How Can I Become a Microsoft MVP?

Many IT professionals haven't heard of the Microsoft MVP accolade, but those who have know that it carries a lot of prestige. I have been a Microsoft MVP since the 2003-2004 award year. Unfortunately, I never wrote down a detailed set of advice for perhaps my most frequently asked question ... how can I become a Microsoft MVP? To me, the Most Valuable Professional designation is a recognition of an independent individual's contribution to the wider community in support of a specific Microsoft technology. Note the emphasis on community, not technology. Tech is certainly a huge part of the … [Read more...]

Proof of Concepts: Making Hard Things Easy with Azure

PROOF OF CONCEPTS: MAKING HARD THINGS EASY WITH AZURE Back when I managed my employer's enterprise architecture, prior to the days of virtualization and cloud computing, one of my most difficult projects was to build out a sandbox environment for a major proof of concept (POC). Locally hosted servers and all of the required licenses were expensive and scarce. If you're still struggling with scarcity when conducting research and performing POCs, I've got to tell you you're doing it wrong. READ MORE... Posted November 02, 2016 … [Read more...]

SQL Server Adds Even More New Features in Data Science

SQL SERVER ADDS EVEN MORE NEW FEATURES IN DATA SCIENCE One of the great promises of AI is contextual processing that come naturally to humans, such as understanding visual input and natural language. You can now get in on the new previews from Microsoft to accomplish these goals. Microsoft Cognitive Services is a collection of APIs that enable developers to tap into high-quality vision, speech, language, knowledge, and search technologies—developed through decades of Microsoft research—to build intelligent apps. READ MORE... Originally Posted October 07, 2016 … [Read more...]

SQL Server 2016 – The Cool is in the Tool (SSMS That is)

SQL SERVER 2016 – THE COOL IS IN THE TOOL (SSMS THAT IS) As a heavy user of other RDBMS data platforms, I have long appreciated the extra effort that Microsoft put into their data management and administration tool, the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). While SSMS is an outstanding administration and T-SQL programming tool, it does have its minor qualms and quibbles. READ MORE... Originally Posted September 02, 2016 … [Read more...]

SQL Server 2016 is Simply Faster… A Lot Faster

SQL SERVER 2016 IS SIMPLY FASTER…A LOT FASTER I had the pleasure to spend some time with my old friend Mark Souza, a general manager in the Data Platform team at Microsoft, while speaking at the SQL Saturday event in Dublin, Ireland in the summer of 2016. Now keep in mind that Mark and I have known each other since the 1990s when SQL Server was just being ported to a brand new operating system called Windows NT. Mark and I were having a laugh and more than a twinge of nostalgia about how much SQL Server has improved over the decades and now sits atop the heap on most analysts' "best database" … [Read more...]

U-SQL and the Azure Data Lake

U-SQL AND THE AZURE DATA LAKE There's a new buzzword on the loose, the data lake. At first glance, a data lake could be easily mistaken for a data warehouse. The two big data concepts have a common focus on analytics and they may, in certain situations, produce roughly equivalent output. But that's about where their similarities end. READ MORE... Originally Posted July 12, 2016 … [Read more...]

Temporal Tables in SQL Server 2016

TEMPORAL TABLES IN SQL SERVER 2016 While temporal data support is something that has existed in the past within other database platforms, it is a newly available feature with the RTM version of SQL Server 2016. In case you haven't heard of temporal data values (or for some, "bitemporal"), here is a brief explanation. READ MORE... Originally Posted June 09, 2016 … [Read more...]

SQL Server on Linux – It’s No Joke

SQL SERVER ON LINUX – IT’S NO JOKE Many thought it was an early April Fool's Day prank, but it was no joke: On March 7, 2016, Microsoft announced the beta release of SQL Server on Linux with the intention of shipping a full release of the product in 2017. READ MORE... Originally Posted May 04, 2016 … [Read more...]

Announcing SQL Server 2017 Release Candidate

ANNOUNCING SQL SERVER 2017 RELEASE CANDIDATE 1 Microsoft announced the first release candidate (a.k.a. RC1) for SQL Server 2017 on Monday, July 17th. Release candidates are not a final and finished product, but they are feature complete. No new features are expected after Microsoft moves into the RC phase, only adding polish (for example, brushing up the documentation and UI) and performance to the existing feature set. The full product release is planned for some time in the second half of 2017. READ MORE... Originally Posted August 09, 2017 … [Read more...]

Microsoft on the Ascent on Business Intelligence and Data Science

MICROSOFT ON THE ASCENT IN BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE AND DATA SCIENCE Microsoft has been on a tear for the past couple of years. It has been pushing forward with a very steady stream of powerful new features and capabilities, even entire product lines, within its Data Platform business. But while Microsoft has been hard at work on this deluge of new technologies, it would be completely forgivable if you haven't noticed. The reason it's OK is that Microsoft is advancing on multiple fronts, both in the on-premises product line and even more dramatically with the Azure cloud-based products. READ … [Read more...]