Today was Day 1 of the SQL PASS summit.  Today there were a few announcements during the keynotes which if you didn’t see on the live streaming site you probably want to hear about.

During the PASS portion of the keynote we also heard about the massive amount of training the the SQL PASS organization provides to the community.  PASS has counted over 430,000 hours of training which has been delivered to PASS members.  That number will sky rocket over the next three days as people go through the SQL PASS summit sessions.

There was a great shout out during the keynote for the SQL MVP Deep Dives book which was officially released at the PASS Summit.  This book, which if you aren’t aware of was written by 55 different SQL Server MVPs with all the profits going to Operation Smile.

The first and probably most important announcement was the official name of the SQL Server “Denali” product which is officially named SQL Server 2012 and will be released in the first half of the year 2012.  These announcements as well as the rest of the keynote was given by Ted Kummert the Senior VP for Business Platform Tools (aka. Bus Plat) of the SQL Server product at Microsoft.

There was a lot of talk from Ted about the Azure cloud which is a big change from the on premise installations of SQL Server that Microsoft has been selling for the last 20 years.  The reason for the big push is that a lot of customers are moving some data up to Azure.  Now don’t worry this doesn’t mean that on site installs are going away.  Microsoft is working hard on great new features which will be coming out in the future releases of the SQL Server product that we know and love.  Azure simply gives you a additional choice besides building and running systems on site so that you can be more flexible and so that you don’t need to worry about things like hardware and patching which is all taken care of for you in the Azure cloud.

If you are a used of “Project Crescent” this has been officially named “Power View” (I’ve been asked to tell you that there is a space in the name).  It was also hinted during the keynote that more BI tools will be introduced to SQL Azure in 2012.  What flavor this comes in is any ones guess, but it’ll be an interesting thing to see for sure.

Ted also spoke specifically about Big Data and some of the directions that people will be going with big data.  Companies today simply don’t throw any data away, and some times that data is unstructured and that’s really the best way of using the data.  Microsoft will be getting into this market more with the distributed compute platform which means that Microsoft will be supporting Hadoop as a part of the data platform.  This means that you’ll be able to run Hadoop on Microsoft Windows as well as on the Azure platform.

As of last week you can get the Apache Hadoop connector for SQL Server and the PDW platform so that you can connect SQL Server to Hadoop.  Future releases include the Hadoop based distribution that I spoke about above, as well as an ODBC driver and add-in for Excel and office to make it easier for people to get Hadoop data into the office platforms.  I think that this is really a big game changer as this allows for a very different data storage platform than they are used to with traditional databases platforms.  Microsoft will have a CTP version of their Hadoop platform available on SQL Azure before the end of the 2011 year.

Microsoft announced “Data Explorer” which allows users to do self service BI without realizing that they are doing self service BI.  This allows users to easily see and read the data, most importantly taking the data and turning it into information that they can use to drive the company quickly and easily.  I’m not going to bore you with anything about this demo as it sucked.  They pretty much lost the audience within a couple of minutes.

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow as there will be more great announcements from Microsoft during tomorrow’s keynote.



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