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SQLBits 2023

March 17, 2023
Data and AI team watching SQLBits

This week our Data and AI Team been having fun attending SQLBits using our new Hub space to watch the sessions. As well as attending ourselves, we have also been able to have clients and industry colleagues with their own tickets to sit with us, discuss the content and consider how we might use all the new shiny features.

While the conference isn’t over yet, here are some of the key learning so far:

1. AutoML

AI and Machine Learning offerings in Azure continue to evolve at pace, and will no doubt continue to do so given Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI the company behind ChatGPT and GPT4.

See yesterday’s announcements of the forthcoming Copilot of M365 for example. AutoML is exciting and we’ve already built some ‘Proof of Concept’ models using our internal CRM datasets and we’re seeing some interesting pipeline predictions.

2. Power BI

Sessions from Alberto Ferrari on DAX query optimisation have been fascinating, along with seeing how the presenters have used existing 3rd Party tools to complement and further enhance Power BI data models. For our newer members of the team seeing what is “under the hood” has been useful.

3. SQL Server

The keynote reminded us that Microsoft’s SQL Server is still one of the top database systems in the world. In 2022 Gartner placed SQL Server as a leader alongside offerings from AWS, Oracle & Google for managing, storing and processing their data.

Alongside newer concepts and techniques such as Data Lakes, skills required to work with, query, manage and store data in relational database systems will continue to be highly valued and crucially important for organisations working with data.

From a resilience perspective, the ability to simulate a failover from an on-premise SQL Server to a Cloud based Azure Managed Instance version in a couple of clicks was extraordinary. Azure Arc as a product now being extended to SQL Server estates also looks very interesting in terms of overall management. Also, Management Studio isn’t going anywhere!

Finally, it’s been great fun watching the sessions and learning from industry experts and the SQL / Microsoft Data community, especially when using the latest versions of products which have moved all the icons around!

The conference finishes on Saturday and we’re looking forward to hearing more. We are epecially keen for the Power BI sessions this afternoon.