With just six days left until the start of PASS Summit 2012, the excitement is building among SQL Server and BI professionals, and we’re staring our celebration early with a special series of blogs to countdown the six days left until PASS Summit!  Check back here daily to read what we have in store for you. Find exciting news, insightful information, and more -- all to get you revved up for PASS Summit 2012 in Seattle, Washington -- let the countdown begin!

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Ross_Mistry_Microsoft_National_MTC_DirectorToday’s Day 6 Countdown post features a Q & A session with Ross Mistry (Linkedin | Twitter), an author, Enterprise Architect with Microsoft and former SQL Server MVP. Ross, who has been working with SQL Server since version 6.5, speaks at technology conferences worldwide and designs SQL Server high availability and Private Cloud solutions for many organizations located in the Silicon Valley. We sat down with Ross and asked him a few questions about the many books he’s authored, including his latest book on SQL Server 2012, and all about his latest assignment -- the launch of the first Microsoft Technology Center in Canada.

Q. SQL Server: Over the past decade, you have authored many books on Windows, Exchange and SQL Server. Can you tell us about your latest books on SQL Server 2012?

A. I certainly can. This year I published two books on SQL Server 2012, Introducing SQL Server 2012 with Microsoft Press and SQL Server 2012 Management and Administration with SAMS Publishing.

Q. SQL Server: What are major differences between the two books and who are the intended audiences?

Introducing_Microsoft_SQL_Server_2012On behalf of the SQL Server Product Group, I co-authored Introducing SQL Server 2012 with SQL Server MVP and expert Stacia Misner - Twitter. This book explores the exciting enhancements and new capabilities engineered into SQL Server, ranging from improvements in mission critical availability, pervasive insight and cloud on your terms. This book provides a high level overview and it is for anyone who has an interest in SQL Server 2012 and wants to understand its new capabilities, including database administrators, application developers, and technical decision makers.

Microsoft_SQL_Server_2012_Management_and_AdministrationThe second book, SQL Server 2012 Management and Administration, which is now in its 3rd release, is tailored towards DBAs who need to deploy, manage, or secure Microsoft SQL Server 2012. This book goes far beyond the basics, taking on the complex tasks that DBAs need to make the most of Microsoft’s first cloud-enabled database platform. Designed for maximum practical usability, it’s packed with step-by-step instructions, expert tips from industry specialists and the product group, and up-to-date real-world configuration guidance you simply won’t find anywhere else. Also, in this release SQL Server industry expert Kevin Kline – Twitter has written chapters and shares real world experiences pertaining to storage, performance turning and indexing. Based on the positive feedback received thus far, the following chapters and sections have resonated well with our readers; installing SQL Server on Server Core, transferring data from on-premise to the cloud, managing column store indexes with xVelocity, deploying AlwaysOn Availability Groups, configuring multi-subnet clusters and finally deploying SQL Server Private Clouds.

Q. Will you be speaking at the upcoming PASS 2012 Summit in Seattle this year?

I typically deliver a full day SQL Server workshop called “No DBA left Behind” in the Silicon Valley, which focuses on teaching DBAs how to design, implement and manage SQL Server 2012 upgrades, migrations, high availability, consolidation and private cloud solutions. I was requested to deliver this same full day workshop as a Pre-Con during the PASS 2012 Summit and deliver a breakout session focused on designing a SQL Server Private Cloud with Windows Server 2012. Unfortunately, I have taken on a new role and due to a scheduling conflict; I will not be able to deliver the workshop and session or attend the upcoming Summit in Seattle this year. I am very disappointed as I have been speaking at PASS for many years and was looking forward to catching up with MVPs, customers and friends from the Product Group.

Q. So tell us about your new role?

I recently accepted a new position as the National MTC Director in Canada. I will be responsible for launching and leading our first MTC in Canada, which will be located in greater Toronto, Ontario. The plan also calls for MTC Satellite offices located throughout Canada. I am also very excited as I get to hire a new team consisting of the deepest and brightest enterprise architects in Canada.

Q. What is a Microsoft Technology Center and what is its value proposition?

Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs) are collaborative environments that provide access to innovative technologies and world-class expertise, enabling our customers, partners and consumers to envision, design, and deploy solutions to meet their exact needs. MTCs are located throughout the world and are staffed with solution-centered technology experts which solve some of the most challenging business problems for companies that drive the global economy. As mentioned above, I am proud to announce that I will be opening Canada’s first MTC in greater Toronto, Canada.

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31 MTC Locations Worldwide

Q. Do the MTCs have offerings pertaining to SQL Server?

A. We offer solutions around many disciplines such as Application Platform Optimization, Business Productivity Infrastructure Optimization, Cloud Computing , Collaboration and Communication and Core Infrastructure Optimization. With the release of Windows 8, our teams are spending a lot of time delivering engagements around devices, interactive solutions and experiences. With regards to SQL Server, the Data Platform is a major investment at our MTCs. Our SQL Server architects offer:

  • SQL Server Executive / Strategy Briefings - A day long engagement that culminates in a vision of how Microsoft can solve your data platform challenges with SQL Server, whether it is on-premise or in the cloud. Popular briefings delivered to C-level executives right now include: Solving Big Data Challenges, Achieving High Availability and Disaster Recovery, Cloud Based Computing (Public, Private and Hybrid) and Gaining Pervasive Insight via Business Intelligence. During these briefings, MTC architects take an organization through a storyline of business scenarios that map to a company’s business environment. The customized demonstration helps you understand how you can control costs while improving productivity.

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MTC Envisioning Center - Come and see first-hand what the Microsoft can offer you today

  • Architecture Design Sessions (ADS) – Once the customer has had the opportunity to envision a solution, the next step in the process is to jointly define the architectural vision for a Microsoft-data platform solution by clarifying the objectives, requirements, and scope. The customer will once again work with our MTC Architects and collaboratively design a solution at our state-of-the-art facility. With the release of SQL Server 2012, our MTC architects are spending a lot of time designing high availability and disaster recovery solutions with AlwaysOn Availability Groups, SQL Server Private Clouds running on Windows Server 2012 and unlocking the value of data, including Big Data between structured and unstructured environments.
     
  • Proof-of-Concept Workshops (POCs) – Our Architects also work side-by-side with an organization’s technical team to transfer knowledge and prove out customized solutions while taking advantage of a powerful collection of partner hardware and software to demonstrate your solution in a working environment. The development team will have a private, fully loaded development suite that is preconfigured prior to their arrival. Recently, I have conducted SQL Server POCs pertaining to performance and scalability pertaining to transaction processing, testing SQL Server private clouds and massively scaling data warehouses. Some of the partner hardware used in the SQL Server POCs had more than 100 cores and 2 TB of RAM. That’s enough power to knock the socks off most DBAs in the industry.

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MTC Server Display Area