SQLBI experience at PASS 2009

I’ve been so busy in the last weeks that I wasn’t able to blog about PASS Summit 2009, so here’s a short recap.

  • I and Alberto presented the SQLBI Methodology in a 75 minutes slot. The room was full, there were about 200 people and no sits available. We got a lot of positive feedback about our session and this is a clear indication that there is a need for training in methodologies about the building of a complete BI solution. The most common questions are about the Data Warehouse and Data Mart Design and, of course, about the role of the OLTP Mirror level in the SQLBI Methodology. I admit that all these feedback provided us some energy to continue this job. Please continue writing us about your thoughts and comments about this work.
  • Then we also presented a session about Custom Security in Analysis Services that was a replacement for a canceled session. There were only 20/30 attendees in the room this time (mainly because the replacement has not been advertised very well), but they were all very interested to the topic because nobody left the room before the end (and it was the last session of the day). However, if you missed this session, you can read the Chapter 9 from our book Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services.
  • I attended several sessions about PowerPivot and SQL Server 2008 R2. But one of the most interesting was about Solid State Disk used with SQL Server. Recently I bought some SSD and made some internal benchmark – the speech I attended confirmed my first impressions. The world is going to change with SSD’s and even if it is not the same order of magnitude of improvement, it is something that can be compared with the shift from magnetic tapes to hard disk some decades ago. We are just at the beginning, but in a few years rotating hard disk will be considered useful only for backups.
  • Another great session was the keynote of David J. DeWitt the last day. David talked about the principles behind the columnar database that are the foundation of PowerPivot. But the big news here is that in SQL 11 we should not be surprised if the relational engine of SQL Server will integrate some of these concepts (imagine a table and/or indexes stored in that way).

As a side note, I had some hint to start thinking about the hidden power of DAX in PowerPivot/Gemini. Something that I need to investigate more.