Held at the Britannia Adelphi hotel in Liverpool SQLBits 9 was yet another amazing conference. It was a privilege to be an official helper for this event. The 3 day event started with conference organization on the Wednesday evening followed by the training day seminar. I attended Upgrading your DBA Skills to SQL Server Denali with Christian Bolton of Coeo. The session covered various parts of the Box, on premise server, element in the Denali strategy. By day 2 the heat in the hotel was overpowering due to the heatwave. The sessions on Friday and Saturday covered an array of talks across the database landscape. The keynote on the Friday covered the ecosystem of the Appliance strategy. The third part of the Denali strategy Cloud was not covered during this event.
Here are some observations on key topics of interest during the event.
There was a significant buzz about the up and coming release of Denali, the next version of SQL Server (as announced at SQL Pass yesterday is SQL Server 2012) which will ship in the first half of next year.
The Microsoft strategy for SQL Server consists of Box (on premise server), Cloud (SQL Azure) and Appliance (prebuilt and preconfigured servers). There are a few key items which will no longer be supported. It will not be possible to upgrade from SQL Server 2005 in one go and Data transformation Services (DTS) will not be supported.
Further advancements in the business intelligence (BI) arena will provide an end to end enterprise information management platform. The BI suite consists of enhancement to master data services (MDS), Integration Services (SSIS), a new tool for Data Quality Services (DQS) and Impact analysis and lineage tool (currently project Barcelona). However, it is unlikely that project Barcelona will ship in the initial release of Denali. In addition to this, significant improvements have been made to reporting services, under project crescent, to provide a visual design experience and to revolutionise query performance using the new column store for OLAP cubes.
For database administrators the upgrade and planning tools for installing database servers and migrating databases have been significantly overhauled so that it is possible to install the latest versions of the software and replay workflows to aid in migration and testing. In the service environment, to leverage to ability to monitor event data for troubleshooting SQL Trace / Profiler will be deprecated and extended events will replace that functionality.
Denali will introduce further security improvements and changes to facilitate compliance and increase flexibly and management. These are just a few of the changes in addition to the changes to high availability and the disaster recovery solutions. Always on, a new component, provides improvements to high availability using a mixture of 2 existing technologies, mirroring and clustering, and can be across geographically dispersed locations with the ability to add multiple replicas.
The development process will be set to change at a later date with Codename “Juneau”.
In summary, a vast amount of new technological components were discussed, from the new HP / Microsoft appliances to NoSQL databases to existing SQL Server components. Denali will be a major release of SQL Server, the largest since SQL Server 2005. The main takeaway is that SQL Server is no longer the small database server application that doesn’t scale or perform.