Documents & Diagrams:
Presentation Info & Slides:
Architecting a Data Lake to Modernize Your Data Warehouse
This full-day session will focus on principles for designing and implementing a data lake. There will be a mix of concepts, lessons learned, and technical implementation details. This session is approximately 70% demonstrations: we will create a data lake, populate it, organize it, query it, and integrate it with a relational database via logical constructs. You will leave this session with an understanding of the benefits and challenges of a multi-platform analytics/DW/BI environment, as well as recommendations for how to get started.
Target audience: Technologists who are considering using a data lake. No data lake experience is required. Familiarity with a relational database such as SQL Server is suggested, as some of the scenarios discussed will focus on integrating a data lake with a relational data warehouse.
You will learn in this session:
Scenarios and use cases for expanding an analytics/DW/BI environment into a multi-platform environment which includes a data lake
Strengths and limitations of a logical data architecture which follows a polyglot persistence strategy
Planning considerations for a data lake which supports streaming data as well as batch data processing
Methods for organizing a data lake which focuses on optimal data retrieval and data security
Techniques for speeding up development and refining user requirements via data virtualization and federated query approaches
Benefits and challenges of schema-on-read vs. schema-on-write approaches for data integration and on-demand querying needs
Deciding between Azure Blob Storage vs. Azure Data Lake Store vs. a relational platform
Specific technologies discussed and/or demonstrated in this session include:
Azure Data Lake Store
Azure Data Lake Analytics
Azure SQL Data Warehouse
Azure Blob Storage
If you have an Azure account and your own laptop, you will be able to follow along during the demonstrations if you'd like. Demo scripts will be provided with the workshop materials.
- Pre-Conference Session at SQL Saturday, Washington DC - December 8, 2017
- Pre-Conference Session at SQL Saturday, Charlotte, NC - October 13, 2017
Tips for Getting Started with the Azure Data Platform
This session is packed with practical tips and lessons learned about using Azure as a database platform. You will learn the fundamentals about how Azure is structured to help you make architectural decisions. Ideas will be shared for planning resource groups, naming conventions, and the separation of Dev, Test, and Prod. We will discuss database platform options, data storage options, and why PowerShell and ARM are so important to deployment scenarios.
Target Audience: Database developers and DBAs who are looking for a primer on the Azure platform.
- Boston SQL Saturday BI Edition, Boston, MA - September 23, 2017
Designing a Modern Data Warehouse + Data Lake
Join us for a discussion of strategies and architecture options for implementing a modern data warehousing environment. We will explore advantages of augmenting an existing data warehouse investment with a data lake, and ideas for organizing the data lake for optimal data retrieval. We will also look at situations when federated queries are appropriate for employing data virtualization, and how federated queries work with SQL Server, Azure SQL DB, Azure SQL DW, Azure Data Lake, and/or Azure Blob Storage.
Level: This is an intermediate session suitable for attendees who are familiar with data warehousing fundamentals.
Slides: Designing a Modern DW + Data Lake <--Slides last updated March 2017
Fundamentals of Designing a Data Warehouse
In this session we will review sensible techniques for developing a data warehousing environment which is relevant, agile, and extensible. We will cover practical dimensional modeling fundamentals and design patterns, along with when to use techniques such as partitioning or clustered columnstore indexes in SQL Server. We'll also review tips for using a database project in SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) effectively. The session will conclude with tips for planning the future growth of your data warehouse.
Level: This is an introductory session best suited to attendees who are new to data warehousing concepts.
Slides: Fundamentals of Designing a DW <--Slides last updated February 2017
Building Blocks of Cortana Intelligence Suite in Azure
Join us for a practical look at the components of Cortana Intelligence Suite for information management, data storage, analytics, and visualization. Purpose, capabilities, and use cases for each component of the suite will be discussed. If you are a technology professional who is involved with delivering business intelligence, analytics, data warehousing, or big data utilizing Azure services, this technical overview will help you gain familiarity with the components of Cortana Intelligence Suite and its potential for delivering value.
Level: A fast-moving introductory session
Target Audience: Technology professionals seeking to gain a high level understanding of the capabilities of the Cortana Intelligence Suite
Slides: Building Blocks of Cortana Intelligence Suite <--Slides last updated April 2017
- Azure Bootcamp, Charlotte, NC - April 22, 2017
- SQLBits 16, Telford, England - April 8, 2017
- PASS Cloud Virtual Chapter - Sept 28, 2016
- SQL Saturday, Charlotte, NC - Sept 17, 2016
- SQL Saturday, Spartanburg, SC - Aug 20, 2016
- Hampton Roads SQL Server User Group, Virginia Beach, VA - July 20, 2016
- Charlotte Microsoft Cloud Meetup Group, Charlotte, NC - July 14, 2016
- Carolina IT Professionals Group (CITPG), Charlotte, NC - June 20, 2016
- Charlotte BI Group (CBIG), Charlotte, NC - June 7, 2016
- SQL Saturday, Atlanta, GA - May 21, 2016
Tales from Building a SQL Server Data Warehouse in Azure
In this session, we share our experiences and lessons learned from a recent migration to Azure for a SQL Server data warehousing environment. We begin with sharing our reasoning for IaaS vs. PaaS, our carefully-selected naming conventions, and how we structured development, test, and production within subscriptions and resource groups. We cover the what, why, and how for decisions around storage, encryption, and backups. Finally, the session wraps up with a brief discussion of the use of Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates and PowerShell, as well as techniques for monitoring the environment in Azure.
Level: A fast-moving introductory session
Slides: Tales from Building a SQL Server DW in Azure <--Slides last updated August 2017
Target Audience: Technology professionals responsible for creating and managing resources in Azure
Power BI: Architecture, Integration Points, Implementation Options
In this session we will review Power BI implementation approaches, architecture, delivery options, authoring tools, data access methods, data refresh options, security, as well as functionality for sharing and distributing content. Components of cloud, on-premises, and hybrid approaches will be explored. We will conclude with the concept of "Bimodal BI" with use cases for how Power BI might be utilized for both self-service BI and certain corporate BI initiatives.
Level: A fast-moving introductory session
Target Audience: Technology professionals seeking to understand the system components
Slides: Power BI: Architecture, Integration Points, Implementation Options <--slides last updated March 27, 2016
- Triad SQL Server Users Group, Greensboro, NC - March 2016
- Developers Guild, Charlotte, NC - Feb 23, 2016
- SQL Saturday, Atlanta, GA - Jan 9, 2016
- SQL Saturday, Charlotte - Oct 17, 2015
- SQL Saturday, Kansas City, MO - Oct 2, 2015
- Midlands PASS Chapter, Columbia, SC - June 11, 2015
- SQL Saturday, Atlanta, GA - May 16, 2015
- MVP Virtual Conference - May 14, 2015
- Charlotte BI Group (CBIG), Charlotte, NC - Feb 3, 2015
- Carolina IT Professionals Group (CITPG), Charlotte, NC - Jan 13, 2015
This session has evolved and was previously known as Power BI: Architecture, Use Cases, Strengths, and Shortcomings
Administering and Managing the Power BI Environment (V1 - Power BI for Office 365)
Power BI for Office 365 is Microsoft's new self-service BI offering. Just because it emphasizes self-service doesn't mean a system administrator isn't an important role! In this session we will discuss the overall system components and how a Power BI site in SharePoint Online differs from an on-premises SharePoint BI site. We will walk through how to best handle setting up connectivity to data sources, when a gateway is needed, and what data refresh capabilities exist. We will also consider how and when to create OData feeds from your corporate on-premises data sources and how those OData feeds affect Enterprise Data Search functionality.
Level: A fast-moving introductory session
Slides: Administering & Managing the Power BI Environment <--Applicable to V1 (Power BI for Office 365) which is now deprecated
Power BI Architecture & Functionality in SharePoint Online (V1 - Power BI for Office 365)
Power BI for Office 365 is Microsoft's new business intelligence offering which utilizes SharePoint Online and Office functionality. In this session we will discuss and demonstrate the key components of this hybrid cloud environment and what the prerequisites are for a Power BI site. Some key differences between a Power BI site in SharePoint Online versus a SharePoint BI site will be explored. We will conclude with a review of data connectivity options to be aware of.
Slides: Power BI Architecture & Functionality in SharePoint Online <--Applicable to V1 (Power BI for Office 365) which is now deprecated
- SharePoint Saturday, Charlotte, NC - 9/20/2014
Maximizing the Data Exploration Capabilities of Power View
Description: Would business users in your organization love to get their hands on an interactive, visually-oriented, data exploration tool? If so, Power View may be a useful addition to your BI environment to handle certain types of self-service reporting requirements. In this session we will demonstrate the features and functionality of Power View including highlighting, cross-filtering, play axis, small multiples, tiles, cards, maps, filtering, and exporting.
We will identify which situations Power View is most suited for, as well as its strengths and limitations. Capabilities in SharePoint 2010/2013 vs. Excel 2013 will be reviewed, as well as restrictions on types of data sources allowed. We will also discuss how to prepare a dataset in order to maximize the usability and functionality of Power View.
The Lifecycle of a Reporting Services Report
Description: In this session we will discuss various tips and best practices as we follow a report through its lifecycle via an end-to-end demo. Beginning with a discussion of requirements and useful templates, we will progress to a review of good report development and standardization practices, followed by suggestions for testing and validation. Next we will consider alternatives for deployment, report delivery, and handling ongoing enhancements and bug fixes. The lifecycle will wrap up with a discussion of maintenance and administration of the reporting environment.
Slides: Lifecycle of a SSRS Report
- New Zealand Business Intelligence User Group, Webcast - 11/29/2013
Tools and Techniques for Implementing Corporate and Self-Service BI
Description: Business Intelligence requirements frequently change and having only a Corporate BI solution can result in slower delivery cycles and information backlogs. Yet the introduction of Self-Service BI introduces challenges around governance, change management, standardization, training, support, and access to unregulated data sources. In this session we will consider the benefits, obstacles, and techniques for integrating Self-Service and Corporate BI. Demonstrations of Microsoft BI tools will include Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, Power Map, Excel, and SharePoint 2013.
- Triad SQL BI User Group, Winston-Salem, NC - 6/25/2013
So You Want To Be a Rockstar Report Developer?
Description: You don't want to settle for being an average report developer, right? In this session we'll walk through an end-to-end demo as we discuss various development, standardization, deployment, and documentation practices that will make your SSRS development life easier, your output of higher quality, increase maintainability, and ultimately save you time. Audience participation and sharing of experiences is encouraged as we cover choices you have for datasets, sorting, grouping, filtering, calculations, parameters, deployment, and delivery. This session focuses primarily on SQL Server Reporting Services 2012, although some concepts may apply to other BI tools as well.
Managing the "Power Pivot for SharePoint" Environment
Description: In this session we will discuss management of data models and reports stored in the Power Pivot Gallery document library. Data Refresh and security considerations will be reviewed in depth. The relational and SSAS databases present in a Power Pivot for SharePoint environment will be introduced, as well as options for reporting on usage and other key metrics. This session, which is applicable to SharePoint 2010 and 2013, will help you become prepared to tackle the support aspects of a Power Pivot for SharePoint environment.
Managed Self-Service BI
Traditional Business Intelligence is changing … you heard about the ambitious data analyst down the hall who created a mashup of data from the internal data warehouse + Excel + an Azure feed? Empowering knowledge workers is Microsoft's vision of delivering "BI for the Masses." In this session we will dismiss the hype & examine how this new world of "Managed Self-Service BI" complements Corporate BI in SQL Server 2012 and SharePoint 2010/2013.
- Provide overview of each Self-Service component and expectations for its use: PowerPivot | Excel Services | Power View | Report Builder
- Discuss techniques to successfully monitor, secure, & manage the Self-Service BI environment
Slides: Managed Self-Service BI
- Triangle SQL Server User Group, Raleigh, NC - 1/15/2013
- PASS Summit, Seattle, WA - 11/7/2012
- SQL Server Innovators Guild, Greenville, SC - 8/7/2012
- PASS Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Virtual Chapter - 7/12/2012
- SQL Rally, Dallas, TX - 5/10/2012
- Carolina Code Camp, Charlotte, NC - 5/5/2012
- SQL Saturday #111, Atlanta, GA - 4/14/2012
- Midlands PASS Chapter, Columbia, SC - 4/10/2012
Dashboards...How To Choose Which MSBI Tool?
Description: The Microsoft Business Intelligence (MSBI) stack has a few choices for visualization. We will explore options, flexibility, limitations, and ease of use for creating dashboards & scorecards with:
- PerformancePoint Services 2010
- Reporting Services 2008 R2
- SharePoint Server 2010
- Power View
This session will be a fun one! We will compare and contrast options available in each tool, such as: charts, gauges, maps, indicators, sparklines, data bars, and decomposition trees.
- Examine strengths of each tool related to meeting data visualization requirements
- Compare and contrast common visualization options available in each tool
- Conclude when you might choose one tool in the Microsoft BI stack versus another
Companion Document: MSBI Visualization Comparisons By Tool