Category Archives: David DeWitt

Microsoft’s Database Research Lab Conceives PolyBase to Easily Join Relational Data With Data From Hadoop

Complementing Microsoft’s overall Big Data strategy, PolyBase is a breakthrough new technology on the data processing engine in SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance designed as the simplest way to combine non-relational data and traditional relational data in your analysis. While customers would normally burden IT to pre-populate the warehouse with Hadoop data or undergo an extensive training on MapReduce in order to query non-relational data, PolyBase does this all seamlessly giving you the benefits of “Big Data” without the complexities.

In a unique partnership with the University of Wisconsin, PolyBase was birthed in Microsoft’s Gray Systems Lab in a research facility that is breaking new ground under Dr. David DeWitt’s leadership. DeWitt was a former department chair and emeritus professor of computer science at the University who joined Microsoft as a Technical Fellow to explore the bleeding edge of data management.  At the STRATA conference, it was announced that SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance which features PolyBase would be available to order starting March 1, 2012.

Learn more about what PolyBase is and the future of PolyBase from David DeWitt and the team at Gray Systems Lab:

The Gray Systems Lab has been opened since 2008 and has generated impactful contributions to the Microsoft SQL Server business. In 2010, Microsoft unveiled a $3.5 million upgrade by re-opening the lab with three times the space and room for 30 researchers and staff.  As a valued partnership between the University of Wisconsin and Microsoft, this unique lab represents the notion that academia, business, and government can work together for the common good.

Learn more about Microsoft’s Gray Systems Lab and their partnership with the University of Wisconsin:

Learn more about PolyBase:

Learn more about SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse:

Learn more about Microsoft’s Big Data Strategy:

Learn more about the Gray Systems Lab:

PASS Summit 2012 Recap & the Milestones of SQL Server 2012

Microsoft_VP_Ted_KummertLast week marked the completion of a great week at PASS Summit 2012, the world’s largest technical training conference for SQL Server professionals and BI experts alike. During this year’s 3-day conference, nearly 4,000 attendees heard firsthand about the great advances being made toward managing big data. Over the course of two keynote speeches by Microsoft Corporate Vice Presidents Ted Kummert (Data Platform Group) and Quentin Clark (SQL Program Management), Microsoft announced the following:

  • Project codename “Hekaton,” a new in-memory technology that will be built directly into the data platform, will ship in the next major version of SQL Server.  Currently in private technology preview with a small set of customers, Hekaton completes the company’s portfolio of in-memory technologies across analytics, transactions, streaming and caching workloads, enabling business acceleration by shrinking the time from raw data to insights.
  • SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW), the next version of Microsoft’s enterprise-class appliance, will be available during the first half of 2013.  SQL Server 2012 PDW includes PolyBase, a fundamental breakthrough in data processing that will enable queries across relational data and non-relational Hadoop data.
  • SQL Server 2012 SP1, which supports Office 2013 by offering business users enhanced, new capabilities for self-service business intelligence using familiar tools such as Excel and Sharepoint, is now available for download here

What’s more, on the final day of PASS Summit 2012, attendees were treated to the presentation, “Big Data Meets SQL Server 2012” by Microsoft Technical Fellow David DeWitt. 

PASS_Summit_2012All the while, conference participants attended a wide variety of technical sessions presented by industry experts in addition to a host of other programs. From on-site certification testing, to hands-on-labs, attendees were able to boost their technical skills using these resources, as well as work through technical issues with top Microsoft Customer Service and Support (CSS) engineers and get architectural guidance from the SQL Server, Business Intelligence and Azure Customer Advisory Teams (CAT). Of course, the learning didn’t stop there; attendees were invited to new, “I Made That!” Developer Chalk Talks, which featured 30 minute casual talks with the Microsoft developers who worked on specific features and functionalities of SQL Server 2012. The topics appealed to many, ranging from AlwaysOn to Hekaton. You can see more great photos from PASS Summit 2012 on the SQL Server Facebook page or access the video interviews with Dave Campbell, Quentin Clark, and David DeWitt available at the SQL Server virtual press room.

And so, as we close on another year of PASS Summit, it’s the perfect time to look back and see how far we’ve come since the launch of SQL Server 2012.  Join us below, as we take a celebratory look at the milestones we’ve hit along the way, and let’s look together toward the bright future ahead!


Countdown to PASS Summit Series: A Network of Experience & More to Bring Home

We can feel the excitement building as the Summit approaches! Here today, to help us with the final countdown and to get you ready for the rewarding week ahead are two of our SQL Server MVPs, Chris Shaw and Steve Novoselac, to share some wise words on what you can expect to get out of PASS Summit 2012 in Seattle, Washington. 



Chris_ShawChris Shaw, a former United States Marine, started his database career in 1993.  He is an Microsoft MVP Award Recipient the author of Pro SQL Server Practices 2012, which was released in October.  Chris currently consults for Xtivia, and can be reached at

I try to go to the PASS Summit each year, and I think over the last 10 years I have only missed a couple of them.   Recently at the local Users Group meeting, I was asked why someone should go to the PASS Summit.  It didn’t take long for me to start talking about all the reasons I go, but at the top of the list:

This is the best opportunity I have to sit and talk SQL with other professionals who have different experiences than I do.

At work, I don’t always have the opportunity to utilize all the things that SQL Server can do, so when a situation arises and I am asked to complete a project with SQL Server, I sometimes lack the experience in actually doing it.  I may have the knowledge on how to do it and the resources to find out to implement it, but without the experience, I believe you are more likely to miss some of the obstacles that you might encounter along the way.  I also believe that you might be more concerned about some of the challenges that may not exist, so speaking to others who have had different experiences can be very rewarding.

TJay Belt a close friend of mine was asked in an interview why he was the better candidate for a position.  The answer was along the lines of, “When you hire me, you get me and my network of SQL Server Professionals with all of their experience as well”. 

For more insight from Chris on why you should be excited about PASS Summit 2012, read Chris’ Big Data blog post, where he discusses another highlight of PASS Summit 2012, David DeWitt’s session, Big Data Meets SQL Server.



 Steve_Novoselac Steve Novoselac (@scaleovenstove) is the Business Intelligence and Software Development manager at Trek Bicycle Corporation, as well as on the Board of Directors of MADPASS, the Madison, WI PASS Chapter. Steve can be found blogging at and

Very soon, I will be landing in Seattle for the annual PASS Summit. This will be my third Summit, though I wish I could say that I had been to them all because the experience is one you don’t want to miss.

After consecutively attending the last few Summits, I can attest to the fact that it is a great thing. When asked "What is the one thing you look forward to at the Summit?", I really don’t have to think about the answer.

What keeps bringing me back is not so much things at the Summit, but what I bring back. Usually around the last few months of the year, I start feeling like I’m in a rut with things, and it just so happens that the Summit lands smack dab in the middle of that. I go to the Summit, plug into as many new and exciting things as I can get my hands on, and the juices start flowing. By the end of the week, my head is filled with so many ideas on how our team could implement "this" or think about how the business could use "that" — it really is invigorating.

I have always tried to get at least one other team member, if not more (myself and two others are attending this year) to attend the Summit so we can get more info, cover more bases and look from multiple angles. We try to talk to as many people we can, including presenters, MVP’s and Microsoft Employees. We try to hit the big sessions and the not-so-big sessions (where all the stuff that is going to be huge a couple of years from now is being talked about!). We try to make it to events throughout the week and check out as much as we can of the entire experience. (We also don’t forget to try some Pacific Northwest cuisine and beer!) But the best thing for me about the Summit, is taking things we learned back to the office and actually executing on them.

The Summit is the one time of year that we can forget about what we are working on day to day and start to learn and experience things to make not only our careers interesting, but help the business we work for become more productive and successful by using the solutions we will put in place –w ithout a doubt, many of these solutions come from the ideas sparked at the sessions and discussions at the Summit.

I hope to see you there!