PASS Summit: Wrap-Up

This week has been awesome!

On Monday, I attended Red Gate’s SQL in the City at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center, a beautiful facility near the base of the Space Needle.  We had a full day of sessions, and everything went off without a hitch.  My session was in one of the last slots of the day, and I still had an a full room of around 100 people who were engaged and asking some great questions.  I’ll post the most recent copy of the slides soon for those who may be interested.  Thank you to Annabel and the rest of the Red Gate crew – you put on a fantastic event!

Starting on Tuesday, I switched to the PASS Summit, the largest SQL Server conference.  Almost 5900 data professionals – DBAs, developers, and BI pros alike – from 50 countries turned out for this year’s conference.  Tom LaRock, PASS’s president, led off the Wednesday keynote with notes about PASS’s performance over the last year.  One of the statistics blew my mind: collectively, PASS (including user groups, SQL Saturday, and other events) has produced over 1.3 million training hours, just in the last year alone.  That’s an incredible accomplishment!  The focus then switched to Microsoft’s data platform.  TK “Ranga” Rengarajan, Microsoft’s relatively new Corporate Vice President for Data Platform, continued with a description of Microsoft’s vision for the platform’s direction.  Included in their vision is a lot of reliance on Azure to push the envelope, including new features such as DocumentDB; elastic scale; Azure Search; and GeoDR.  He was followed by Joseph Sirosh, another CVP, who spoke to Microsoft’s Azure Data Factory, Stream Analysis, and Machine Learning tools; and James Phillips, yet another CVP, who spoke about Power BI, Power Query, and Power Pivot.  Announcements were few this year, but they did announce a major upgrade for Azure SQL Database by the end of the year; and an upcoming capability of on-premises SQL Server to “stretch” its data onto Azure with almost no coding.  I’ll be interested in trying both of those when they come out.  Thursday’s technical keynote was equally awesome.  Dr. Rimma Nehme of Microsoft’s Jim Gray Research Lab discussed cloud computing, and she did it in a way that was both accessible to those who were not familiar with it and interesting to those who were.

On Thursday, I participated in the inaugural Summit Idol competition.  Unfortunately, I did not do well – I had psyched myself out ahead of my round and did not speak well – but a very deserving speaker won the competition handily, and I learned a lot.  Thanks to all who organized and competed in this event!  I sincerely hope that it is held again next year.

Last but certainly not least: thank you and farewell to all my #sqlfamily, both new and old.  The Summit wouldn’t be the same without all of you.  I’ll see you next year!

UPDATE 11/12/14: The slides for the Red Gate presentation have been posted to my Presentations page.


Ed Leighton-Dick helps small and midsize businesses solve their most challenging database performance, resiliency, and data security issues at Kingfisher Data, the consulting firm he founded in 2014. He has taught thousands of people at over 200 events, including the world's largest Microsoft data platform conferences, and he has been a leader in the Microsoft data community since 2008. Microsoft has recognized Ed seven times as a Data Platform MVP for his expertise and service to the data community.