PASS Summit 2018 Day One Keynote—SQL Server and Azure Data Services with Rohan Kumar

Kevin Kline

Published On: November 8, 2018

Categories: Cloud, SQL Server, Azure, PASS Summit 0

This post was live-blogged from the PASS Summit 2018 keynote. Please forgive incomplete thoughts, sentence fragments, and other lapses.

Next year will mark a major milestone since the founding of the PASS organization way back in 1999—20 years of PASS! This event is the 20th PASS Summit, and this year is also the 25th anniversary of SQL Server.

(Since I was there 20 years ago as one of the founding board members of PASS, and having served as an executive of the organization from 1999 to January 1, 2010, I'm going to publish a few blog posts soon that discuss the early years and some history of the PASS community.)

Rohan Kumar and the PASS Summit 2018 Keynote

Rohan Kumar is the Corporate Vice President of Azure Data at Microsoft—he sets the direction and strategy for SQL Server and the Microsoft Data Platform. Rohan's keynote topic this year was SQL Server and Azure Data Services: Harness the future with the ultimate hybrid platform for data and AI. Here's the keynote abstract for quick reference in case you missed this session: "In today’s world, the forces of Cloud, Data and AI are driving innovation and ushering in the era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Microsoft’s goal is to bring you the best products and tools to tackle these new opportunities—helping you build a data infrastructure that supports your organization now and into the future."

My favorite part of PASS Summit keynotes are the demonstrations. Today, Rohan showed the latest advances from Microsoft across SQL Server, Azure Data Services, Business Analytics, and AI. I'll provide brief highlights of some of the new product previews and features, as well as the innovations that make Microsoft the best data partner of any provider—on-premises or at cloud scale.

Before I dive into the keynote highlights, a PSA: Don't forget that SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 are at the end of their extended support cycle!

  • Much of the keynote content was about hybrid computing, with four main areas of focus:
    • Modernizing on-prem
    • Modernizing into the cloud
    • Building cloud-native apps
    • Unlocking insights
  • SQL Server 2019 CTP 2.1 is now in Public Preview and includes analytics and AI over big data, support for Spark and HDFS natively, and support for Scala, Java, Ruby, and Node.js. Microsoft is planning to release a new version of the CTP every month. There's no data platform vendor that can match that velocity! SQL Server 2019 CTP enhancements include the following:
    • Availability and performance improvements, such as automated query tuning with Intelligent Query Processing and improved scalar UDFs
    • Security and compliance improvements, with more features and capabilities added to the Always Encrypted feature set
    • Management and development improvements, including new features such as in-database Java language support and strong truncation error messages now with context (the number 1 fix request)
    • Big data and analytics improvements, with greater support for data lakes and data virtualization across Oracle, Teradata, DB2, and MongoDB
  • Bob Ward and Conor Cunningham showed a cool performance demo featuring the newest hardware from Dell. One of the main features they showed is a new way to reduce page latch contention (i.e., they got rid of latching by moving some system tables and tempdb activity into In-Memory OLTP, a.k.a. "Hekaton").
  • Polybase enhancements now enable SQL Server 2019 to act as the central hub to perform all kinds of querying across various alternative data platforms.
    • Kubernetes is now used to control big data clusters, with Apache Spark and integrated Java support.
    • Nellie Gustafsson and others showed a demo of the new Azure Data Studio, which you can download here.
  • Azure Database Migration Service: Migrate at scale, near-zero downtime, optimize IT infrastructure.
  • Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is now in GA. (My colleague, John Martin, is presenting on this topic later this week.) Microsoft is now offering a Business Critical SKU supporting 200k IOPS. The demo showed an app inserting 1.4 million records per second.
  • Azure SQL Database Hyperscale tested for databases up to 100TB in size but provides limitless auto-scale, as well as many other improvements.
    • Infinite-scale architecture puts each SQL Server feature into its own microservice so that each can scale independently.
    • Accelerated Database Recovery (ADR) is also a big part of this. You can learn more about it here.
  • Machine Learning is now in Azure SQL Database!
  • Deborah Chen shared the latest updates to Azure Cosmos DB, including more capabilities for multi-master writes to the repository from all over the world simultaneously.
  • Unlocking insights:
    • Classic pattern --> Ingest --> Prep --> Serve --> Visualize, storage in parallel
    • Classic pattern translates to ADF --> Azure Databricks (Spark) -- Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Power BI, storage in Azure Data Lake
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse Gen2 now offers "workload importance," where you can set certain workloads to "high profile" so that they jump the queue. Also supports Kafka.
  • Azure Data Explorer is in Public Preview for powerful and interactive visualizations. Get it here.
  • Deepsha Menghani showed Azure Databricks Delta features via an app for Shell.

If you're at PASS Summit this week, be sure to stop by and see the SentryOne team at our booth in the Expo Hall!

Kevin (@kekline) serves as Principal Program Manager at SentryOne. He is a founder and former president of PASS and the author of popular IT books like SQL in a Nutshell. Kevin is a renowned database expert, software industry veteran, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, and long-time blogger at SentryOne. As a noted leader in the SQL Server community, Kevin blogs about Microsoft Data Platform features and best practices, SQL Server trends, and professional development for data professionals.