#0150 – Tech Ed 2012 (India) – Day 03 – SQL Server Day – Go Big!

As many of you would know by now, these days I am attempting to summarize my experience at Tech-Ed 2012 (India) held from March 21-23, 2012 at Bengaluru, India.

March 23, 2012 was the day I was most looking forward to – because it was SQL Server Day! Today was the day when TechEd had a dedicated track – Know your Data – a Day in the life of a DBA. It was also the festival of Ugadi, and hence there was very little traffic on the roads of Bengaluru. I had worked till late the night before, but that did not stop me from gulping down 2 cups of coffee and reaching the venue before time! Without much ado, I will get right on with the details of the day’s proceedings.

Day 03 – Keynote

Although Day 3 had 2 starting keynotes, the SQL Server track was going to be held at the same location where the Visual Studio sessions were held the day before. A lot of people turned up and hence doors had to be closed for new entries. With no overflow lots, I did not want to be late to the sessions. I wanted to be sure to be ahead in the line, get a seat and then not move at all!

I, therefore, attended only the first keynote by Chakrapani Gollapalli, General Manager – Consumer Channels Group,Microsoft India. Aptly titled – “This year, Microsoft will kick some A**”, this session was about the presence of Microsoft in the consumer community.


Here are some highlights of Microsoft’s achievements in 2011:

1 Million downloads of Windows 8 customer preview within 24 hours of it’s release
The growth of the Windows phone – Called a “design gem” – 65,000+ apps, 500+ new features and 100,000+ registered developers


The XBOX 360 tops the Nintendo Wii & the PS3 for the 1st time in yearly global sales


The consumer channels group focuses on 4 products (Windows, Windows Phone, Office and the XBOX) through 4 channels – Retailers, Operators, OEMs and Direct marketing.

After the TechEd, I have 2 more things on my wish-list – the Windows Phone and the XBOX 360! Microsoft has truly lived up to their customer mission of “creating a product desire through an unbroken demand chain”.


Day 03 – Sessions

Peeling SQL Server like an Onion: Internals Demystified

Speaker: Vinod Kumar, a.k.a. “Extreme Experts” (B|T)

This one did not make me cry Smile – was it really about onions? Well, jokes apart, the topic was all about SQL Server internals and therefore, there was no possibility of demos. Even then, Vinod had the audience hooked.

The key takeaways from this session were:

  • How does storage alignment (512b v/s 512E) impact SQL Server?
  • Security changes inside SQL Server 2012

    • 19 new permissions now available
    • How it is possible to unknowingly violate the principle of least privileges?
    • Virtual Account, Service Account with SID

  • Recovery Time Objectives, Recovery Point Objectives & how SQL Server 2012 will help improve them

    • Changes to check-pointing (direct v/s indirect check-pointing)
    • VLFs and the associated changes done in SQL Server 2012
    • Finally, a lesson to not only design a good backup/restore strategy, but to also test it!

  • Memory changes

    • Multi-page allocator
    • Can you have more than 8K pages in the buffer pool?
    • Is the max. memory setting on your SQL Server accurate?

  • AWE is no longer supported in SQL Server 2012

    • 32-bit guys – UPGRADE!

  • And, by the way, SQL Server licensing has changed – it’s now a core-based license as opposed to a socket-based model

Read more about it on Vinod’s Blog here: http://blogs.extremeexperts.com/2012/03/08/teched-india-2012-sql-server-internals/

The first session, the keynote just got over, and look at the crowd ready for Vinod’s session
How does storage alignment (512b v/s 512E) impact SQL Server?
Here’s how FSUTIL can help SQL DBAs..

Speed Up! – Parallel Processes and Unparalleled Performance

Speaker: Pinal Dave, a.k.a. “SQLAuthority” (B|T)

Performance tuning is a very hot topic for all SQL Server sessions. But, performance benefits and issues due to parallelism within SQL Server is something that no speaker has ever talked about in India. Pinal took it up and presented a whole series of demos on how parallelism affects query performance and how to use DMVs to detect parallelism issues. With a very practical example involving a manager and 8 employees, Pinal demonstrated the scenarios in which one would want parallelism and where one would want to avoid it. The key takeaways were:

  • SQL Server is smart enough to make the right choice
  • It depends – doesn’t exist in the case of SQL Server. There’s always an answer for a question

Read more about his session at: http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2012/03/13/sql-server-speed-up-parallel-processes-and-unparalleled-performance-teched-2012-india/ and http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2012/03/22/sql-server-techedin-presenting-tomorrow-on-speed-up-parallel-processes-and-unparalleled-performance-at-teched-india-2012/

Pinal explaining what Parallelism is
Pinal congratulating a participant for a correct answer
More serious stuff – detecting and fixing parallelism issues

Keep your database available: ALWAYS-ON

Speaker: Balmukund Lakhani (B|T)

One of the most awaited features in SQL Server 2012, the High-availability & Always ON enhancements were demonstrated by the one and only – Balmukund. The key takeaways were:

  • AlwaysON extends Windows clustering
  • A shared storage disk is no longer required to configure clustering
  • One Primary database, four secondary replicas, and two secondary synchronous replicas can be configured
  • Readable secondaries, supporting DBCC and backups
  • Log backup and Full backup with COPY_ONLY option can be performed on any replicas
  • Log backups done on all replicas does not break across replicas and therefore can be used as part of recovery strategy

Read more about the session at: http://sqlserver-help.com/2012/03/20/keep-databases-always-availablealwaysonteched-2012-india/

Explaining the backup capabilities of AlwaysON replicas
Demonstrating the configuration of a “primary” secondary

Lesser Known Facts of SQL Server Backup & Restore

Speaker: Amit Banerjee (B|T)

Backup & Restores are something without which a DBA’s day isn’t complete. Amit Banerjee demystified some of the many myths around backups & restores within SQL Server.

  • Three types of Backup Methods are available within SQL Server:

    • T-SQL (the “regular” one)
    • VSS (Volume shadow backups)
    • VDI (Virtual Device Interface backups)

  • What causes an I/O freeze error during 3rd party backups and is it really an error to be worried about?
  • For VSS storage, should the underlying backup software also need to support the features extended by SQL Server to use shadow backups?
  • Various types of backups and their significance:

    • Full/Differential backups
    • Log backups
    • File & File Group backups

  • Piecemeal restore of a database
  • What is the importance of the buffer count and max. transfer size values?
  • Learnt that there is a tool called SQLBackup Simulator that can help troubleshoot failed backups!

Read more about this session on Amit Banerjee’s blog at: http://troubleshootingsql.com/2012/03/13/teched-india-2012-session/

What is this backup/restore all about?
A light-hearted spoof on Balmukund Lakhani (B|T) to break the ice with the audience
Demonstrating SQLBackup Simulator

Day 03 – TechEd 2012 – Closing keynote

After 3 days of power-packed sessions, networking and demos, it was finally time to end TechEd 2012. As we moved towards the keynote area, fans came over to meet Pinal Dave, a.k.a. “SQLAuthority” (B|T) and get their copies of the SQL Server Interview Questions & Answers book signed by him.


Pinal Dave signing a copy of his book for a fan. In the background: Rajashekaran Vengalil

Seize The Opportunity

The closing note started off by a Kolaveri dance by none other than Moorthy Uppaluri, General Manager, Academia, Microsoft Corporation. With absolutely no room (standing, sitting or otherwise), the key takeaways from his session were:

  • TechEd India 2012 was the biggest TechEd India event ever
  • How Microsoft has studied and followed Hype cycles to commoditize IT
  • Data scientist will be a new profession
  • Social networking is going to change in the future
  • It is the time for the developer community to think bold, act big and create differentiated applications to stay ahead – it’s time to seize the opportunity!

The fully-packed keynote hall. Every soul that attended TechEd was here.
Moorthy doing a little “Kolaveri”
Moorthy Uppaluri beginning the closing keynote of TechEd 2012
The hype cycles that Microsoft is current riding
The success stories of India – why India needs to seize the opportunity?
1. Young Entrepreneurs
2. Internet Growth – fastest growing 3G market
3. One of the largest mobile user base
4. Host of the one of the costliest sports – the Indian Grand Prix
5. E-commerce
6. Hollywood is now coming to Bollywood!
The Microsoft Momentum
Presenting the winners of the Windows 8 camp (Hyderabad and Bengaluru) with Intel laptops
Some of the best and most re-tweeted tweets were presented with a gift
The “Go DOs” – 3 key takeaways for all developers
It was a privilege attending TechEd 2012. I will be back for TechEd 2013!
Thank-you Microsoft!

Until we meet next time,

Be courteous. Drive responsibly.


5 thoughts on “#0150 – Tech Ed 2012 (India) – Day 03 – SQL Server Day – Go Big!

  1. Manas Ranjan Dash

    @Nakul I can proudly claim that this is the best written series for the TECHED2012 and so nicely you have narrated the whole story. It was nice meeting you at TECHED and expecting the same next year. You are and will be ROCKSTAR for ever. Super article. like*1000


  2. Nakul Vachhrajani

    @Manas: That’s so nice of you! I try to ensure that I capture every possible moment in my writing. Thank-you!



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