SQL PASS 2006, Day 4

Another day at the SQL PASS 2006 Community Summit, and my education continues on more axes than I would've thought possible.

The day started very early, with Quest Software's breakfast seminar, The Growing World of SQL Server: Surviving The Data Avalanche.  We had over 200 people show up for a spirited and insightful discussion.  Several times, we on the panel turned the tables on our audience and asked them questions.  I was very surprised to find that roughly 80% of the attendees came from shops that did not have a formal "database architect" or "database developer" position.  However, in light of these results, I was not surprised to discover that almost everyone in the room had inherited a system that had been designed by someone who shouldn't have been running with that particular pair of scissors.

This led in turn to a very interesting discussion this afternoon with Peter Hammond and Cal Sturdivant of CyberSavvy on how these insights might impact the evolution of their new DataPlace offering.  One of DataPlace's focuses is to implement best-practice level development and design for its users, so there's a definite alignment with my particular passion here.  Cal, Peter, and I agreed to touch base with each other to continue these discussions after the conference.

Other sessions I've attended today include Steve Ballmer's keynote (he was asked to do a "SQL Dance", but instead adopted a Hans-and-Franz style "pump you up" pose and bellowed, "DBAs rock, baby!"), Handling Dimensions ETL with SQL Server 2005 Integration Services (Erik Veerman, Solid Quality Learning), and Understanding Attribute Relationships Within SSAS Dimensions (Dave Fackler, Aculix).  I spent an hour networking in the Exhibit Hall, and in the process of talking with Peter and Cal I even managed to with the CyberSavvy Thursday raffle.  I'll top off my day with SQL Server 2005 Partitioning In The Real World - Clalit Health Services Story (Uri Munitz (Clalit Health Services) and Daniel Ravid (Ness Technologies Ltd.)), and then I'll head home.

At this point, my primary takeaway here is that we all have a lot of work to do evangelizing best practices for SQL Server design and implementation.  As Kimberley Tripp says, "80% of all performance tuning occurs in the design phase."  If we implement a flawed design, no amount of parameter tweaking and index tuning will make it right.  If we don't build a sound foundation, we won't build a sound system.

The conference finishes up tomorrow.  It's been an absolutely remarkable event, and I'm already hoping to make next year's renewal in Denver.

More tomorrow when the conference wraps up..


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