Let me give you some inside info about what is on the agenda:
Day 1: Engine Performance and Advanced Diagnostics
The real star of this day is my colleague Keith Elmore. No one on our team knows more about performance troubleshooting than Keith. He has graciously allowed me to participate in this talk with him during the day. Keith is going to focus on giving you an inside look at the new Activity Monitor and Management Data Warehouse (MDW) in SQL Server 2008 (among other things). Keith spent allot of time testing and reviewing this feature so I think you will like his perspective on it. Many folks may not know Keith is the author of the
SQL Server 2005 Performance Dashboard
. He brings a great perspective on the differences between those reports and the features for SQL Server 2008. I'll focus on showing you a few tools you may not have seen before such as the
Windows Performance Toolkit
. As a special bonus, Keith will be demonstrating the new update to the RML Utilities (READTRACE/OSTRESS) which includes support for SQL Server 2008. Given Keith helped develop this toolset, I'm sure you will enjoy his perspective on this and chance to ask him questions
Day 2: Dive into SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services and Analysis Services
I'm excited to see two of our brightest engineers who support our BI technologies come and give you their perspective on the internals of changes to SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services and Analysis Services. Adam Saxton who sits right next to me in Texas will spend the first half of the day talking about Reporting Services for SQL Server 2008. Adam is a coder, so get ready to hear SSRS from a developer's perspective.
John Desch, an escalation engineer from our Charlotte office, is one of our top experts on Analysis Services. He brings a fresh perspective for you to understand the practical aspects to new features in 2008 that can help you become more productive when developing and building your OLAP applications.
Both of these engineers specialize in these technologies and see the common problems customers have with them so I think will you enjoy hearing their take on how SQL Server 2008 improves the customer experience.
The SQL Server First Aid Station:
In past years we have offered self-paced labs. But what we discovered is that more people just want to talk to us about their problems with SQL Server (or maybe vent a bit about their problems<g>). That's ok because that is what we do. So this year we will focus on being available to discuss your questions and issues with SQL Server. We call it the First Aid Station because we want you to get guidance and direction from us for your issues. Is your SQL Server feeling a bit sluggish these days? We will staff a team of CSS engineers both from our local Seattle office (Sammamish actually) plus our team of speakers to talk to you about your experiences with SQL Server. Our Sammamish team staffing the SQL Server First Aid Station include: Abirami Iyer; Dave Whitney (CSS); Hong-Chee Tan; John Gose; Ki Yi (SQL 3T); Lakshmi Jonnakuti; Lonnye Bower; Steve Dybing; Sujas Dasgupta; Tina Cruickshank, Chris Wilson, and Allison Kent. Our speakers you see in this blog post will also be in and out of the station including the developers of the update to
RML Utilities for SQL Server 2008
: Robert Dorr, Keith Elmore, and Sarah Henwood.
Even if you just want to come by and talk about your great experiences with SQL Server, you are also welcome. We generally only hear the complaints so that might be a welcome break for us. In the end, we just want to meet customers so stop by Room 620 during the main conference (hours are generally 10:15am to about 6pm, give or take 30mins, Wed-Fri) and talk to our team.
Thursday, November 20, 10:15am-11:45am
Bob Ward - Debugging the Memory of SQL Server 2008
I'm up first for our sessions. Why not start your day by getting really deep into the internals of how SQL Server manages memory. I'll warn you now. This is a 500 level talk but I also think you will benefit from understanding more on how SQL Server allocates and manages its own memory. It is perhaps one of the more sophisticated parts of the engine so don't be surprised if I need to bring up the Windows Debugger during this session. One thing I think you will enjoy is an explanation for what all those perfmon counters and DMVs related to memory actually mean. You might even end up walking away actually understanding what PAE, 3Gb, and AWE mean.
Thursday, November 20, 4:30pm-5:45pm
Shon Hauck - Implementing and Supporting SQL 2008 Failover Clustering
Shon knows clustering. He has supported both Windows and SQL failover clustering and is our "go-to" person when it comes to SQL failover clustering. SQL Server 2008 clustering has changed when it comes to installation and configuration so if you are thinking about deploying failover clustering, don't miss this talk from Shon.
Friday, November 21, 10:45am-12pm
Robert Dorr - How it works: FileStreams
I'm not sure I've met anyone at Microsoft brighter than my good friend Bob Dorr. He spent more time than anyone else on our team looking at FileStreams for SQL Server 2008 during its design and development. His impact can be seen in all types of diagnostics available to investigate issues with Filestreams. But Bob is a developer at heart so you will enjoy his perspective of the internals of Filestreams and how to best use this feature with your application.
Friday, November 21, 10;45am-12pm
Sarah Henwood - Upgrading to SQL Server 2008 – Avoid ‘Gotchas’ and Known Issues
Sarah is the perfect person to give you tips and advice before you go through the process of upgrading to SQL Server 2008. Sarah worked for Microsoft several years ago, left to become a DBA at a Fortune 500 company, and is now back with Microsoft at CSS. So she knows exactly what it is like to be on both sides of a support call. She also know what it is like to do your job to manage and deploy SQL Server. If you are planning an upgrade for SQL Server 2008, you will want to see this talk. Sarah includes common issues our team saw customers encounter as they upgraded to SQL Server 2008. Learn from these experiences to make your upgrade experience smoother.
As you can see, we play a large part in the conference next week. We have come a long way from 2003 in Seattle when Ken Henderson and I first represented CSS at PASS. Every year we get very positive feedback for our talks and people that meet our team. I though about this a few times and wondered why. I think it comes down to the fact that we in CSS represent the voice of the customer within Microsoft. We live and share your questions and pain every day. Therefore, when we present our ideas it is always from a perspective of "What would our customers want to know. What do they need to do their job."
Enjoy the PASS Summit next week. Please take the time to find me somewhere at the conference and tell me more about how Microsoft can help improve SQL Server and what our CSS team can do to improve our service and support for you.