The current PASS President Thomas LaRock, kicked off this year’s SQL PASS 2014 Summit by announcing record breaking numbers for the conference. PASS Summit 2014 has 3,941 delegates and 1,959 pre-conference registrations. The attendees came from across 56 countries for a total of 5,900 registrations.
This year’s sold-out Exhibit Hall features 57 partners with Diamond and Platinum sponsors, including Microsoft, DELL, and HP. Thomas pointed how PASS was continuing to grow as the premier SQL Server community. Some of the highlights he pointed out for 2014 including:
- 285 Chapters
- 86 SQL Saturdays
- 27 Virtual Chapters
- 5 24-hours of PASS
- 1.3M training hours in 2014
Microsoft’s T.K. "Ranga" Rengarajan, Corporate Vice President, Data Platform, Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice Ppreseint of the Information Management & Machine Learning group, and James Phillips, General Manager, Power BI, followed LaRock by highlighting a lot of the recent Microsoft data platform enhancements. Not too surprisingly, much of their time was focused on the different Azure offerings. Some notable on-premise enhancements that they mentioned included:
- The ability to build columnstore indexes on In-memory tables
- The ability for Power BI to use on-premise Analysis Services
- Upcoming enhancements to SSIS
There was far more discussion of Azure. Some of the Azure data platform highlights included:
- Azure DocumentDB – Provides a NoSQL DB service
- Azure Data Factory – Combines data from multiple data sources
- Analytics Platform System (APS) – Formerly named the Parallel Data Warehouse the new APS can combine and query both relational and big data
- Azure SQL Database – A major update was announced that provides more T-SQL compatibility, support for the columnstore index, parallel queries and larger index handling
- Stretch Tables – Allowing tables to be extended from on-premise to Azure with no need to rewrite queres.
- Azure Machine Learning – A free trail begins today.
Sanjay Soni from Microsoft also presented a pretty cool Microsoft Kinect demo showing how Pier 1 stores were using Microsoft Kinect for real-time customer analysis, as well as a mobile app that provided in-store product recommendations and mapping using Azure Machine Learning on the backend.
PASS provides streaming of today and Thursday’s keynotes on PASStv.