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PASS Summit 2019 – The Best One Yet

November 21, 2019 Leave a comment

In 2019, I attended my 11th PASS Summit.  Every year I say it is better than the last.  Usually this comes down to the fact that I know more people each year.  That was the case again this year, but I cannot remember being as excited about the content I learned at the conference.

If you had told me going in that a tool was the thing I would be most excited about, I would have thought you were crazy.  But it’s true, and that tool is Azure Data Studio (ADS).  ADS is a fork off of the VSCode project and allows connections to databases on prem and in Azure.  It also provides a link to source control systems.  The thing that has me so excited about ADS is the ability to build notebooks.

Notebooks are files that allow code to be combined with text more robustly than a T-SQL or PowerShell script with comments.  The text is written using markdown, which is a simple markup language that allows formatting.  Code can be placed in line with markdown text and can be executed from within the notebook.  As of November 4, ADS supports both T-SQL and PowerShell.

The utility of notebooks was brought home when Bob Ward ran all of the demos for his SQL Server 2019 Summit precon using notebooks.  That was pretty cool, but what was amazing is that he made those notebooks publicly available via GitHub.  Once you have installed ADS, you can download that GitHub repo and run the demo code.  The markdown provides information about and instructions for executing the code.  An example of one of the notebooks is shown below:

NotebookScreenshot

In the example above, the markdown text is above the code cell.  The play button in the code cell allows execution of the query.  The query messages and results appear below the code cell.  When the notebook is saved, the query results are saved with it.  This makes them perfect for creating runbooks, wikis, and process documentation.

I’ve created demos for a presentation on two of the new features in SQL Server 2019, Accelerated Database Recovery and in-memory metadata for tempdb.  Because PowerShell is supported, I am able to run docker commands within the notebook to build out a demo instance in seconds.  You can find my demo notebooks here.

I hope you find this post useful.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Note: The code in my notebooks has been modified from the SQL Server 2019 notebooks from Bob Ward’s precon.  Many thanks to Bob and the SQL Tiger Team for making these available.  Also, thanks to Vicky Harp, Alan Yu, and the rest of the Azure Tools team for ADS. Keep your eye out for updates to ADS, because additional functionality is coming.