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Pre-Conference Seminars

Join us for in-depth, full-day training classes delivered by some of the leading  SQL Server and Microsoft Business Intelligence experts in the world. Choose from 4 PASS SQLRally Nordic Pre-Conference Seminars scheduled for Monday, October 1.

BI Pre-Conference Seminar

Exploring the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Microsoft BI Presentation Layer
by Stacia Misner

The Microsoft BI presentation layer includes several reporting and analysis tools to help users understand what has happened in the past and to compare past events to what is happening now so they can set appropriate goals for the company, monitor ongoing progress towards those goals, and take corrective action whenever necessary. However, many of these have overlapping capabilities that can seem confusing for business users at first glance. How do you decide which tools to make available? Then there are tools that have unique features, but are those features useful enough to set up the supporting infrastructure? Furthermore, both the SQL Server 2008 R2 and 2012 releases are chock-full of features that support self-service BI, but having features in the product doesn't mean those features are readily accessible (and understandable) to business users.

In this session, we’ll compare and contrast the available tools in the presentation layer: Reporting Services (including Report Builder and Power View), Excel and Excel Services, SharePoint Server, and PerformancePoint Services. You'll learn how each tool supports different scenarios, how your choice of which tool to use can change over time, and how to select the right tool for the task at hand. You'll also learn how tool selection impacts the overall technical and security architecture of your BI environment. In addition, we'll survey the collection of self-service features across these two versions. We'll also discuss a strategy for enabling users of all skill levels to successfully access and modify existing reports to answer new questions or to start a new report by piecing together elements that you put in place to guide them to new insights. At the end of the day, you’ll know how to get the most out of the tools you want to use, how to properly configure and secure your environment to support these tools, and how to prepare data for use with these tools.

About the Speaker

Stacia Misner  /  Data Inspirations

Stacia Misner is a SQL Server MVP, SSAS Maestro, MCIT-BI, and MCTS-BI with a Bachelors' degree in Social Sciences. A consultant, educator, author, mentor, and principal of Data Inspirations, her career spans more than 25 years with a focus on improving business practices through technology. Since 2000, Stacia has been providing consulting and education services for Microsoft's business intelligence technologies. In addition, she has authored or co-authored several books covering different components of the Microsoft SQL Server database and BI platform. Stacia has presented at PASS Summit, SQLBits, Microsoft TechEd, SQL Server Magazine Connections, and various other Microsoft events. She currently lives in Southeast Alaska.


Developer Pre-Conference Seminar

Developer Dive into SQL Server 2012
by Leonard Lobel

If you are a .NET developer building any kind of application on top of SQL Server, then this intensive demo-packed day is just what you need to advance your skills to the next level. Leonard Lobel will get you up to speed on the most significant enhancements in the product including the latest improvements in SQL Server 2012 as he rips through the many powerful features aimed at developers.

Part 1 – T-SQL Enhancements. After kicking off with a quick introduction to SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT), the new database development environment for SQL Server in Visual Studio, we will examine the many enhancements made to the T-SQL language. We’ll dive into table-valued parameters, learning how to pass entire sets of rows between stored procedures and UDFs, and even marshal them easily across the network from client to server. We’ll then move on to MERGE, a powerful DML statement that combines the capabilities of four (or more) separate operations, and INSERT OVER DML to enhance your ability to capture change data from the OUTPUT clause of any DML statement. We’ll also look at the date and time data types, including support for time zone awareness. Then learn about the newest T-SQL enhancements in SQL Server 2012, such as the powerful windowing (OVER clause) enhancements, running and sliding aggregates, 22 new functions, the THROW statement, server-side paging, the SEQUENCE object, and new metadata discovery techniques.

Part 2 – .NET Data Access. Your .NET applications consume SQL Server data, and so we’ll examine the plethora of data access strategies available with .NET Framework 4. We’ll examine the mechanics of language-integrated query (LINQ), and then compare conventional ADO.NET with LINQ To SQL and the ADO.NET Entity Framework. You’ll see how these object relational mapping (ORM) technologies work, and also learn how WCF Data Services and WCF RIA Services can be used to extend your data’s reach to the world.

Part 3 – Beyond Relational. The powerful “beyond relational” features will get you thinking outside the box with respect to the types of data that can be managed by a relational database system. Learn about the rich XML support in the database engine, including XSD, XPath, and XQuery. With the hierarchyid data type, you will learn how to cast a hierarchical structure over any relational table. Discover how FILESTREAM and FileTable greatly enhance your native ability to store large unstructured data (binary objects) in the database using the file system. We’ll also look at the geospatial data types that embeds location-intelligence into the database, and then build several location-aware applications on top of these new data types.

Part 4 – Enterprise Features. We’ll conclude with three extremely convenient enterprise-level data warehousing and security features: Change Data Capture (CDC), SQL Server Audit, and Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). With CDC, you can monitor and record changes made to transactional tables without requiring any application changes or resorting to triggers. Enabling TDE automatically encrypts the entire database in the background, without increasing database size, and without requiring any code. And with SQL Server Audit, virtually any action taken by any user can be recorded for auditing in either the file system or the Windows event log.

Attend this information-packed day, and you’ll learn a ton of new SQL Server features! 

About the speaker

Leonard Lobel  /  Sleek Technologies, Inc.

Leonard Lobel is a SQL Server MVP and co-founder/CTO of Sleek Technologies, Inc., a New York–based development shop with an early adopter philosophy toward new technologies. He is also a principal consultant at Tallan, Inc., a Microsoft National Systems Integrator and Gold Competency Partner.

Programming since 1979, Lenni has served as chief architect and lead developer for various organizations, ranging from small shops to high-profile clients. He is also a consultant, author, trainer, and frequent speaker at local user group meetings, VSLive, SQL PASS, SQLBits, and CodeCamps across the US and abroad. Lenni is lead author of the MS Press book “Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2012.” He can be reached at


DBA Pre-Conference Seminar

AlwaysOn: Maximizing High Availability with SQL Server 2012
By Allan Hirt

When it comes to the availability landscape, SQL Server 2012 changes the game for SQL Server deployments. There many new enhancements for traditional failover clustering deployments, for instance, such as flexible failover policies and multi-site clusters that can and will change the way you plan, deploy, and administer. In addition to the changes to failover clustering, there is a whole new feature: AlwaysOn availability groups. Availability groups is an evolution of database mirroring that also takes some of the better bits from failover clustering to provide a robust availability solution. Availability groups may also enable some scenarios that you have had trouble with in the past, such as using a standby database for reporting and some maintenance instead of just for standby purposes. This full-day seminar will prepare you to plan and deploy highly available SQL Server 2012 databases and instances. If you do not want a basic "this is failover clustering" or a quick introduction to availability groups - and if you do not want just a day of theory - this pre-con is for you.

About the speaker

Allan Hirt / SQLHA

Clustering MVP Allan Hirt is a consultant, published author, speaker, and trainer who has been using SQL Server in various guises since 1992, when he interned at Sybase in college. He is currently based in the Boston, MA, area and for the past 10 years, has traveled all over the world to work with and train clients. His most recent book is "Pro SQL Server 2008 Failover Clustering" (Apress), and he is currently working on a Mission Critical book for SQL Server 2012.