Bacon, Bloggin’ and First Day Keynote at PASS Summit 2019!

After a flurry of release announcements at MSIgnite this week, it was time to talk about the technology at a deeper level at PASS Summit.  I love this event, which has my undying loyalty due to the sheer amount of technical focus on everything in the Microsoft data platform and of course, was not disappointed with the first day keynote on Wednesday!

We started out with a great treat of information before the keynote, just so we were prepared for what was to come in the next couple days…plus bacon!

Grant Says

Grant Fritchey started the keynote by welcoming all the attendees and talking about how impressive the event has been even though its just started!  I have to admit, it’s the first day and I could use a nap.  It’s pretty impressive with the amount of networking and technical socializing that happens at the conference.

Keynote Speaker Rohan Kumar

Rohan Kumar is the Corporate VP over Azure Data and is one of those people that is a symbol of what I see inside Microsoft everyday-  engaged, enthusiastic and fully understanding of the unified vision of the technology.  Unlike previous years, the Microsoft folks weren’t held back by waits on releases at MS Ignite, so instead, they were able to dig in deep to what the announcements meant to us as the professionals using the technology.  I. LOVE. THAT.

We’ve been waiting impatiently for SQL Server 2019, but we’re able to talk about not what is private preview or what might become part of the GA release, but what IS in the GA release!  Discussing the importance of the changes and focuses with how SQL Server 2019 will be the management layer over your datalakes, ability to use T-SQL, Python and everything in-between.

Know that soon you’ll be able to run SQL databases where you may never have imagined, such as ARM, (Raspberry Pi!). Rohan then talked about the future of data with Azure SQL Database Edge, that will be the ARM deployment for Azure.  I was sitting in my chair squealing as Rohan showed us an RPI with Edge on it.  I. WANT.  🙂

One of Microsoft’s partners, Zeiss, is using Edge on ARM technology and used it with a customer to work in a factory, in 100’s of factory line implementations and then the data is pulled into a SQL Server 2019 Big Data Cluster, (BDC).  This allows it to appear as one destination for ease of access and management.

They demonstrated three dimensional visualizations and how data could be displayed in a way to  get the most out of it with just these technologies and the power it offers.

The Bob and Conor Show

You always have to have the “Bob and Conor Show”, (Bob Ward and Conor).  They had fun with the attendees by crashing SQL Server 2019 to show how resilient the new release is.  It is incredibly self-healing and really impressed the crowd with a new feature called “Accelerated Database Recovery”.  This results in recovery after a crash of a database to be decreased signficantly.  Pretty awesome stuff!

Hyperscale, Arc, Oh My!

The Microsoft PMs came in and did some awesome demos of Azure Hyperscale db, demonstrating that a 200TB database could scale quickly, easily and still return results in micro-seconds.

Arc is a new service that allows you to deploy from your on-prem and connect it to the cloud in a way they never were able before.  You can use the cool features we have in the Azure cloud, but for your on-prem environment.  I’ve always hated a multi-solution for maintenance, management and monitoring, which the Arc product seems to really address.  As your environment grows, you can simply move to the cloud without having to purchase more on-prem hardware, which is a much greener choice, too.  Kudos to Anna Hoffman who did a great job demonstrating this to the attendees.

The PMs also demonstrated the new PaaS offerings with MongoDB, PosgreSQL and new features in CosmosDB.  It was proof that Microsoft technology has shifted to a full multi-platform solution in Azure and Microsoft.  As this is where I’ve always “lived”, it makes me so happy to see this.

Azure Synapse Analytics

This was an important announcement for me.  This “solution” was something we’ve been deploying on our own with customers for the last couple years.  We realized this was our customers needed, but to have it as a “solution” that you can deploy and is recognized as the default, advanced analytics solution from Microsoft is huge.

I was also thrilled to see the name “Azure DataWarehouse” going away.  This has been a misunderstood product for quite some time and the new product name of Azure Synapse more identifies with it’s features.  For my day job, (outside of moving all those Oracle databases into Azure and OCI) I’ll be closely working with this product.

This also includes the Azure Data Factory, (ADF) dataflows to simplify to work of ELT pipelines.  Mike Flasco did an awesome presentating on Azure Synapse Analytics and this was the one that I was waiting for.  Mike demonstrated how to use machine learning, (ML) with the Synapse product, but keep in mind, we can use Power BI with this for those that aren’t ready for advanced ML.  Its one of the things I love most about these products-  Excel users can easily acclimate to Power BI and then as the user matures with Python, R and other ML, then they can go from Power BI to full ML.  The interface is very similar, even if the capabilities have been enhanced.

The next step was demonstrating how if you weren’t in the advanced, command line, full code development solution for data flow transformations, you can easily use a no code version to do something very similar.

Data of Tomorrow

Speaking of data- I’ve always discussed data forecasting focused on the pivotal year of 2020, but as we reach the end of 2019, Rohan mentioned some new numbers that I found fascinating:

  • 175ZB by 2025
  • 50B connected devices by 2030

Consider the size of a Zettabyte: “a unit of information equal to one sextillion (1021) or, strictly, 270 bytes.”

Start counting and keep uploading those photos and texting, peeps.