Final Keynotes of Pass Summit 2009

Friday Nov 6th 2009 by Gregory A. Larsen

The final day of PASS offered insights into configuration management, how it helps with Disaster Recovery and Consolidation, and a glimpse in the direction that Microsoft is heading with SQL Server 10.5.

Bill Graziano, VP of marketing for PASS, was first on the stage at today’s keynote. He said that he would provide the shortest keynote address of the week and I think he met that promise. Bill recognized the current board members, and introduced the new board members. He then invited Wayne Snyder on stage to present an award.

Wayne said PASS wanted to recognize one of those long-term volunteers, Kevin Kline. Kevin has supported PASS in many aspects for the last ten years. He is the current past president of PASS. Kevin’s award presentation got a standing ovation.

Click for larger image
Kevin Kline getting his long term volunteer award

Kevin Kline getting his long term volunteer award

Bill Graziano finished his address by announcing the location and date for next year’s PASS summit. It is once again coming back to Seattle. It will be held from November 8th through the 11th. It is expected that next year Microsoft will announce a new product release for SQL Server. John than introduced the next presenter Patrick Ortiz from DELL.

Patrick is the Practice Manager for SQL Server and Business Intelligence (BI). Patrick’s talk was on Configuration Management and how it helps with Disaster Recovery and Consolidation. Bill stressed how important it is to really understand your SQL Server environment, so that you can leverage this information to make sure you develop the appropriate strategy for your Disaster Recovery and Consolidation projects.

Patrick first explored Configuration Management. The key components of Configuration Management are to identify the assets you have, like instances, databases, servers, etc. For each asset, you need to identify how critical the asset is to your business. Some assets are critical, like your production servers, where as a test server might not be as critical.

Patrick then explained some of the benefits of doing Configuration Management assessments of your SQL Server assets. By doing Configuration Management, you provide a clear picture of the SQL server environment you have. Understanding your environment allows you to define priorities based on criticality. These priorities will help drive your Disaster Recovery and Service consolidation efforts.

Patrick finished off his presentation by talking about the key steps to performing a Disaster Recovery and Consolidation effort. He said each Disaster Recovery or Consolidation effort needs to take on three different steps: Planning, Implementation and Maintenance. Your Configuration Management efforts provide you the key information that you can use in the planning steps to determine the architecture needed to support your target Disaster Recovery or Consolidation environment. Once you have architected the environment you then need to implement the solutions. Finally, after your Disaster Recovery, or consolidated environment is up and running you need to maintain it and develop a performance baseline. By running these performance baselines over time, you can determine the hot spots that require attention.

Last up was a presentation from Dr. David DeWitt. David talked about technology trends from 1 to 1000 MIPS. David runs the Microsoft Jim Gray Systems lab in Madison Wisconsin. He has been working on release 1 and 2 of the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse. His presentation for today’s event was to look at the history of databases over the last 30 years, and how technology changes have improved and hindered what we do today.

Dr. David DeWitt giving his 1 to 1000 MIP presentation
Dr. David DeWitt giving his 1 to 1000 MIP presentation

David discussed how over the past 30 years hardware has come a long way. Below are some statistics he had. These statistics compare how much faster or bigger things are today verses how they were in 1980:

  • CPU’s are now 2,000 times faster
  • CPU cache is now 1,000 times faster
  • Memory is now 1,000 times bigger per CPU
  • Disk drives are now 10,000 times bigger

David says the speed of the CPU is way out of whack with the disk capacity of today’s disk drives. This lopsided speed verses capacity makes it very hard to optimize performance. Solid state and phase change memory will really change our data storage life in the future.

Today we store data as a row store. Meaning all columns of a records are stored together in a row. But when querying data we typically are searching and returning data at the column level. We need to start thinking about how we can read as little data as possible to answer our business query. Data stored in the row store doesn’t fit into the model of minimizing the data read when we retrieve data based on columns. Database architecture of the future needs to consider column stores. A column store is where row data is stripped into each individual column and the column data is stored together in a tightly compressed format. David said that database management systems of the future will most likely store data in a row store, or column store, or both. This will facilitate fast updates for row stores and fast data retrieval for column stores.

David ended his talk by saying he couldn’t exactly state the direction Microsoft is planning on heading. He did say if you followed his talk on column stores and row stores, and the hybrid of both types you might be able to figure the direction that Microsoft might be heading. Nevertheless, he was able to give one firm direction that Microsoft is heading. He stated that Microsoft will be shipping VertiPaq with SQL Server 10.5. VertiPag will be an in-memory column store.

This article ends my series of the daily updates around the PASS Summit 2009 keynote addresses. I hope that this series provided help on Microsoft’s directions and announcements for those of you who were not able to attend PASS. My take away from all this is I should probably download the November CTP of SQL Server 2008 R2 and PowerPivot, then play with this new functionality. Doing this will allow me to start thinking about how this new version of SQL Server and power user tool can be leveraged to shape my organization's future Database and Business Intelligence direction.

» See All Articles by Columnist Gregory A. Larsen

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