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A Roundup of Takeaways from PASS Summit 2018

Hear from the Engineering and Solutions Architecture teams about their experience, including top highlights and takeaways, from this year’s SQL event.
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(Pictured left to right: Jonathan Wilcox, Dante DeMichaelis, Jennifer Walker, Venkat Navaneeth, Grant Magdanz, Jeff Ngo, Shahab Booshehri)

Each year, thousands of data professionals make their way to Seattle, Washington for PASS Summit, the world’s largest SQL Server conference. This year, the event was nothing short of spectacular. Not only were we a Silver Sponsor, exhibiting alongside industry leaders in the data community, but a handful of Delphix staff had the opportunity to attend the 3-day marathon of events and workshops to learn about how to stay up-to-speed in this rapidly changing landscape. 

Hybrid cloud, BI and data security were just a few of many interesting topics covered this year, where a unique combination of community leaders shared their expertise and provided deep insight into Microsoft solutions. In fact, there were so many meaningful discussions and insights, we put together top highlights and takeaways from PASS Summit 2018 by our very own Delphix staff. 

Dante DeMichaelis, Director of Solution Architecture:

"This year's SQL PASS was particularly exciting for me because I was able to catch up with a number of friends, colleagues and customers I hadn't seen for some time. There was also a bit more excitement and enthusiasm this time around. Most of the discussions we had with participants were around two subjects. The first, which would be of no surprise to anyone, was about the cloud and specifically how to leverage it for non-prod development and scalability. The second was around DevOps. Not only has this become a mainstream IT term but a methodology that many companies are now adopting and investing in. For us at Delphix, this is definitely exciting!"

Jonathan Wilcox, Senior Solutions Architect:

"For the past few years, we’ve been talking about fundamental shifts in the way we process and manage data. This year feels a bit different because I sense we have reached the enlightenment curve on that hype cycle. Now, we’re seeing real migration into the cloud, real use of AI/ML for deriving business value and real commitment to the protection of data in motion as well as at rest. Additionally, regulatory requirements like GDPR and CCPA are driving the need to create a chain of custody for data. I'm excited to see where this all goes!"

Venkat Navaneeth, Senior Principal Technical Services:

"Representing Delphix at SQL Pass and evangelizing about our data virtualization technology has always been an exciting and challenging opportunity. But this year was a little different. More people genuinely wanted to learn about data masking. In the last 4 years I’ve been to SQL Pass, this was the first time so many people asked about this specific tool. Most customers fell into one of two categories: either they have no masking technology or they have something rudimentary that was built a long time ago with no one actively maintaining it. It was definitely an eye opener to see the level of interest out there, and this experience made me realize the enormous value we bring to customers through our product and capabilities. Lastly, the one thing no one talked about this year? SQL Server on Linux. Apparently there's no traction for SQL Server on Linux."

Grant Magdanz, Senior Member of Technical Staff II, Development Engineering:

"SQL Server is becoming as much of an analytics hub as it is a database engine. Starting in SQL Server 2019, SQL Server will come packaged with Apache Spark and Hadoop Distributed File System. T-SQL can execute Java directly, building on the already existing support of R and Python. A new layer of abstraction was also introduced, allowing a query to pull data from data sources, such as Oracle or on-disk CSVs, at query time as if they were part of a SQL Server table. At a high level this aligns with what I heard talking to attendees. Companies need to unlock the value in data, they have heterogenous data estates, and those estates have a mix of modern and traditional data sources."

Jeff Ngo, Senior Member of Technical Staff II, Development Engineering:

"A couple themes from Pass Summit 2018 was the emphasis on heterogeneous data services and data security. It was intriguing to see the arrival of new database connectors, enabling customers to create a virtual data hub for a wide variety of data sources within SQL Server. And with great data comes great responsibility, which is why data privacy and security were heavily discussed at the conference. SQL Server 2019 is adding static data masking to its data management toolbox, allowing users to create a copy of a database and apply a masking function to sanitize sensitive data with scrubbed data at the storage level. In a way, it’s alarming to see more competitors in the masking space, but one thing that sets Delphix apart is the ability to use a single tool on an array of different data sources."

Muralidhar Nimmagadda, Staff Engineer, Development Engineering:

"This is my first SQL Pass event, and I attended a few sessions related to SQL Server roadmap and others that had to do with containers and Kubernetes. The workshops helped me better understand how SQL Server is evolving and the importance of integrating with other big data solutions, like NoSql, Apache Spark, Kubernetes and HDFS. It was a great opportunity to get to know where the industry is headed, and throughout the conference, I enjoyed interacting with our team at the booth and getting first-hand experience from new and potential customers about how they use Delphix and how we can better serve their needs."