Today is the first full day of the PASS Summit, and this morning we kicked things off with a 2-hour opening ceremony and keynote.
Networking and Growth
PASS president Grant Fritchey starts things off appropriately by focusing on networking and career growth. We say it every year, but it bears repeating: the most important thing you’ll get out of being here this week is the opportunity to network with peers. Don’t just attend sessions: chat with people in the hallways, introduce yourself to speakers or authors you recognize, and get to know your fellow data professionals. Networking can and does change the trajectory of careers – ask me how I know – so don’t miss out on this opportunity.
Similarly, there are lots of learning and growth opportunities outside of the events that take place this week. There are virtual chapters, local user groups, recorded content, and numerous other ways to get plugged in and grow your career.
A new development this year is that attendees (and even non-attendees) can purchase the event recordings for a single stream (such as Analytics) without having to buy a package deal that includes content not relevant to them. This is a great way to get the awesome PASS Summit content out to those who might not otherwise be able to buy it.
SQL Server 2019
As was announced earlier this week, SQL Server 2019 has been released for general availability. Just announced today is the fact that SQL Server set the TPC-H world record for 30tb of data.
Among some of the interesting changes:
- Significant improvements to the performance of inline scalar functions
- Accelerated database recovery reduce the time to recover after a restart or a long-running transaction rollback
- APPROX_COUNT_DISTINCT for quickly getting an approximate distinct count of values in large tables
- Verbose truncation error messages
As a side note, those of us who do professional presentations on SQL Server have a lot of demos to update.
SQL Server Edge
SQL Server Edge, a compact version of SQL Server that runs in a 300mb footprint, is now available for public preview. Rohan Kumar, Corporate VP of Azure, shares that SQL Server Edge can even run on a Raspberry Pi. This opens up some interesting opportunities for smarter IoT devices. At the end of the keynote, several attendees were surprised to find vouchers for SQL Server Edge-enabled Raspberry Pi devices under their seats.
According to the marketing materials from Microsoft, Azure Arc is described as such: “For customers who want to simplify complex and distributed environments across on-premises, edge and multicloud, Azure Arc enables deployment of Azure services anywhere and extends Azure management to any infrastructure.” I’ll admit some ignorance here, but might there be some overlap between this and Cosmos DB? I’ll be interested to see where this goes.
SQL Database Serverless
For workloads with unpredictable patterns or spikes and valleys, SQL Database Serverless is a new option. This offering allows easy scaling up and down as demand shifts.
Hyperscaling up to Hundreds of Terabytes
The presenters showed a demonstration of a database that had grown to reach the current 4tb limit, and then was expanded to grow into 200tb using Hyperscale. Although we don’t yet have a lot of detail or pricing information on this, it’ll be interesting to see how this can meet the needs of very large database growth.
This new offering is described as a platform to unify the entire analytics experience regardless of data source or architecture. It purports to allow the developer to write queries in their favorite language regardless of how the data is structured. My hot take on this is that it is an ADF-like abstraction on top of existing architectures. Since I’m doing more work on ADF lately, this new tech is now at the top of my to-learn list.
Azure Data Factory Data Flows
There have been a couple of developments around data flows in ADF. First, the mapping data flows have emerged from preview, and were released as generally available last month. Also, a new service called wrangling data flows was announced as being ready for public preview. This allow as Power Query-drive data transformation directly in the data flow. Like the Synapse offering, I’m pushing this up to the top of my next-tech list.
On to the Sessions!
Today is the first day for regular sessions. I’ll be doing a talk midafternoon in which I compare SSIS and ADF for data integration.