Summarizing my #Summit15

Finally I am able to, coherently write down my take away’s from this years PASS Summit. I came a long way, and endured all kinds of dangers on the way to Seattle. Not sure if the person before me, in the flight seat had been shot, but there was a distinct hole in the window, WTF Lufthansa!:

Lufthansa Hole in the Window
Gun crazed Americans? Or was it ze Germans?

As always, at least for me, the schedule changes as soon as the summit begins. This happened this time around as well. I had planned on seeing a bunch of sessions on various topics, but as game day came along, my choices changed. On Day 1, only  Dimensional Modeling Design Patterns: Beyond the Basics by Jason Horner (b|t) came out strong. Jason is an awesome presenter, so if you ever get the chance, go for it!  I knew most of the stuff in advance, but sometimes it’s nice to have reassurance of what you think is the proper road ahead. Jason’s session gave me just that. SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines: Features, Best Practices & Roadmap by Luis Vargas was a bit disappointing as there were almost no best practices tied into the presentation. Luis ran out of time, and had to race through the final 4-5 slides of the deck, leaving no time to go into detail. Finally wrapping up day 1 was Cortana Analytics Deep Dive: Big Data Stores by Rajesh Dadhia, Matt Usher which started out as a very solid presentation. But. The so called demonstration of the Azure Data Lake import into Azure SQL Data Warehouse through Azure Data Analytics was not a demo, at least not in my opinion. Presenting a bunch of screen dumps (with errors occurring) is not a demo.
As soon as the last session ended, 40+ Danish attendees went to dine at the Pike Brewing Company. Jørgen Guldmann (b|l) captured the night out, on his blog. Good times.
Day 2 ended up being all about my Lightning Talk – which I think went well. No tomatoes, no rotten eggs, so I guess it wasn’t that bad 🙂
Day 3 began with some U-SQL Query Execution and Performance Tuning by Ed Triou which didn’t end too well, as the speaker decided to go 13 minutes over time, leaving only two (2) minutes for Jason Thomas (b|l|t) to get ready for Memoirs of Building a 150 GB (and Growing) SSAS Tabular Model. This session was surprisingly more on hardware than on architecture, which I somehow had my mind set upon. Nevertheless, Jason delivered, as usual, a cool, calm and collected session. Good job!


Right after, in same room came Bill Anton on Analysis Services: Show Me Where It Hurts. If you work with Analysis Services and do not yet have logging and performance counter collection in place, have a look at the session description, downloads and Bill’s blog Here’s how you get up and running quickly.
I spent the afternoon attending Mike Diehl on Agile Analytics: Making Progress Visible which, again, was one of those sessions that provided the reassurance of being on the right track. No ground breaking news, but that’s OK on many levels. Mike did a great job presenting and I think his message is very important to the community. Work smarter, not harder.
I don’t really know how to describe the last session of the day: How to Build a Virtual Test Lab for SQL Server by Ed Leighton-Dick and David Klee. The session began really strong (read: funny) with this video (which I think is both hilarious and scary at the same time)

But after that, it became a show case of who was the most geeky on hardware @ home. I realize that a geek, by now,  is socially accepted. But I honestly thought we (yes, I just labeled myself geek there) had moved on from the “I’ll show you how much geek I am by displaying the size of my soldering station” – sigh.
I was hoping to see some insight, from undisputed authority on the field, into how to setup you _virtual_ dev/test environment. We ended up hearing too much about how much old hardware spare parts would cash in on eBay. Again, don’t know what to say…

This year in Seattle, I had time to visit the Space Needle, where I played around, making this panoramic photo:
Seattle Skyline

Oh yeah, final pro tip: When dining at Local 360, ask for the price before ordering – These two babies cost me $50 and I was expecting half that…

Expensive Short Ribs

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