Category Archives: Events

Where do 100-Level Sessions belong at PASS?

Now that the PASS Summit 2014 is over, I remember having a hard time deciding which sessions to attend and can’t wait for the USB to arrive. This year, I was on the Program Committee for the first time ever. I would recommend the experience to all speakers or potential speakers at some point. I know with the explosion of SQL Saturday events that many more people have had to wrestle with how to choose content. The Program Committee has the main goal of selecting the content that will drive people…(read more)

PASS Summit: Networking, Onsite Activities & SQL Family

Just one week from now, PASS Summit will bring together the #SQLFamily in Seattle for the best week of SQL Server and BI learning and networking on the calendar, Nov. 4-7. With a record 200+ technical sessions across 3 jam-packed days of connecting and sharing with 5,000 fellow SQL Server professionals from around the world, PASS Summit 2014 will be the biggest Summit yet.

In addition to sessions with top community and Microsoft experts, guidance from Microsoft CSS, SQLCAT, and SQL Tiger teams at the popular SQL Server Clinic, and hands-on instructor-led workshops, Summit attendees can get 50% off Microsoft certification exams onsite. What else can you look forward to at this year’s Summit? Here are just some of the networking activities, onsite events, and opportunities to immerse yourself in the #SQLCommunity like never before.

First Timers

First-time Summit attendee? Don’t know what to expect at the conference? Don’t miss one of our First-Timers’ orientation sessions Tuesday before the Welcome Reception to get an inside look at what’s in store for you at PASS Summit and tips on getting the most from your week. Then, jump into a Speed Networking session with your fellow First-Timers, and start making connections. We’ll also have daily “Get to Know Your Community” sessions on how to navigate Summit and get more involved in PASS and the #SQLCommunity year-round.

Speaker Idol

For the first time ever, watch as 12 presenter compete for a guaranteed speaking spot at PASS Summit 2015. With three rounds across three days, a panel of judges from the community will give Speaker Idol contestants real-time feedback and select the finalists for Friday’s “speak-off.” Drop by the Community Session Room (Room 400) to watch this competition and cheer on your favorite speakers.

Community Zone

The Community Zone, on the level-4 Skybridge, is the place to mix and mingle with members of the community. Local and Virtual Chapter leaders, Regional Mentors, SQLSaturday organizers, and MVPs will be on hand Wednesday through Friday to answer any questions you have about PASS. The Community Zone will also feature a different country/language spotlight every hour – come by and talk with community leaders from your area and who speak your native language. Plus, meet community leaders from around the world and you could win a $250 VISA gift card in our SQL Around the World scavenger hunt-style game. 


This year’s Summit features two great opportunities tolearn more as you dig into lunch. Thursday’s Women in Technology Luncheon welcomes special guest keynoter Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE, to share her thoughts in a question-and-answer session. And join with MVPs, speakers, PASS Board members, and fellow attendees in our closing day Birds of a Feather Luncheon, focused on bringing people with the same passions together.

Evening Events

The fun continues even after sessions are over, with evening events designed to help you engage with the community and relax after an intense day of training. Help us kick off PASS Summit at Tuesday’s Welcome Reception, and rub shoulders with our sponsors and exhibitors at Wednesday’s Exhibitor Reception. Then enjoy Thursday’s Community Appreciation Party at the contemporary, cutting-edge Experience Music Project Museum, sponsored by PASS and Microsoft as a special thank you for being part of the #SQLCommunity.

Read what community bloggers are looking forward to at the SQL Server event of the year. And if you haven’t already, make sure you register by Oct. 31 to save $200 off the onsite rate. We can’t wait to see everyone there!

Are you ready for PASS Summit 2014?

I wanted to re-publish an old blog post that is still fairly accurate. It is actually a summary of blog posts I did back in 2011. A great deal of the information is still relevant. I hope that you find the information useful and to see you at the PASS Summit 2014!…(read more)

Microsoft sessions at PASS Summit 2014

Got SQL Server 2005 running on Windows Server 2003?  We have fantastic pre-con and general sessions to help you plan your upgrade and migration strategies.

Interested in the new Azure data services like Azure DocumentDB, Azure ML, and Azure Search?  We have awesome people lined up to give you all the details.

Want know the nitty-gritty about Azure SQL Database? We got you covered.

It is PASS Summit time and we are counting down the days. We have Microsoft experts from our Redmond campus, field experts flying in from Italy and the U.K., and we’re bringing customers to share their stories – just to name a few.  Check out the Microsoft sessions below and add them to your PASS Summit session builder along with great community sessions. 

7 Databases in 70 Minutes: A Primer for NoSQL in Azure, Lara Rubbelke and Karen Lopez

Analytics Platform System Deep Dive (APS), Paul Dyke

Analytics Platform System Overview (APS), Nicolle Whitman

Analyzing tweets with HDInsight, Excel and Power BI, Miguel Martinez and Sanjay Soni

Application Lifecycle Management for SQL Server database development, Lonny Bastien and Steven Green

Azure CAT: Azure Data Platform: Picking the right storage solution for the right problem, Kun Cheng, Rama Ramani, and Ewan Fairweather

Azure CAT: Azure SQL DB Performance Tuning & Troubleshooting, Sanjay Mishra, Kun Cheng, and Silvano Coriani

Azure CAT: Deep dive of Real world complex Azure data solutions: Lindsey Allen, and Rama Ramani

Azure CAT: Running your Line of Business application on Azure Virtual Machine Services, Juergen Thomas

Azure CAT: SQL Server 2014 Gems, Shep Sheppard

Azure CAT: SQL Server 2014 In-Memory Customer Deployments: Lessons Learned, Michael Weiner and Stephen Baron

Azure Search Deep Dive, Pablo Castro

Azure SQL Database Business Continuity and Auditing Deep Dive, Nadav Helfman and Sasha Nosov

Azure SQL Database Overview, Bill Gibson and Sanjay Nagamangalam

Azure SQL Database Performance and Scale Out Deep Dive, Torsten Garbs and Michael Ray

BI Power Hour, Matt Masson and Matthew Roche

Building a Big Data Predictive Application, Nishant Thacker and Karan Gulati

Built for Speed: Database Application Design for Performance, Pam Lahoud

ColumnStore Index: SQL Server 2014 and Beyond, Sunil Agarwal and Jamie Reding

Connecting SAP ERP and Microsoft BI Platform, Sanjay Soni

Data-tier Considerations of Cloud-based Modern Application Design, Scott Klein

Deep Dive into Power Query Formula Language, Matt Masson and Theresa Palmer-Boroski

Deploying Hadoop in a Hybrid Environment, Matt Winkler

Deployment and best practices for Power BI for Office 365, Miguel Llopis

End-to-End Demos with Power BI, Kasper de Jonge and Sanjay Soni

HBase: Building real-time big data apps in the cloud, Maxim Lukiyanov

Improve Availability using Online Operations in SQL Server 2014, Ajay Jagannathan and Ravinder Vuppula

In-Memory OLTP in SQL Server 2014: End-to-End Migration, George Li

Interactive Data Visualization with Power View, Will Thompson

Introducing Azure Machine Learning, Raymond Laghaeian

Introduction to Azure HDInsight and Visual Studio customizations, Matt Winkler

Just in Time Data Analytics with SQL Server 2014, Binh Cao and Tomas Polanco

Leveraging SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines Best Practices, Scott Klein

Life in the fast lane with Azure DocumentDB, Stephen Baron

Making the most of Azure Machine Learning end-to-end, Parmita Mehta

Managing 1 Million+ DBs-How Big Data is used to run SQL Azure, Conor Cunningham

Match the database to the data – from on prem to the cloud, Buck Woody

Microsoft Azure SQL Database – Resource Management, Mine Tokus

Migration and Deployment Principles for SQL Server in Azure VMs, Selcin Turkarslan

Polybase in the Modern Data Warehouse, Artin Avanes

Power BI Hybrid Data Access via Data Management Gateway, Luming Han and Mini Nair

Power View with Analysis Services Multidimensional Models, Kasper de Jonge

Real world Healthcare BI transformations in the cloud, Matt Smith and Michael Wilmot

SQL Server 2014 AlwaysOn (High Availability and Disaster Recovery), Luis Carlos Vargas Herring

SQL Server 2014 in-Memory OLTP – Memory/Storage Monitoring and Troubleshooting, Sunil Agarwal

SQL Server 2014 In-Memory OLTP Query Processing, Jos de Bruijn

SQL Server 2014 In-Memory OLTP Transaction Processing, Jos de Bruijn

SQL Server 2014: In-Memory Overview, Kevin Farlee

SQL Server Hybrid Features End to End, Xin Jin

SQL Server in Azure VM Roadmap, Luis Carlos Vargas Herring

To The Cloud, Infinity, & Beyond: Top 10 Lessons Learned at MSIT, Jimmy May

Upgrading and Migrating SQL Server, John Martin

What's New in Microsoft Power Query for Excel, Miguel Llopis

Who Dunnit? A Walk Around the SQL Server 2014 Audit Feature, Timothy McAliley and Michael Ray


Still want more? No problem. Check back November 5th for additional sessions and speakers.

Only 28 More days until PASS Summit. You won’t want to miss it!

24 Hours of PASS (September 2014): Recordings Now Available!

Sessions of the event 24 Hours of PASS: Summit Preview Edition (which was held on last September 9th) were recorded and now they are available for online streaming!

If you have missed one session in particular or the entire event, you can view it or review your preferred sessions; you can find all details here.

What could you aspect from the next PASS Summit? Find it out on recorded sessions of this edition of 24 Hours of PASS.

PASS Summit 2014 – Don’t miss the largest conference for SQL Server Professionals

Do you have the “Data Gene”? 

Preparations for PASS Summit 2014 in Seattle, Washington are well underway.  We are very excited to have this year’s event back in Seattle and look forward to bringing you some great sessions and activities throughout the event.    

Tune in to this week’s TechNet Radio special to listen to Jennifer Moser, Lara Rubbelke, Ann Bachrach and SQL RockStar, Thomas LaRock talk about the “data gene” and why you don’t want to miss this year’s event.

Don’t procrastinate, get registered for PASS Summit 2014!  

24 Hours of PASS (September 2014): Summit Preview Edition

Which sessions you can expect to find at the next PASS Summit 2014 ? Find it out on September 09, 2014 (12:00 GMT) at the free online event: 24 Hours of PASS: Summit Preview Edition.

Register now at this link.

No matter from what part of the world you will follow the event, the important thing is to know that they will be 24 hours of continuous training on SQL Server and Business Intelligence on your computer!

Introducing the AzureCAT PPI Theater at PASS BA

The AzureCAT (Customer Advisory Team) is returning to the world of PASS and joining all of you Data lovin’ folks at the PASS BA conference this week in sunny San Jose!  For those you that aren’t familiar with AzureCAT, we are a Microsoft organization in the Cloud and Enterprise division that spends 100% of our time engaging with customers to make the most complex scenarios in the Azure and SQL space work like a charm.

This week at PASS BA, you’ll see us hanging out at the Microsoft booth, attending some of the great sessions and you’ll also find us at our own CAT PPI theater on the tradeshow floor.

Below are some bios of the AzureCATs that will be there. You’ll also see our planned talks and schedules.  Those of you that know AzureCATs know that’s the least of what we’ll cover.  We’re hanging out for your questions and impromptu sessions as interest arises.

Come on by our PPI Theater and say hi.


 Olivier Matrat

Hi, I’m Olivier and I am a data professional with more than 18 years of experience in technical, customer-facing, and management capacities at organizations of all sizes; I’m talking start-ups to multinationals. I lead a team of AzureCAT experts helping customers, partners, and the broader community be successful in their Big Data analytics projects on the Azure platform. I’m a Founding Partner member of the PASS Board of Directors, so I have PASS in my blood.  I’m also French and incidentally own the best French bakery in Redmond.  If you aren’t interested in analytics, ask me how to make a great croissant! Looking forward to talking with all of you about social sentiment analytics in my “Tapping the tweets – Social sentiment analytics at Internet scale in Azure” talk.

 Murshed Zaman

Hello!  I’m Murshed, a Senior Program Manager in AzureCAT.  I spend my time helping customers working with SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse, ColumnStore, Hadoop, Hive and IaaS. Over the last 12 years, I’ve specialized in telecommunications, retail, web analytics and supply chain management and for over 7 years I’ve worked with Massively Parallel Processing (MPP). Right now my main areas of focus are in design, architecture and Distributed-SQL plans. This year at PASS BA I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Big Data and Big Compute in “Connecting the Dots – Risk Simulation with Big Data, Big Compute and PDW”.  Looking forward to meeting you there! 


 Chuck Heinzelman

I’m Chuck.  I am a Senior Program Manager with the Microsoft Azure Customer Advisory Team, and I have been a member of the PASS community since 2000.  My primary focus is on cloud-based analytics, and I’ve also dabbled in matters related to hardware, OS configuration and even application development.  Like a certain snowman from a recent hit animated movie, I’ve been known to like warm hugs – as well as non-fat white chocolate mochas.  Feel free to bring one or both at my Cloud Applications Without Telemetry?  Surely You Can’t Be Serious! or BI in Windows Azure Virtual Machines: From Creation to User Access talks.

 John Sirmon 

Hi, I’m John Sirmon.  I’m a Senior Program Manager on the AzureCAT team. I’ve been working with SQL Server for over 10 years and I’m loving the BI space.  In my 9-5 life I specialize in Analysis Services performance tuning, Reporting Services, SharePoint integration, troubleshooting Kerberos Authentication and PowerPivot for SharePoint.  In my spare time I am the lead singer/guitarist of a local Rock Band in Charlotte, NC. 

 Chantel Morin

I am a member of the Microsoft Azure Customer Advisory Team (AzureCAT). For the past 4 years I’ve been the assistant to Mark Souza, our General Manager. In the last year I’ve shifted my focus more towards my passion for community and events. I’m also ramping up to assist with customer onboarding into Azure TAP programs. I have the best team and manager in all the land and when I’m not enjoying work for pay I like to travel to music festivals, ride ATVs and spend time with my two pitbulls, Max and Tucker.   You can find me at the Microsoft Information Desk during the event.

Sessions at the CAT PPI Theater

Connecting the Dots – Risk Simulation with Big Data, Big Compute and PDW 
Thursday May 8th at 12:20pm, Friday May 9th at 9:20am

Microsoft Azure offers you a platform that allows you to migrate your big compute and big data needs to the cloud, while Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) can be used on-premises as a query engine for data that you store both on-premises and in Microsoft Azure Storage.  Through the use of Microsoft Azure HPC clusters, HDInsight clusters and PDW, we’ll discuss risk simulations and data aggregations which include hybrid on-premises/cloud scenarios, and demonstrate using these technologies over data generated during the session.

Tapping the tweets – Social sentiment analytics at Internet scale in Azure
Thursday May 8th at 12:50pm, Friday May 9th at 12:50pm

Twitter and other social media channels have become an integral part of many organizations’ marketing strategies. Microsoft Azure provides a ubiquitous platform to acquire, monitor, process, store and analyze those all-important brand loyalty and CSAT signals. Through the use of a mix of first and third party tools as well as open source solutions, we will illustrate how to infer actionable insights from the ambient social noise at scale.

Cloud Applications Without Telemetry?  Surely You Can’t Be Serious!
Thursday May 8th at 9:20am, Friday May 9th at 12:20pm

Analytics isn’t limited to line of business data – your applications can (and should) generate high quality data that can be used to determine things like:

  • Am I meeting my application SLAs?
  • What is my general customer experience like?
  • Do I need to scale up or down based on demand?

In the traditional on-premises world, you probably didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about application monitoring and telemetry – you were in full control of the entire environment.  If things weren’t right – either from a connectivity or performance perspective, you could easily look at the systems to see what was going on.

Fast-forward to the cloud-based world.  You are now running on servers that you don’t control, and using services that are shared among other consumers, and don’t necessarily have access to all of the data you are used to having.  That is why you need to add telemetry to your applications and services.

The AzureCAT has published a framework for gathering telemetry that is based on many customer engagements.  We’ll spend time talking about what data to gather, how to gather it, and how to consume it once you have it.

BI in Windows Azure Virtual Machines: From Creation to User Access (room 230A)
Conference Breakout: Thursday May 8th at 4pm

Running BI workloads in Windows Azure Virtual Machines can present a whole new world of challenges. While the tools are largely the same between the IaaS and on-premises implementations, your solutions for authentication and authorization could be significantly different in the cloud. 

We’ll start out by talking about how to use the standard gallery images to run BI workloads in IaaS, and then discuss building custom scaled-out BI infrastructures in Azure Virtual Machines. From there, we will dive into the different authentication and authorization options you might want to take advantage of – options that will work both in the cloud and on-premises, but are especially useful in a cloud-based environment.

And potentially as special treat …

Details to come but there’s a good chance you’ll see John Sirmon from the AzureCAT team at the theater.  This man LITERALLY wrestles alligators as well as analytics.  (No alligators will be harmed in the making of this PASS BA talk)

The Microsoft Infinity Room Photo Contest Has a Winner!

Congratulations to Edgar Rivera, whose Microsoft Infinity Room photo won the #InsightsAwait Photo Sweepstakes. “I never thought that stepping into some data visualization could be this cool,” Edgar tweeted. You can see his photo here.

Visitors to the Microsoft Infinity Room were invited to capture their experiences and tag their photos on Twitter or Instagram with the #InsightsAwait hashtag. You can view all of the contest entries here.

If you didn’t have a chance to visit the Infinity Room in San Francisco from April 15-17, take the 360-degree virtual tour and be inspired by the extraordinary found through data surrounding an ordinary object.

Also – want to learn more about Microsoft Big Data solutions? Hear CEO Satya Nadella discuss Microsoft’s drive towards a data culture during the Accelerate your insights event in San Francisco earlier this month. Watch the keynote on-demand now.