TechEd 2009 Recap


Keynote speaker, Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President of Windows Business at Microsoft.

TechEd 2009 was started with a keynote presentation from Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President of Windows Business at Microsoft, which you can view at this link (along with many other videos from the event). He made several announcements, including that SQL Server 2008 R2 will become available the second half of 2010, and that the first public CTP will become available the second half of 2009. For more information on what will be included with SQL Server 2008 R2, and to optionally sign up to be notified when the CTP becomes available, click here.

As you might expect, the economy significantly hurt attendance at the event, with about 7,000 total attendees, much less than in previous years, when it has often sold out. Even with 7,000 people attending, the Los Angeles Convention Center never seemed to be extremely busy, other than the first day following the keynote. Friday had very light attendance, with a lot of people leaving early to play or go home.

Over the five days of the event, I attended 23 different SQL Server sessions, including Chalk Talks, Discussion Panels, and Breakout Sessions. Compared to last year’s TechEd, this year’s event had far fewer SQL Server-related sessions. For many time slots, I had only one or two other SQL Server-related sessions I could have attended. Both SQL Server Connections andPASS Community Summit, both coming up this November, will offer more SQL Server content that TechEd did this year.

I attended several sessions that discussed some of the new features to be found in SQL Server 2008 R2. For those of you who don’t know, late last year Microsoft announced three major initiatives for SQL Server 2008. They were called Kilimanjaro (KJ for short), Gemini, and Madison. At that time, it was very confusing as to what Microsoft was planning, especially given that the next release of SQL Server was not to become available until 2011.

After attending various sessions, I think I understand what Microsoft is doing with SQL Server 2008 R2, although we won’t know for sure until the public CTP becomes available later this year.

First of all, Kilimanjaro is the code name for SQL Server 2008 R2. It includes many new features, such as multi-server management, increased scalability, better virtual server support, and much more. See this link for more details. While SQL Server 2008 R2 is an interim release of SQL Server, it is not SQL Server 2011 (or whatever name they will call the next version of SQL Server). SQL Server 2011 will be a major release, unlike SQL Server 2008 R2, which is essentially SQL Server 2008, with a few new features added. While there are many reasons why Microsoft is releasing SQL Server 2008 R2, one of the main reasons it is being released is to keep up with new features that will be available in Windows 2008 R2, Microsoft Office 2010, and Visual Studio 2010 (these names may not be the final names used when these products are released).

Second of all, Gemini is the code name for the new BI enhancements that will be included with SQL Server 2008 R2. In other words, Kilimanjaro refers to the non-BI enhancements available in SQL Server 2008 R2, while Gemini is the code name for the BI enhancements in SQL Server 2008 R2.

Third of all, Madison is the code name of a highly-scalable BI product that is not included in SQL Server 2008 R2. What makes this all the more confusing is that Madison will be released around the same time as SQL Server 2008 R2. Madison (or whatever name they end up using for this new product) will be sold separately from SQL Server 2008 R2, and is designed for very large data warehouses that need huge scalability. From what I understand, Madison will be sold as part of a hardware/software package from various vendors, such as HP and Dell. See this link for more information on Madison.

Although attending TechEd sessions was very educational, one of the biggest reasons to attend any conference are the networking possibilities. I meet with many different people I haven’t seen in a long time, and met many new people. In fact, I probably learned more from talking with other attendees than I did by attending sessions.

For those who want to attend TechEd next year, it will be held in New Orleans, LA, June 7-11, 2010.