March 2011

Featured Presentation

Making Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing Easier: Microsoft Appliances and Fast Track Reference Architectures

Speaker: Brian Mitchell

Summary: Deploy high performance solutions in days, not months with the new appliances from Microsoft. Learn about SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance, the Business Decision Appliance, and what the new Fast Track 3.0 Reference Architecture can do for you.

We will cover an overview of the functionality of SQL PDW. PDW is a highly scalable appliance for Enterprise data warehousing. We will discuss how PDW partitions large tables across multiple physical nodes, each having its own dedicated CPU, memory, storage, and each running its own instance of SQL Server in a parallel shared nothing design. This architecture consists of a multi-rack system, which parallelizes queries across an array of dedicated servers connected by a high-speed network to deliver results at speeds that are typically faster than possible with a traditional SMP architecture.

We’ll discuss what’s included in the HP Business Decision Appliance and how it can help you deploy BI solutions faster. The HP BDA is an end-to-end, self-contained preconfigured stack that leverages familiar Microsoft technologies for authoring and sharing data. Business users can use familiar tools such as Microsoft Excel and SharePoint, across a greater breadth of information, allowing IT resources to be shifted from running ad hoc reports to innovation initiatives.

Finally, we’ll discuss the new Fast Track 3.0 Reference Architecture. The SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse initiative provides a basic methodology and concrete examples for the deployment of balanced hardware and database configuration for a data warehousing workload. Balance is measured across the key components of a SQL Server installation; storage, server, application settings, and configuration settings for each component are evaluated. The goal is to achieve an efficient out-of-the-box balance between SQL Server data processing capability and aggregate hardware I/O throughput. Ideally, minimum storage is purchased to satisfy customer storage requirements and provide sufficient disk I/O for SQL Server to achieve a benchmarked maximum data processing rate. 

About Brian: Brian Mitchell is Microsoft Senior Premier Field Engineer that supports Microsoft's SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse customers. He has been with Microsoft for five years. Before joining the PDW team, Brian worked as a PFE and Consultant working primarily with the MS BI stack, specializing in SSAS and SSRS design and performance. He enjoys engaging customers on their most challenging issues. Brian has achieved the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) SQL Server 2008 certification. You can follow Brian on Twitter @brianwmitchell, LinkedIn or read his blog at


Pre-Meeting Presentation

Basics of Performance Tuning - Part 2

Speaker: Andy Warren

Summary: In part two of this three part series on performance tuning we’re going to explore indexes. We’ll cover creating indexes and maintaining them, core skills for anyone working with SQL Server. We’re also going to show you how indexes work logically, giving you a mental model that will make it easy to understand the difference between seeks and scans and how each impacts performance. You’ll definitely want to attend this class to get full value out of the upcoming part three on reading query plans.

About Andy: Andy Warren is a SQL trainer focusing on basic administration and performance tuning, he runs the free training site, is currently a SQL Server MVP, blogs daily at, started the SQLSaturday franchise, serves as a member of the Board of Directors of PASS, and was a founding partner in In his remaining free time he's working on a book for first time managers

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