January 2012 - Posts

If you are contemplating attending then I hope the following will convince you,

The ten reasons to attend

1. 90 hours of pre con content from the best speakers around the world..Choose from 15 full day deep dive session for only £300. (full conference is only £475) http://sqlbits.com/information/TrainingDay.aspx

2. 73 sessions over Friday and Saturday on all aspects of SQL Server, including many on SQL Server 2012. http://sqlbits.com/information/Agenda.aspx

3. Best opportunity to network with like minded professionals. We expect to have over 1200 attend through the 3 days, we have two excellent events in the evening for you to relax and discuss the days activities (or not).

4. Meet the product team. The people that are responsible for building SQL Server. We have 24 people from Microsoft including Quentin Clark, Mark Souza, Conor Cunningham, Gert Drapers. 8 from the core product team, 5 from SQLCAT and hopefully 4 from CSS. http://sqlbits.com/information/PublicSpeakers.aspx

5. Learn about SQL Server 2012 from the people that have already implemented it. You will hear from both Microsoft and independent consultants on their experiences.

6. The most SQL Server 2012 content in Europe this year

7. Attend the SQL CAT clinic and get your problems answered. With all the SQL knowledge we will have present someone will definitely be able to help.

8. Speak directly to vendors in one place. We have a large selection of vendors in our exhibition space. Most vendors make products that make your life easier. Having them all in once place saves you a huge amount of time by enabling you talk to them all in one place. http://sqlbits.com/

9. Learn what SQL Server 2012 can do for you. With “Always on”, column store, programmability changes and SQL Server Data Tools there is a huge amount in SQL 2012 to make your systems run faster and let you develop solutions faster.

10. Its the best SQL conference in the world. Everyone we speak to says that SQLBits is the conference they want to come back to. The atmosphere, the content, the people, all make it the best conference to attend to learn about SQL Server


We are getting registrations at an unprecedented rate and even though we have double the capacity of a normal SQLBits we expect to be full by mid February. Thats only 3 weeks away.

If you want to attend you must register now to avoid disappointment.


Register Now

Posted by simonsabin | 3 comment(s)
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I was really happy to have put the agenda SQLBits X live a few weeks ago, and at the same time was amazed at the speakers we’ve pulled in for this event, go and have a look for yourselves.  http://sqlbits.com/information/agenda.

Whilst its not the largest SQL Server Conference in the world many people have said its by far the best. Maybe its because it isn’t too big, maybe its the personal feel that the organisers try to add to the event. We do everything oursleves (within reason) so everything has our personal touch. Whether its the quirky website, the sporadic marketing or the off the wall evening entertainment SQLBits has grown to be an awesome event and SQLBits X will be event better than ever.

We are getting registrations at an unprecedented rate and even though we have double the capacity of a normal SQLBits we expect to be full by mid February. Thats only 3 weeks away.

If you want to attend you must register now to avoid disappointment.

Register Now

Posted by simonsabin | with no comments

I’ve been watching the fall out of the appointments of James and Kendal to the PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server) board and it got me thinking.

The following are some of the blog posts.

Bill Graziano - http://www.sqlpass.org/Community/PASSBlog/entryid/402/PASS-Board-Appointments-additional-explanation.aspx

Chris Webb - http://cwebbbi.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/pass-time-to-do-a-lot-more-than-change-the-by-laws/

Andy Warren - http://www.sqlandy.com/index.php/2012/01/pass-time-to-change-the-by-laws/

Steve Jones - http://voiceofthedba.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/ethics-and-power

Thomas LaRock - http://www.sqlpass.org/Community/PASSBlog/entryid/402/PASS-Board-Appointments-additional-explanation.aspx

Aaron Bertrand - http://sqlblog.com/blogs/aaron_bertrand/archive/2012/01/16/a-quick-reaction-to-the-pass-board-appointments.aspx

The situation, if you haven’t heard, is that two seats became free on the PASS board due to a resignation and a move to the executive board. The byelaws of PASS state that for these, as they are not full term positions, the president chooses some people puts them to the board and, subject to a majority vote, they get elected. In previous years the people chosen are those that didn’t get elected in the main election, in this case Kendal was the 2nd person not elected and James didn’t run for the board (he was an international advisor but with no vote).

All the posts above have different views on the situation and put their point across very well. As well as the posts themselves the comments make interesting reading.

The views have hit a number of areas but largely the negative points have been about the board ignoring who the community has voted for and choosing who they want to fill the roles.

While you ponder, let me digress.parliament iStock_000015381829XSmall

Looking at any public office, you have to be a certain person to put yourself forward, but just because someone puts themselves forward does that make them the best person for that position. I often think that the people that put themselves forward for public office (MP, Senator etc) are exactly the people that shouldn’t be in those roles. To that end I also believe the people we need need in those roles don’t put themselves forward because the roles look like awful, public battering, thankless tasks, half the country not wanting you, why bother?

The same can be said for PASS. Over the past years I’ve watched PASS change but I’ve also seen the battering PASS gets over almost every decision. Why would anyone put themselves forward for that. I consider most if not all the board friends and have spoke with most of them and past members about the role and whilst almost all of them want change, very little does change. PASS largely hasn’t changed, from what I can see, in the past 10 years. Ok its bigger, different management company and some things are done more professionally, but in essence its just a bigger version of what it was. A group of volunteers running a multi million pound something.


Which brings me onto my point, the title of this blog post.

The one thing that hasn’t changed (much) overtime, is how the board that run PASS is chosen. People, normally SQL Server people, nominate themselves for a thankless role. The role involves giving up their free time (sometimes billable time), often travelling to board meetings, with very little power and everything decided by a board. A short list is chosen by a committee and the community vote.

On what basis do they vote,

  • deep knowledge of each nominee,
  • their background, their real world experience, and their ambitions


  • because they are on twitter
  • saw them sing a song at the keynote
  • have a good blog.

KFC iStock_000017274089XSmall

So its the communities fault.

The community keep voting for people that are the same type of people. As James pointed out to me, with a cycle of a few board members a year, getting a change of leadership big enough to affect a shift in the direction of PASS is very very difficult.

The community votes for the PASS board and so maybe that is the problem. The community doesn’t know what people are needed to run PASS.

Just because you eat KFC each week doesn’t mean you can run KFC.

Whats more the community doesn’t have control over who puts themselves forward to be elected to the board. Maybe the community should be focusing on some other areas and not just the perpetuation of the same board appointment process that hasn’t resulted in the large changes that some people want in PASS.


Do we need a new PASS?

Working in business you see management come in and impose their way of working on the business. They change the business to work how they want it to work. The same with governments they have three to four years to affect change, if they fail they are voted out.

Just because someone is passionate about SQL Server doesn’t mean they know how to run a multi-million dollar global company, and that is what PASS is, a multi million dollar company. Do the people that are voted to the pass board get the real power they need to make change or is it all just dumbed down to the average of all those on the board. Rarely do I see greatness come out of committees, I feel we need to give more power to the board to affect change and more time to do it.

PASS is in a wonderful position to capitalise on an effective monopoly on SQL Server. We need an organisation that can do that and from that the benefits will flow to the community. Just voting in a board every year is perpetuating the same PASS we’ve had for years and we need change. I’m glad the board decided to not pick the normal people and choose James and Kendal. I hope that’s because the board see them as being able to affect change. Lets give them time and see what comes.

Posted by simonsabin | 2 comment(s)
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We’ve recently changed SQLBits presence on facebook from a group to a page (http://sqlblogcasts.com/blogs/simons/archive/2011/12/19/do-you-like-sqlbits.aspx). That allowed us to use the username feature of facebook so we could get a friendly URL such as http://facebook.com/<username>

Unfortunately SQLBits was taken. However on checking the page it was an empty page with no activity or content.

I contacted facebook 2 weeks ago asking to be able to claim the SQLBits username and was impressed to receive an email on Saturday saying that they had removed the username from the other page. Interestingly there was nothing about us being the rightful owners or the username, they just said we could now use it if we wanted.

Chris claimed the username yesterday so now you can find SQLbits at




So make sure you visit us and like us.


Posted by simonsabin | 1 comment(s)
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Trefor Davies is trying to get a world record for the most comments to a post, to raise money for charity. Good luck to him, you can add your comment here.


He calculated he needed 1 comment a second but when I tried to post I got



I hope he can sort it out.

Posted by simonsabin | 1 comment(s)

As the technical launch for SQL Server 2012 in the UK, SQLBits is the conference to attend to learn about SQL Server 2012 (Denali).

SQL Server 2012 gives amazing developments in both development, scalability and performance and high availability.

Faster Development

The additions to the TSQL language mean that you will be able to write queries easier and often perform better than previously possible. This in conjunction with the new development toolset mean your development will be faster.

10 fold performance improvement for large queries

Column store indexes will provide orders of magnitude of performance improvement for many queries especially in the BI reporting space.

Offload of backup and ETL from your core OLTP system

The always on features allowing read only mirrors and backups from the mirror mean you can offload your many processes from your hot OLTP system to your backup system.

Multiple mirrors and read only mirrors

SQL Server 2012 takes the mirroring delivered in SQL Server 2005 to another level. Now you can have multiple mirrors and they can be a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous. This means you can have local synchronous mirroring plus offsite asynchronous mirroring providing a standard failover process whether local or remote.


Not only will SQLBits have a keynote from Quentin Clark corporate vice president of Database Systems Group in SQL Server, but we have secured lots more of product team to attend.

There will have more SQL Server product team members at SQLBits X than has been at any previous event in the UK. This is your chance to speak to the people that developed the product. If you want to know about any of the new features this is your chance.

In addition to the people that wrote the product there will be more MVPs and MCMs than ever at SQLBits. These are the people that implement SQL Server and can give you the real world experience of using SQL Server and specifically SQL Server 2012 with many of then having already worked on production deployments of SQL Server 2012.

So don’t hesitate and get registering for SQLBits. The early bird finishes on Thursday so make sure you don’t miss out.

[SS Correction Early bird finished EOP on Thursday this week 5/1/2012]


About Quentin Clark:

Quentin Clark is the corporate vice president of the Database Systems Group in the Microsoft SQL Server organization, reporting to Ted Kummert, senior vice president of the Business Platforms Division. In his current role Clark is responsible for the engineering and business leadership of the database systems of SQL Server - serving Microsoft's OLTP and Data Warehousing capabilities. This responsibility includes the core relational database engine and data access, SQL Server Manageability, Parallel Data Warehouse, and advanced development work in databases, including the Gray Systems Lab in Madison.

A 17-year Microsoft veteran, Clark held a variety of roles mostly in systems technology prior to joining SQL Server, including the Internet Information Server team, Application Center and System Center. In 2002, he joined SQL Server to lead work to bring unstructured data capabilities into the data platform, a vision realized over the recent SQL Server product releases. In 2006 he took the position of general manager overseeing the core relational database engine, which led to his current role.

Posted by simonsabin | 1 comment(s)
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