Pre-Conference Seminars

Join us Monday, March 2, for in-depth, full-day training workshops delivered by some of the leading SQL Server and Microsoft Business Intelligence experts in the world. Choose from these PASS SQLRally Nordic Pre-Conference Seminars:


Microsoft’s Cloud Data Services; What You Need to Know

Database and Application Development seminar by Scott Klein

Level: 300

Cloud computing opens up a new world of opportunity and innovation when it comes to database design and application development. Building modern applications for database elastic scale, varying performance needs, and multi-tenancy is critical for successful clouds development but is achievable by breaking away from the traditional on-premises ideas. This pre-conference highlights the Microsoft Azure cloud data platform services and technologies and important scenarios surrounding each, and how you can blend a variety of the Azure data services to achieve optimal performance, scale, and cost-efficiencies based on the data needs of your application.


Performance Tuning When You Can't Fix Queries

DBA Pre-Conference Seminar by Brent Ozar

Level: 300

Your users are frustrated because the app is too slow, but you can't change the queries. Maybe it's a third party app, or maybe you're using generated code, or maybe you're just not allowed to change it. Take heart - there's still hope.

Brent Ozar does this every week, and he'll share his proven methodologies to performance tune with indexes, SQL Server configuration switches, and hardware. You'll learn:

  • Simplified internals - how SQL Server turns your query into an execution plan
  • Wait stats solutions - a list of fixes for most common bottlenecks
  • Plan cache analysis - how to discover the most resource-intensive queries
  • Monitoring metrics - what DMVs and Perfmon counters to monitor, and what thresholds to alert on
  • Hardware warning signs - how to prove your server is undersized for your workloads
  • Tools and scripts - the best free and paid tools to make your tuning job easier

This session is for developers and DBAs who have to make SQL Server go faster. You should be comfortable writing queries and creating tables, but not as confident about interpreting SQL Server's DMVs and diagnostic data.


Query Performance Tuning: Start to Finish

DBA/DEV Pre-Conference Seminar by Grant Fritchey

Level: 300

One of the most common problems encountered in SQL Server is the slow-running query. Once a query is identified as performing poorly, DBAs and developers frequently don’t understand how to diagnose the problem and struggle to fix it. This full-day seminar focuses exclusively on these two topics: You will learn how to identify queries that are performing badly and how to fix them.

We will start by covering how to gather query performance metrics using tools available directly from Microsoft, such as dynamic management objects and extended events. We’ll then move into common performance problems, how they show themselves in the metrics and execution plans, and how to address them. You will leave with a working knowledge of query performance tuning, a set of methods for identifying poorly performing queries, scripts to help out, and the knowledge you need to fix your own systems.


Practical T-SQL - Efficient Solutions

DBA/DEV Pre-Conference Seminar by Itzik Ben-Gan

Level: 300

This full-day seminar covers practical use of T-SQL to efficiently address common tasks. Intuitive solutions for common tasks often don't get optimized well. With some creativity, you can achieve significant performance improvements. This seminar walks you through such examples, explaining the reasons for the inefficiencies and providing efficient solutions, using powerful tools in the language such as window functions, APPLY, MERGE, OFFSET-FETCH, sequences, and others. The seminar covers topics such as temporal data, with efficient handling of temporal intervals; new solutions to gaps and islands problems; statistical calculations such as median; aggregates against partitioned tables; and the complexities of generating surrogate keys and copying data with dependencies.


Understanding SSIS internals and performance tuning

BI/DEV Pre-Conference Seminar by David Peter Hansen

Level: 300

You have worked with SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) for a few years, but more often than not, you see performance problems with your packages. Some packages are running slow, while others are taking up more memory and CPU than before.

The first part of this full-day session will cover the internals of SSIS. Starting with an overview, we will move into the details of the control flow engine and the data flow engine. At the end of the internals section, you will have a deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of SSIS and what is the best way to design your packages.

The second part will cover the architecture of the SSIS Server, which came with SQL Server 2012. We will dive into the SSIS catalog and the host process used to execute the packages.

The third part will cover how we can use the knowledge about the internals of SSIS to gain better performance. This part will show practical examples of common performance problems, and how these can be solved. Furthermore we will look at how designing and tuning your data flows can increase performance significantly.


Advanced Analytics with Azure Machine Learning, SQL Data Mining, and R

BI Pre-Conference Seminar by Rafal Lukawiecki

Level: 300

Data mining and machine learning are having their renaissance: after more than 40 years of academic research those powerful, algorithmic techniques are finally within the reach of anyone who can understand data. They are fast, inexpensive and, best of all, they find patterns and they can generate insight that business people are asking for! Rafal Lukawiecki will share his decade of hands-on data mining experience during this intensive, full-day seminar as he teaches you about the newest, cloud-based Microsoft analytical toolkit: Azure Machine Learning (Azure ML) and its very useful on-prem companion, the SQL Server Data Mining engine contained in SSAS, supplemented with gentle "I am really not a statistician" use of the open source R software. While you might catch a glimpse of Excel this day will not focus on it, as we will spend 90% of our time in SSDT, SSMS, R, and, of course, in ML Studio. However, before we can have fun exploring patterns and making predictions, you must understand how a somewhat unusual (for a relational guy or a girl) form of data preparation leads to finding interesting, potentially great predictive results. We will cover:

  • Introduction to predictive analytics, data mining, machine learning, and rudimentary descriptive statistics, as well as data and content types used in the process (this will be at level 200)
  • Data preparation, model building, and its very important validation, on-premise, using SQL Server Data Mining (level 300)
  • Model building and testing in the cloud, using Azure ML (level 250)
  • Use and deployment of both on-premise models (using T-SQL and DMX) and cloud-based models (using REST web services API) at level 300
  • A level 300-400+ look into the specifics of a few interesting and useful algorithms, including Regression and Classification Decision Trees, Random Forests and Jungles, Association Rules, Neural Networks and Logistic Regression, and a brief, level 400+ look at balancing model performance to user requirements by selecting the correct sensitivity vs specificity thresholds.

At the end of the day you will have learned the entire process of machine learning and data mining, focusing on the often missed out part of correct data preparation, which should enable you to start experimenting with your own data straight away. Although we cannot promise that, we will also do our best to make sure you are tired, as this will be a very intensive day, so please sign up if you like the idea of learning lots in a short span of time.


Superhero Power BI

BI Pre-Conference Seminar by Peter Myers

Level: 300

Personal, heroic deeds, and the right gadgets are the making of a true superhero. In this day-long pre-conference session, learn how Power BI can enable the superhero in you to thwart evil deeds - aka "no data", "old data," and the all-too-common "incomplete data."

The aim of this session is to excite you with the potential of Microsoft's new self-service suite of BI products and collaboration platform, called Power BI. You will learn about four “Power” authoring products available in Excel and how they function to discover, acquire, transform, relate, and enrich data for analysis and reporting. Topics include Power Query, PowerPivot, Power View, and Power Map.

You will also learn how to effectively share and collaborate on Power BI solutions in the cloud with Office 365. Topics include data refresh to on-premise data, the data catalog to search for data queries, natural language query (Q&A) to intuitively query data, and a mobile application for Power BI.

This session has been designed to provide perspective across the Power BI story. Theory and an end-to-end series of real-world demonstrations will allow you to appreciate how the Power BI products span on-premise and cloud environments and how they attain super-strength as they work together.

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