Data, Information and Knowledge

October 14, 2011

Hopefully my connection is slightly better during today’s keynote than it was during yesterday’s, when “Live Blogging” didn’t really cut it. The PASS staff saw the problem and have resolved it (thanks guys!).

Quentin Clark has jumped on stage to talk some more about SQL Server 2012, and he started with the expression “Data, Information and Knowledge”. I love this – I see Business Intelligence about extracting information from data, and it’s good to have Microsoft see this priority across the whole SQL platform.

He’s also talking about the 12 biggest features of SQL Server 2012, which he says has more new features than any release of SQL Server yet.

1. Required 9s

  • Integration Services as a Server
  • HA for StreamInsight
  • SQL Server AlwaysOn.

SQL Server has seen uptime as a key component for a long time, but to provide High Availability for StreamInsight is particularly significant. StreamInsight involves being able to consume data at significant rates, being able to run queries against that data while it’s still on the move – before it’s even reached the relational database. High Availability for StreamInsight should be able to better provide strategies to ensure that streaming data need not be lost. Businesses suffer badly when they lose data. SQL Server 2012 should be able to reduce this problem almost completely.

2. Blazing-Fast Performance

  • Performance Enhancements – RDBMS, SSAS, SSIS
  • ColumnStore Index

3. Rapid Data Exploration
4. Managed Self-Service BI

  • Power View + PowerPivot
  • Administration from SharePoint
  • Reporting Alerts

Yes, “Power View” has a space in it. It’s the new name for Crescent, which is about self-service reporting using a Silverlight experience. I’m all for allowing users to interact with the data in powerful ways, but I’m also concerned about how to manage this. SharePoint seems to continue as the main platform for this, and although I’d love to see the administration of these reports be done inside SQL itself (instead of SharePoint), I get that SharePoint is currently the platform of choice.

5. Credible, Consistent Data

  • BI Semantic Model
  • Data Quality Services
  • Master Data Services

I’m not going to comment on this stuff right now – it’s been talked about plenty already, but the enhancements definitely look good. The new stuff around DQS lets you fix up data at a number of extra points and have it pushed back into the underlying warehouse.

6. Organisational Compliance

  • Expanded Audit – User-defined, Filtering
  • User-defined Server Roles

This is useful. Audit is one of the massive things, and yet an administrator has always been able to turn it off. With the ability to have user-defined server roles, auditing turns into a much more real option.

7. Peace of Mind

  • Production-simulated Application Testing
  • System Center Advisor & Management Packs
  • Expanded Support – Premier Mission Critical

The Replay tools have become Distributed Replay, which is introduces a ton of really good options.

8. Scalable Data Warehousing
9. Fast Time to Solution

  • SQL Server Appliances – Optimised and Pre-tuned
  • HW + SW + Support – Just Add Power
  • Choice of Hardware

Appliances are stepping up. Buying an appliance, adding the network connection and electricity, and it’s ready to accept data in twenty minutes. The number of new options available suggests that the future of hardware buying will be even more focused on the appliance concept.

10. Extend Any Data, Anywhere

  • Greater Interoperability – new drivers for PHP, Java & Hadoop
  • ODBC Drivers for Linux & Change Data Capture for SSIS & Oracle
  • Beyond Relational: FileTable, 2D Spatial, Semantic Search

I really like the idea of CDC for Oracle, although I doubt there will be any

11. Optimised Productivity

  • SQL Server Data Tools (formerly “Juneau”)
  • Unified Across Database & BI
  • Deployment & Targeting Freedom

12. Scale on Demand

  • AlwaysOn
  • Deployment Across Public & Private
  • Elastic Scale

And of course, many of these items contribute to make a much more cloud-ready platform. Cloud isn’t for everyone, but Microsoft are certainly making steps to make it a more feasible option.

And we’re over – hitting publish now.


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