A Developer’s Perspective: 3 Data-Related Trends From SQL Pass 2018

All the excitement from attending PASS Summit is finally over, and here are my insights from this year’s conference.

Once a year, more than 4,000 DBAs, developer, analysts, data scientists and other data professionals gather in Seattle for the PASS Summit. This year I attended with a team of Delphix staff where I had the chance to directly engage with customers and prospects as well as get a glimpse of new features Microsoft is releasing for SQL Server and their roadmap. 

As an engineer, it’s easy to get tunnel vision. I think on the level of bug fixes, features, and code architecture. This there isn’t much time to think about industry trends. Understanding the space we operate in is crucial as these trends validate the work my team and Delphix is doing and helps inform our future roadmap. 

Here are the trends that stood out to me during PASS Summit 2018.

It’s no secret there is value in data 

Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president of Azure Data at Microsoft and keynote speaker for Day 1, discussed the various ways Microsoft customers use AI in four overarching areas: employee empowerment, customer engagement, new product development and business agility. To accomplish those things, we know that data is key. AI is only as good as the data you feed it - a point that both Kumar stated and one I hear internally at Delphix frequently. Kumar went on to say it all starts with a modern data platform, and we couldn’t agree more!

Rohan Kumar Microsoft

The move is to the hybrid cloud

The cloud story is often times told as though everyone has adopted and leverages the bleeding edge of cloud capabilities. However, the conversations I had at the conference contradict this. Many enterprises are just starting to get their feet wet in the cloud. Everyone wants to move workloads to the cloud, primarily to cut costs, but know a lift and shift approach is going to do the exact opposite. No one plans to migrate entirely to the cloud either. Dev and test might be migrated. Analytics might be migrated. But production almost certainly won’t. In his opening remarks Kumar said hybrid is the conduit to modernization. For Microsoft customers, nearly 80 percent are hybrid and 99 percent are satisfied with hybrid. Delphix engineering is spending much of its time building out our platform to support the needs of enterprises in a hybrid world.

Data estates are diversifying 

Many companies are not abandoning traditional relational databases but instead augmenting their existing estate with Hadoop, Cassandra, MongoDB and the like. SQL Server recognizes this too and is positioning itself to be the analytics hub. Microsoft wants SQL Server to aggregate all data to become a one-stop-shop to manage and analyze all data. SQL Server 2019 added support for both Spark and Java and a feature that enables querying data from external data sources (Oracle, CSVs, etc.) with T-SQL. 

I’m probably happier to hear about this diversification than most. Next year, I’ll be dedicated to a project to increase our platform’s extensibility to support a diverse set of data sources. Being at PASS Summit helped further validate the project I’ll be working on, our roadmap, as well as our platform's transition to Linux as part of our larger transition to a hybrid platform.