Today the keynote address started out with Wayne Snyder welcoming all the PASS attendees. He mentioned that 43% of the attendees where first time PASS attendees, then Wayne said Where have you been all these years?.
The PASS summit is truly an international event. This year participants come from 45 different countries. After Wayne completed his PASS update he introduced Bob Muglia from Microsoft for one of the keynote addresses.
Click for larger image
Wayne Snyder showing the PASS attendee numbers for the past three years
Bob Muglia talked about the new capabilities of scaling out and scaling up that is coming with SQL Server 2008 R2. SQL Server 2008 R2 is scheduled to be released in the first half of 2010. With this new release of SQL Server, you will be able to build a SQL Server environment that runs SQL Server on 256 different CPUs for some real awesome computing power. Bob showed us a rack that contained 8 different IBM machines that was configured with 192 different CPUs that will be used to support his demonstration.
Click for larger image
Bob Muglia shows off the hardware that supported 198 CPUs
This rack of machines was setup running Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2, and supported some really impressive demos. The demos flexed their muscles against a database that supported billions of rows of data and returned results in just a few seconds. Just goes to show you what some great technology, running on highly optimize hardware can really do. The demo showed how you could significantly bring down CPU usage by aligning your data platform to meet the demands of your business data requirements. He stressed the fact that as IT architects we need to redefine our roll to make sure data strategies and platform solutions align with business goals and results. At the end of Bobs presentation, he introduced Ted Kummert of Microsoft.
Ted Kummert started off his keynote address by discussing Microsofts Information Platform Vision. This vision covered empowering the IT professional, providing pervasive insight to the business, providing dynamic development tools, supporting mission critical platforms from the desktop, to the server, to cloud commuting.
Ted Kummert talking about the vision
Microsofts vision is to provide better rollout support for migrating to new releases of SQL Server. They are doing this by providing a streamlined update process. In future rollouts they intend to have easier approaches to deploying new releases and backing them out.
Ted showed off some of the tools and concepts to support their direction. One of those new tools was the Utility Explorer. This new tool allows you to connect different SQL Server instances to monitor and manage instances using a single dashboard. The demo showed how control points can be defined that identify things you want to monitor. Once the control points are identified, the Utility Explorer allowed DBAs to monitor the resource utilization from a single dashboard directly inside of SQL Server Management Studio. This new utility will definitely help DBAs monitor their SQL Server database environment.
Another tool demonstrated was Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2, and how it will change the way DBAs deploy changes into their SQL Server production environments. With Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2, Microsoft introduced a new project type. With this new project, type developers can now build deployment packages, known as a dacpac. These dacpacs will define the database schema changes that a developer needs to deploy for the next version of their application. A dacpac is a pre-packaged deployment plan for rolling out schema changes. The DBA will no longer need to have developers provide T-SQL script to deploy database changes.
Ted also talked about and demonstrated SQL Server Report Builder 3. Report Builder 3 is a much more feature rich version of Report Builder. Report Builder is now becoming a powerful tool to put in the hands of the end user. This demo showed a number of new graphic capabilities that you can easily incorporate into your reports. He also showed how you can now easily incorporate mapping features directly into your Report Builder reports. This new Report Builder version will definitely enhance the great self-service computing options available to end users.
With all these new enhancements in SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, Id suggest that DBAs and developers consider downloading the latest CTP for SQL Server 2008 R2, as well as Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2, and start becoming familiar with the features that are being built into these products. These new tools will clearly change how IT professionals manage and introduce change into the SQL Server environments.