts to security. Row-level security, transparent data encryption, and more. We’re hearing about Always Encrypted now. Rohan Kumar shows us how to easily encrypt existing columns, even if the data is currently stored in plain text. After encryption, the same exact query returns the encrypted value, and will put the burden of decryption on the client. This eliminates buffer pool vulnerabilities, and reduces the risk of sending unencrypted data across the wire.

Rohan and Shawn have taken over the keynote. This is awesome – it’s mostly technical info, with hardly any marketing. Well done, PASS and Microsoft!

Stretch database allows you easily add capacity in near real time. Couples well with always encrypted for fast and secure.

Yay! Let’s talk about BI! Reporting Services completely overhauled. Significant changes to the performance of SSAS.

Oh, not so much talk on BI. Shawn mentioned another session coming up to talk about foundation changes for the BI platform.

That’s a wrap for the first day’s keynote. No big announcements (I was hoping for perhaps a new CTP for SQL Server 2016) but there’s always tomorrow. I’m excited about the session that Shawn mentioned coming up next, in which we’ll learn more about the enhancements in the BI platform. Watch this blog or my Twitter profile for any big announcements about that.

About the Author

Tim Mitchell
Tim Mitchell is a data architect and consultant who specializes in getting rid of data pain points. Need help with data warehousing, ETL, reporting, or training? If so, contact Tim for a no-obligation 30-minute chat.

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