Dr Rimma Nehme at the PASS Summit

November 7, 2014

This Summit’s presentation from Microsoft Research Labs is from Dr Rimma Nehme, bucking the trend of having presentations from Dr David DeWitt. I’m really pleased to be able to hear from her, because she’s an absolute legend.

Among her qualifications is work on the PDW Query Optimizer – a topic closer to me than probably any other area of SQL Server. I just wish I had known this a few minutes ago when I met her, but I’m sure she’ll chat more freely after her big presentation.http://www.sqlpass.org/images/speakers/RimmaNehme588.png

Today she’s talking about Cloud Computing, which is great because the cloud space has changed significantly in recent years, and it’s good to hear from Microsoft Research Labs again. For example, analysing the power-effectiveness of a data centre by comparing the total power used by a data centre against the computing power of a data centre. This leads to exploring more effective systems, such as evaporative cooling (which is used by many Australian homes and businesses, of course), making energy-responsibility a key component of cloud computing. With such an effort being put into cloud computing, the globally-responsible option is to use the cloud.

The five key drivers for cloud that Dr Nehme listed are:

  • Elasticity
  • No CapEx
  • Pay Per Use
  • Focus on Business
  • Fast Time To Market

These are all huge, of course, and the business aspects are massive. It’s increasingly easy to persuade businesses to move to the cloud, but the exciting thing about the technologies that have been discussed this week is the elasticity point.

Microsoft is doing huge amounts of work to let people scale out easily. New technologies such as Stretched Tables will allow people to have hybrid solutions between on-prem and cloud like never before. With a background in the PDW Query Optimizer, Dr Nehme is the perfect person to be exploring what’s going on with spreading the load across multiple cloud-based machines for these scale-out solutions.

The cloud means that many database professionals worry about their jobs. I’m sure people felt the same way when the industrial revolution came through. People who work on production-lines have been replaced by robots, and database administrators who only do high availability don’t need to handle that in the cloud space. But they will not be redundant. Dr Nehme just said “Cloud was not designed to be a threat to DBAs”, and this is significant. The key here is that we have more data than ever, and we need to be able to use computing power effectively.

We can’t keep going with the amount of data that is appearing, and we need to be more responsible than ever.

Great keynote, Dr Nehme. I hope this is the first of many keynotes from you.


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