Passionately curious about Data, Databases and Systems Complexity. Data is ubiquitous, the database universe is dichotomous (structured and unstructured), expanding and complex. Find my Database Research at SQLToolkit.co.uk . Microsoft Data Platform MVP

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing" Einstein

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Day 3 PASS SQL Rally Nordic

Day 3 launched straight into sessions. The session designing Hybrid Systems for the Enterprise by Buck Woody was based on the ebook  Building Hybrid Applications in the Cloud on Windows Azure http://www.tinyurl.com/9ffms3t . The session provided an excellent guide for creating a cloud architecture. The session finished quoting Plato “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

The next couple of sessions were very useful, exploring under the hood with the sessions using statistics and relational algebra. The sessions were Optimizing column stores with statistical analysis by Thomas Kejser and the SQL Server 2012 Query Optimiser by Conor Cunningham.

Column store was originally written about in papers in the 1970’s and has only now been incorporated into SQL Server. Mathematical techniques were discussed, low cardinality, correlation of columns, entropy, mutual information leading to the big unsolved question of computer science  P=NP. More information is here http://blog.kejser.org/2012/07/27/what-is-the-best-sort-order-for-a-column-store/

The Query Optimiser session gave a flying visit to how the optimiser works. The optimizer finds a good plan rather than optimal plan as it may take to days to find the absolute optimal plan. SQL Server does a good job at selecting a good plan. The relational algebra trees were explained from the basics to logical , physical  tree concepts answering the question what is a query?  More details on previous talks on this subject matter http://sqlbits.com/Speakers/Conor_Cunningham

The last 2 sessions I attended covered Windows 2012 Infrastructure for SQL Server and Cloud Ready Data Services.

All in all an excellent conference with great sessions and lots of exchanging SQL views with like-minded people.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Day 2 PASS SQL Rally Nordic

The main conference started with a keynote delivered by Kamal Hathi BI on Big Data. This started with a historical look at database\ data progression. With social and web analytics and live data fields, how do we predict future outcomes? Utilising advanced analytics on big data this can be visually displayed with the creation of a storyboard connecting the many data sets such as SQL Server, Hadoop, Excel etc. with the Microsoft toolset. There is no one single tool but a collection of tools for the job.

Other sessions I attended were from the DBA track which covered extended events, clustering and memory management for SQL Server 2012.

An interesting session shared technical information on building highly scalable and available cloud applications. Key consideration for the architectural design
  • Data Warehousing is not a good fit for the cloud
  • Scale out not Scale up
  • Everything has a limit
  • Design for failure
  • Design for continuity
  • Optimise for density
The key to a successful cloud, distributed computing system, is all in the architectural design. A phase from the session “Telemetry is Life” left me thinking about patterns and practices.  The end of another  great day.

Monday 1 October 2012

PASS SQL Rally Nordic 2012 Day 1

The PASS SQL Rally Nordic from October 1-3 2012 in Copenhagen started with 3 pre-conference seminars. I attended a session covering the Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) Presentation layer taken by Stacia Misner. This excellent session covered the theory of the BI Maturity Model from TDWI by Wayne Eckerson, a roadmap to analytical completion and collaborative decision making. Then this was mapped to the BI stack of SharePoint, SQL Server Reporting Services, PowerView, PowerPivot, Performance Point and Excel.

Reading Material from the session
Book on Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning  Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris