News from the PASS Summit 2013

The Professional Association for SQL Server ( holds its annual conference each fall.  It’s the biggest gathering of professionals whose focus is Microsoft SQL Server, with this year’s conference bring together over 5,000 people from over 50 countries around the world.  The conference is BIG – with nearly 200 sessions delivered over three days and a couple dozen pre-conference seminars for those attendees who want to dive into a specific top very deeply. 

This year’s conference had an interesting new vibe. There was a very strong positive energy permeating the place and a noticeable uptick in positive interactions among attendees.  Social media, in particular Twitter with the #sqlpass and #sqlhelp hash tags, seems to have hit a critical mass. In previous years, I and many other of the best known speaker seemed to dominate the social media scene. (Incidentally, I’m on Twitter at @kekline).  But this year, the wider community bubbled to the top of the Twitter conversation and propelled it along with great enthusiasm.  I was really pleased to see that the attendees were tweeting about sessions that were really good, presenters who went the extra mile answering questions, cool side discussion in the Community Zone, and so forth.

Powerful New Features in SQL Server 2014

In broader technical news, Microsoft announced a couple of powerful new features that’d been hidden even in the closed previews.  Two major new features, which can be seen in the Day 1 Keynote, enable users of SQL Server 2014 to back up any version of SQL Server, starting with SQL Server 2005, to Azure.  Very nice!  In addition, users may also encrypt and compress backups simultaneously in SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition.  Another important announcement was the release of the SQL Server 2014 Community Technology Preview (CTP) 2, available here. This is the release candidate code, so grab it now if you haven’t started testing.

Technology Buzz Around "Project Hekaton" (also Known as In-Memory OLTP)

The biggest technology buzz was around “Project Hekaton,” also known as In-Memory OLTP. This feature set is built right into SQL Server and can enable 5x to 40x speed improvements for the right workloads. Wow! The entire underpinnings of Hekaton are described in the Day 2 Keynote by Dr. Dave DeWitt.

I had four sessions at this year's Summit; two were panel discussions, one  was on best practices for remote workers, and the other was the Women in Technology Forum. Of my two sessions, one was focused on Building Influence as an IT Pro (grab the slides here), while the other was on Transact-SQL with my good friend and co-worker Aaron Bertrand (@AaronBertrand)

Here are some details on that session in case you’d like to watch it or grab the slides and T-SQL scripts:

10 Query Tuning Techniques Every SQL Programmer Should Know [AD-104-S]

Session Details | PowerPoint | Samples | Watch it Online!

There are many other publicly available videos, slide decks, and T-SQL scripts from the Summit.  You’ll be required to register, but it’s otherwise free to access them.

I encourage to get involved with the professional association and to even go a step further and get involved in the closest local user group and/or start watching the live sessions of the PASS Virtual Chapters (VC).  There are over 20 VCs holding monthly meetings online and available anytime via streaming media.  Join any of the VCs you’re interested in by going to