Monthly Archives: March 2013

PASS keeps things fresh with BACon: It ain’t yer grand-pappy’s PASS conference

Times, they are a-changin’


We were warned of this back when SQL Server 7.0 launched.  We were told that the technology was so great that we wouldn’t need DBAs anymore; the database was self-tuning.  I know, we all chuckled at this and moved on, but not without at bit of damage control as we explained to our bosses that the Marketing people were once again posturing.SQL7Box

Times were a changing with Windows Azure being released in 2010 and SQL Server Data Services (as it was then coined) we were counting the days to move our systems to The Cloud.  Okay, maybe we aren’t quite there yet – Strangely not all of my clients have a Windows Azure account, but for a large number of companies, relieving themselves of on premise data centers truly is a compelling idea.

datat anywhere

Times are changing, again with talk of Big Data, Visual Analytics, and Sentiment Analysis becoming common buzz words in all sorts of places.  Of course, we don’t throw up our hands and start fresh.  We need to take pause, listen, absorb and discuss.  What better place than at a conference?  Among the people that we’ve come to know and respect over the years either by attending other conferences, or reading their books, blogs or other trade publications.  We can learn from one another how we can help educate and direct our own teams as we navigate our way around some of these new concepts.Cloud, Big Data,Enterprise Data

Some of us could leverage some of these new and emerging technologies to solve business challenges we have today.  Sometimes we have processes in house that have already collected and archived or warehoused this information; we just need a way of letting it tell a story.  Tools like PowerPivot and PoverView can help us discover treasures, and build a visualization which can help the business gain a deeper understanding, and potentially make better decisions based on new found ideas.  Let’s embrace the opportunity to help our companies reach new levels of understanding through business insight.  Other times we have hit a wall and we need new solutions.  Perhaps, we have multiple petabytes of sensor data, and we need to look at a big data solution.  How will we know where to turn? This is where the PASS Business Analytics Conference can help.

copy-PASS_BAC_Im-Attending_Twibbon.pngPASS has, for a number of years has, put on a conference for the Data Professional, with a focus on the Database Administrator and the Database Developer.  Over the years as Business Intelligence has gained a greater focus for the Data Professional, PASS has added tracks to meet this growing demand.  The areas outside the traditional relational database engine continue to gain focus.  “Beyond Relational” is what this area has been called, but I think the levy broke.  Too much new innovation is coming from areas outside of the relational engine.  It gets hard for one conference to serve the needs of one audience.  The PASS Business Analytics conference is not the silver bullet – it is a conference targeted at the Decision Makers, Technology Architect / Implementers, Business SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), and Data Wranglers.  

 If you are wondering wether Big Data can help answer new questions for your business, or need to unlock insight from the data that is trapped in you data silos, or you are struggling to find solutions to answer today’s business questions, perhaps, you need to join me in Chicago from April 10th – 12th.  As always, if you see me, don’t be shy – introduce yourself, I don’t byte.  

 use the code BAC725MVP for $200 OFF the PASS BA Conference



Scott Stauffer


Microsoft Canada wants to hear from YOU!

Download Trials / Learn / Provide Feedback

Microsoft - Your feedback matters.We often work with Anthony, Pierre and Mitch, the evangelists from the IT Pro team at Microsoft Canada.  They asked us to share this important message with you.

The team at Microsoft Canada is focused on ensuring that they help set you up for success by providing the information and tools you need in order to be get the most out of Microsoft based solutions, at home and at work.

Twice a year, Microsoft sends out the Global Relationship Study (GRS for short); it’s a survey that Microsoft uses to collect your feedback and help inform their planning.  If you receive emails from Microsoft, subscribe to their newsletters‚ or you’ve attended our any of their events you may receive the survey.

The important details:

  • Timing – March 4th to April 12th 2013
  • Sent From – “Microsoft Feedback”
  • Email Alias – “feedback@e–
  • Subject Line – “Help Microsoft Focus on Customers and Partners”

Many of you already read the Microsoft Canada IT Pro team’s blogs‚ connect with them on LinkedIn and have attended their events in the last year or so. So you may already know that you’re their top priority. So they want to hear from you. 

Pierre, Anthony and Mitch use the GRS results to shape what they do, how they do it and if it’s resonating with you. Tell them what you need to be the “go-to” guy (or gal).  Tell them what you need to grow your career.  They want you to be completely satisfied with Microsoft Canada.

This year, Pierre, Anthony and Mitch have delivered 30 IT Camps and counting across the country.  Giving you the opportunity to get hands on and learn how to get the most value for your organization.  They have a few more events planned this year, so keep an eye on their plancast feed for events near you.  Based on your feedback, topics they’re planning to cover will include:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012
  • System Center 2012
  • Private Cloud
  • BYOD – Management and Security 

That’s not all.  They’ve heard you loud and clear so in addition to hands on events, they’re also delivering more technical content online via the IT Pro Connection Blog.  Windows 8 continues to be a big area of focus for them.  They covered a lot of great content at launch and they’ve complimented that with new content like:

In addition to this, there are some valuable online resources you can use like Microsoft Virtual Academy, Microsoft’s no-cost online training portal.  Or software evaluations (free trials) on TechNet that allow you to build your own labs to try out what you’ve learned.

Regardless of how you engage with the team at Microsoft Canada‚ you’d probably agree that they hear you. They’d also encourage you to continue to provide that great feedback. They thrive on it‚ they relish it‚ they wallow in it and most importantly of all‚ they action it. So please keep connecting with them and keep it coming! Pierre, Anthony and Mitch are listening.

Resources, Tools and Training

  • Tim Horton’s Gift Card Contest– We’re giving away 350 Tim Horton’s gift cards, all you have to do to qualify is download a free qualifying software evaluation (trial).  Download all three for more chances to win, but hurry, the contest closes soon.* 
  • Windows 8 Resource Guide Download a printable, one-page guide to the top resources that will help you explore, plan for, deploy, manage, and support Windows 8 as part of your IT infrastructure. 
  • Windows Server 2012 Evaluation – Get hands on with Windows Server 2012 and explore the scale and performance possibilities for your server virtualization. 
  • Microsoft Support  – Get help with products‚ specific errors‚ virus detection and removal and more. 
  • Microsoft Licensing  -Visit the Volume Licensing Portal today to ask questions about volume licensing‚ get a quote‚ activate a product or find the right program for your organization.  

*No purchase necessary. Contest open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec.  Contest closes April 11, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Three-Hundred-and-Fifty (350) prizes are available to be won: (i) $10 CDN Tim Horton’s gift card.  Skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. For full rules, including entry, eligibility requirements and complete prize description, review the full terms and Conditions.

In Conclusion / ACTION ITEMS:

  1. Download Trials – Try the products out for free – Look at the links above, Almost everything has a trial version so that you can kick the tires yourself!
  2. Learn – Never Stop!  Use the resources above to push yourself to learn more – the resources help you get there faster.
  3. Provide Feedback – If you were chosen to take part in the Global Relationship Study, please take part and provide feedback; If you were not chosen, ALWAYS feel free to send feedback directly to the Microsoft Canada Team – They are always very receptive to feedback. (or leave a comment here!)