What’s Up SQLCAT?



You may have heard about SQLCAT, Microsoft’s prestigious SQL Server Customer Advisory TeamSQLCAT member Burzin Patel lives here in the Bay Area and is a favorite speaker at the San Francisco SQL Server User Group. He’s also an author of the SQL Server 2005 Administrator’s Companion.  Recently I sat down with Burzin to learn more about what those cats at SQLCAT are up to.

MG: You’re a member of the SQLCAT team.  What can you tell us about the team’s mission, and your role?

BP:  The SQL Customer Advisory Team works on some of the largest SQL Server projects across the world targeting the most challenging and innovative applications deployed on SQL Server and providing a unique value-add from a technical & project experience perspective.  We also conduct architecture and design reviews covering performance, operation, scalability and availability aspects of a deployment, and formulate case-studies/reports on the projects we work on.

Burzin Patel, Microsoft SQLCAT Team

Burzin Patel, SQLCAT whiz

MG:  What do you think is the most compelling reason for an organization to upgrade to SQL Server 2008?

BP:  SQL Server 2008 offers many new and improved features and functionalities which are particularly well suited for large enterprise customers.  Features like transparent data encryption, auditing, back and data compression, enhanced performance monitoring using the new Data Collector and Management Data Warehouse features make upgrading to SQL Server 2008 too compelling a proposition to pass on.  In addition, there are also a slew of new offerings in Business Intelligence.

MG:  You co-authored SQL Server 2005 Administrator’s Companion.  Are you working on another book?


BP:  Ironically, I was and was half way through my chapters for the SQL Server 2008 Administrator’s Companion book when the publisher was forced to cancel it due to the downturn in the economy.

MG:  Your main expertise revolves around SQL Server.  Do you spend much time digging into other key Microsoft technologies (.NET, SharePoint, Silverlight, etc.)?

BP:  You’re right, my main focus is certainly SQL Server, but coming from a development background I have a strong passion for application development and often spend time developing .NET apps.

MG:  What’s the most difficult technical problem you’ve ever had to solve?

BP:  I’d say the most challenging technical problem was designing and implementing an end to end benchmark test to measure the performance of an eCommerce site.  This project included starting from scratch and installing, configuring, tuning the web, apps and database servers which were scaled out across 30+ servers.  The project took more than two months to complete and by virtue of it never been done before, involved some of the most challenging design problems.

MG:  Thanks Burzin!