Last week, from March 21-23, 2012 were amongst the 3 most important and exciting days for anyone remotely connected with Microsoft technologies. They were the days when the Tech-Ed 2012 (India) was hosted by Microsoft at the Lalit Ashoka Hotel in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
TechEd 2012 – an Introduction
Microsoft Tech-Ed is the premier technical education and networking event for technology professionals interested in learning, connecting and exploring a broad set of current and soon-to-be released Microsoft technologies, tools, platforms and services. It is also the biggest developer event in the entire country!
Just as last year, the event was classified into 2 major tracks:
- Developer & IT Pro track
- Architecture track
Each track was further divided into a day-specific agenda, covering:
- Windows 8
- Windows Server “8”
- System Center 2012
- Microsoft-Nokia partnership for the Windows Phone
- Visual Studio 11 beta
Some Interesting facts about TechEd 2012
Here are some interesting facts about TechEd 2012:
- More than 4000 people attended the starting Keynote in-person, and more than 100,000 were watching live through TechEd Live
- TechEd India (#techedin) was abuzz on Twitter trending to No.1 in India within minutes of the opening keynote by Sanket Akerkar, MD Microsoft India
- TechEd live had at least 100k visitors
- Keep visiting http://india.msteched.com/ for more updates – recorded sessions of the entire event will be uploaded according to the notification posted on the site
TechEd 2012 India had more than 100 parallel sessions squeezed into a tight schedule of 3 days, making it next to impossible for one person to be in all places at the same time. As for me, I was excited for the following:
- Knowing more about the products I am watching out for in 2012
- Meeting old friends & making new ones!
My TechEd 2012 summaries would mostly be around the Database technologies area.
This year, I was honoured to be recognized by Microsoft as a TechEd Rockstar for my contribution to the community. I was told to expect priority seating, opportunity to meet MVPs, speakers and interaction with the community. What I was unaware of was that Microsoft would be putting up huge billboards with my photographs on them! It was after Jacob Sebastian (B|T) called me and I rushed over to look at it myself that I was able to believe it.
Honoured as a TechEd 2012 Rockstar
Day 01 - Registration
The venue was the same as last year and because I had been to TechEd India 2011 last year (Read my posts – Part 01, Part 02 and Part 03 here), it was a breeze going through the registration process and making my way to the keynote hall.
I must say that right from the moment one walked into the registration area, one was aware about a strange, new experience – the experience of “tiles” – inspired from the brand-new Windows 8 operating system. The startup kit, the notebook and the information billboards all had information arranged in neatly arranged colourful tiles. After all, Windows 8 was the key focus area of the event!
A picture of the registration kit in my hand – notice the tiled look
An information board showing the agenda for the “Kalinga” hall
An informational map of the venue – notice the predominant tiled look
Day 01 – Meeting old friends & new
Just as I was completing registration, guess who I ran into? My dear friend from the Ahmedabad SQL Server User Group, Tejas Shah (a.k.a. “SQLYoga” – B|T).
We made our way to the keynote hall, and met Jacob Sebastian (B|T), Pinal Dave, a.k.a. “SQLAuthority” (B|T), Balmukund Lakhani (B|T), Manas Dhash (B|T), Sudeepta Ganguly (B|T) and Sahal Omer (B|T). We spent about 30 minutes over coffee and biscuits discussing life, technology and the everyone’s focus areas for TechEd 2012. Here is the moment captured in a photograph for time immemorial:
(Left to Right:) Sahal Omer, Pinal Dave, Tejas Shah, Nakul Vachhrajani, Jacob Sebastian, Balmukund Lakhani, Manas Dash, Sudeepta Ganguly
Soon afterwards (and unfortunately just before the announcement for the keynote sessions), Dhananjay Kumar, a.k.a. “Debug Mode” (B|T) and Vinod Kumar, a.k.a. “Extreme Experts” (B|T) joined us.
Day 01 - Keynotes
We had 2 keynotes on Day 01, the main keynote being from Mr. Sanket Akerkar, MD, Microsoft India and the 2nd from Bernardo Caldas, GM, Windows & Windows Live.
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|Just before the keynote ||What an atmosphere – a packed hall with nice lights |
The Microsoft Story
Sanket Akerkar told the audience a little story – the Microsoft Story.
This was, in my opinion, the most exciting starting keynote of all the 3 days. Without going into the details (the session was so interesting and detailed that it would take me an entire hour to describe the proceedings), this is the Microsoft story:
- What a difference a year makes? What is Microsoft doing? What changed between TechEd 2011 and TechEd 2012:
- IE9 Launched
- A growing partnership between Microsoft & Nokia for the Windows Phone
- Yahoo! now uses the Bing search engine
- Xbox and Kinect are the #1 selling gaming console
- “System on a chip”
- Windows Azure cloud offerings
- System Server 2012 and Windows Server with Hyper V launched
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM is now online
- Microsoft acquired Skype
- Microsoft Office 365 launched
- Partnership with Facebook
- Windows 8 announced!
- So, What drives Microsoft? – it’s participation across the entire spectrum of:
- What is the Microsoft approach? It’s focus on the individual consumer while partnering with the industry
- How are they doing it? – By offering a cloud ready, device type independent solution covering:
- Office 365
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
- Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
- Windows Server
- Windows Azure
- System Center
- Windows 8
- What’s next?
- Transformation – going towards the cloud
- Natural User Interface – introducing the senses - touch interface into the mix
- Challenging innovation
- Setting Bigger & Bolder goals
- Empowering everyone
- Inventing the future
- Developer opportunity – in the form of this event and Rockstar honours
- IE 10
- SQL Server 2012
- Windows Azure
- Office 365
- Security & Privacy focus
The Developer Opportunity
Mr. Bernardo Caldas, GM, Windows & Windows Live presented a session on the developer opportunity that the Windows 8 provides.
The following trends are shaping the developer opportunity:
- Form Factors
- Introduction of the Touch interface
The Windows 8 opportunity for developers is as shown below:
- Global Reach
- Windows 8 will be available in 231 markets, spanning more than 70 countries, in more than 100 languages
- Better Economics
- Currently, for any Windows 8 applications on the Windows store, the developers get 70% of the proceedings
- Once a certain threshold is crossed, the developer gets 80% of the proceedings
- Windows store allows to price products by geography, and offers 3 pricing models – paid, free and trials
- Data Access & support
- Access to richer, more actionable data
Day 01 – Sessions
T-SQL Rediscovered with SQL Server 2012
Speaker: Jacob Sebastian (B|T)
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|The opening session of TechEd India 2012 ||Jacob Sebastian getting a feel about his audience |
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|SQL Server 2012 has over 100 new features & enhancements! |
Visit: http://what.isnew.in/sqlserver/denali for details!
|Demonstration of the FORMAT() function |
This opening technical session of Tech Ed 2012 attracted such a large crowd that many attendees had to remain standing. Jacob introduced some of the cool T-SQL functionalities:
- Construct a date from parts - DATEFROMPARTS()
- CONCAT() which avoids additional conversion and checks is null automatically
- Find the End of the month: EOMONTH(GETDATE())
- Error Handling
- For Pagination
- OFFSET and FETCHNEXT
- LAST_VALUE, FIRST_VALUE, LEAD, LAG
Visit this page for more details: http://beyondrelational.com/modules/29/presentations/483/t-sql-rediscovered-with-sql-server-2012.aspx?tab=info&bs=203
Catapult you data with SQL Server 2012 Integration Services
Speaker: Praveen Srivatsa (B)
Praveen Srivatsa introduced the new Master Data Service(MDS) along with Data Quality Services (DQS) and the Change Data Capture (CDC). He focused on these improvements made to SSIS using which developers can improve the productivity and efficiency of Data Cleansing operations. He demonstrated how DQS is a knowledge driven process that “learns” from the errors it encounters and also becomes a data matching solution – which can therefore be leveraged for de-duplication efforts..
I am amazed at the potential time and effort savings that this new piece of technology offers. Anybody who has ever worked upon or may need to work upon a data conditioning project should look out for these new enhancements to SSIS.
Processing Big Data with SQL Server 2012 and Hadoop
Speaker: Stephen Forte (B|T)
Stephen Forte building up the excitement
Stephen talked about Hadoop on Azure, columnstore indicies, data warehouse improvements, and other things that will help you deal with large amounts of data like table partitioning. He introduced the 3 “v” principle when working with “big” data – Velocity, Volume & Variety. I always thought of “big data” in terms of volume, but after attending this session, I learnt that all the 3 “v”s have an equal contribution.
The session carried Stephen’s trademark presentation style that enables the audience to laugh their way through the session. The topic was a completely new one for me, and it was nice to see Hadoop, SQL Server and Excel work in tandem, live!
SQL Server misconceptions and resolutions – A practical Perspective
Speakers: Pinal Dave, a.k.a. “SQLAuthority” (B|T) and Vinod Kumar, a.k.a. “Extreme Experts” (B|T)
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|About Pinal – in “Metro” style ||About Vinod – in “Metro” style |
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|Session Agenda – in “Metro” style ||What the key takeaway of the session was – now, can this be anything but a session from Pinal & Vinod? |
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|Books authored by Pinal & Vinod ||No space to fit a single person! Even the doors are open! |
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|Can’t believe it – a list of all the major SQL Server features currently available ||Getting started… |
This session was a unique one. I have never seen or attended a session where the presenters follow a question/answer format and involve the audience in the process as well! It was fun! There was no way I could have missed this, and hence, I stayed put on my seat after Stephen’s session. And I am glad I did – there was not a single inch of space left. There were people everywhere – on the chairs, standing, on the floor and the crowd extended even outside the hall! The session was in true sense, an open-door session. It just shows that while the crowd simply loves a session by Pinal & by Vinod, they would give almost anything to see them together on the stage!
Pinal began by a very simple challenge – “Vinod, I am going to defeat you. Are you guys with me?”. That was all that was required – the crowd was immediately divided into two groups – one on Pinal’s side and the other on Vinod’s side. The challenge was simple – field as many questions as possible to Vinod and attempt to stump him. A total of 10 misconceptions were discussed, including:
- Is ORDER BY really necessary to dictate the order of rows being returned by a query?
- Do clustered indexes physically sort data on the table?
- Does shrinking the database affect the backup size?
- What is the real accuracy of SMALLDATETIME?
The session was so magical that Dhananjay Kumar, a.k.a. “Debug Mode” (B|T) could not resist himself from blogging live. You can read all about it here: http://debugmode.net/2012/03/21/some-important-points-from-sql-misconceptions-session-from-pinal-dave-and-vinod-kumar/
Pinal & Vinod: You guys rock! SQL Server rocks with you!
Day 01 – Demo Extravaganza
The DemoEx or Demo Extravaganza is one of the most happening of all events in TechEd. Packed with a never ending stream of powerful under 1-minute demos, it is a fun-filled event with a chance to win goodies! The goodies this year were T-shirts, pen-drives, Nokia Lumina phones, Intel laptops and a lot more.
The DemoEx was opened by Harish Vaidyanathan (T) and the audience was left spell-bound by the new features of Windows 8 and how seamlessly the mobile device can interact with the tablet and the personal computer. WOW!
Closing the DemoEx, Vinod Kumar, a.k.a. “Extreme Experts” (B|T) presented quick productivity tips for the Office suite. Did you know that some of these features have been around since Office 97? I didn’t and nor did most of the people at the event!
Harish V. and Vinod Kumar at DemoEx (Day 01, TechEd India 2012)
Stay tuned for my summary of TechEd India 2012 - Day 2!
Until we meet next time,
Be courteous. Drive responsibly.