Activities / Whitepapers / Events

PASS Summit & SQL Saturday Charlotte (BI Edition) 2013

PASS Summit & SQL Saturday Charlotte (BI Edition) 2013

October 11, 2013

In less than a week, I will be joining the biggest gathering of my #SqlFamily in my own place of residence – Charlotte, NC. The PASS Summit is easily the best conference for SQL Server professionals and is worth every single cent that you paid (or are thinking of paying). If you haven’t registered, make sure that you register for it now by following the link below- REGISTER NOW for PASS SUMMIT 2013 This year, we have also extended the #SqlFamily experience by conducting a SQL Saturday the day after PASS Summit in Charlotte. There is a balanced spread of BI, DBA as well as non-technical sessions and the schedule can be found here. So if you are here for the Summit, don’t forget to register for a FREE day of training and an extended experience with our #SqlFamily. The link to register is given below REGISTER NOW for SQL Saturday Charlotte (BI Edition) SQL Saturday Charlotte BI Edition 2013 And if you are at either one of the events, don’t forget to say a hi to me at any of the below places:- – Pretty much floating all around the place during the Summit (Oct 16 – 18). – Oct 16 – Room 202 A-B 10:15 – 11:30 AM : Visualizing John Snow’s Cholera Map Using Microsoft BI  – Oct 17 – Room 203 A – 1:30 – 2″:45 PM : Geospatial Analytics Using Microsoft BI – Oct 19 – Find me in the White Organizer shirt during SQL Saturday Charlotte BI edition Hope to see a lot of you pretty soon! Smile

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And I’m Speaking at the PASS Summit 2013!

And I’m Speaking at the PASS Summit 2013!

May 27, 2013

10 days back, I was attending the speaker dinner for SQL Saturday Atlanta when I got a mail with the subject line – PASS Summit 2013 – Call for Speakers Results. Speaking at the PASS Summit was one of my goals for this year and I had submitted three abstracts. Holding my breath, I opened up my mail and guess what?  SQLJason - I'm speaking at the PASS Summit 2013 Yes, I am speaking at the PASS Summit 2013!!! And to make it doubly sweeter, I got two of my sessions accepted. Being a business intelligence professional, it was hard for me to ignore the parallels between SQL Saturday Atlanta and the PASS Summit
I was speaking at SQL Saturday Atlanta for the first time and I will be speaking at the PASS Summit also for the first time
I submitted 3 session abstracts for SQL Saturday Atlanta as well as the PASS Summit 2013.
Both SQL Saturday Atlanta and PASS Summit selected two abstracts, the only ones from over 15+ events that I have done so far. PASS Summit is the world’s largest, most-focused, and most-intensive conference for Microsoft SQL Server and BI professionals. Organized by and for SQL Server and BI users, PASS Summit delivers the most technical sessions, the largest number of attendees, the best networking, and the highest-rated sessions and speakers of any SQL Server event in the world. For a SQL Server speaker, the PASS Summit is the mother of all events and every year, top speakers from all over the world submit abstracts for this annual event. To cut it short, I am honoured to be among the chosen ones for this year (although I am a little sad that some of my favourite speakers are not there in the list) and am extremely thankful to the abstract review team as well as PASS for choosing my sessions. Now that the sessions have been made public, feel free to visit this link to see the amazing line-up of speakers and sessions for the event. Also, if you haven’t registered for this event, it is still not late – Register for PASS Summit 2013. My session abstracts are given below

Geospatial Analytics Using Microsoft BI

Speaker(s)Jason Thomas Duration: 75 minutes Track: BI Information Delivery

In this age of Big Data, location matters more than many people imagine. Almost every set of data has some geographic information tied to it, and it’s all the more pertinent to understand and unravel the patterns and trends behind that data. This session will start by explaining why geospatial analytics is important in today’s world and then continue by exploring how we can share, analyze, and visualize data using the comprehensive Microsoft BI toolset, including Power View, GeoFlow, SQL Server Reporting Services, and more. The session will feature practical demos for each of these tools, during which we’ll work on some of the publicly available data sets to uncover some interesting facts.
Visualizing John Snow’s Cholera Map Using Microsoft BI

Speaker(s)Jason Thomas Duration: 75 minutes Track: BI Information Delivery

Back in 1854, London was developing into one of the world's first modern cities, although without the essential sanitary infrastructures. This along with the increase in population made it the perfect breeding ground for many diseases, such as cholera. Around the same time, physician John Snow explored the correlation between diseases and contaminated water supplies and came up with one of the most famous maps in history. Relive the adventure of John Snow as we follow his journey in this session using Microsoft BI tools. As we recreate his map, we’ll also talk about the  steps and best practices for exploring geospatial data.
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Ehh, What’s up, SqlJason?

Ehh, What’s up, SqlJason?

May 16, 2013

It’s been more than a month since the last post and you might be wondering – what’s up with SqlJason? Well, let me tell you that the last one month has been really busy and I thought of filling you guys in with some of the juicy stuff that’s been happening! Ehh, What’s up, SqlJason? 1) Speaking Events
Last year April was when I started my first speaking assignment in the USA and it was great to have so many different opportunities to present last year. This year April also turned out to be the starting month for my presentations, and I can’t believe that I already presented at five different places this month. Speaking events in April The PASS BA Conference was the first stop, and this was my first experiencing presenting in a big stage. Looks like it went good from the session evaluations (got a 4.6, my session ranks in the top 15 out of the 60+ sessions in the conference) Session Evals sorted by session ratings The attendance was also pretty decent, managed to pull in 98 people which is the highest I have ever got in any of my sessions. Session Evals sorted by attendance I had lots of fun with my #sqlfamily and also got to meet a lot of new people. Overall, a very fun experience and I am definitely going to attend PASS BA Conference next year. Next stop was SQL Saturday Chicago and this was just the next day after PASS BA Con. After all the partying and the awesome speaker dinner at the previous night, speaking was always going to be difficult task but luckily, everything including the demos went fine. I also got to see some great sessions by Mark V & Doug Lane, Julie Koesmarno, Leonard Murphy. In short, another great experience and a very well organized event. Next on the list was SQL Saturday Jacksonville which took place 2 weeks after the Chicago event. The Jacksonville event was one of my favourites from last year and it turned out to be even better this year as it was the first time all four of us CBIG buddies (me, Javier, Melissa and Rafael) got selected to speak at the same event. And I must say Jacksonville didn’t disappoint me, great crowd as usual and highly interactive (and very generous with the session evals too hehe). A couple of days later, I started off for my first user group speaking event of the year – Triad SQL BI User Group at Winston Salem. A big thanks to the user group leaders (Katherine Fraser and Doug Purnell) for giving me the opportunity, really enjoyed interacting with the user group members there. The next speaking event was the Carolina Code Camp 2013 which was in Charlotte itself (finally a home event! Open-mouthed smile). Unlike the other four events, the majority of the attendees was from a non-SQL Server background. So it was fun speaking to a different profile of attendees and I must say that this was one of those sessions where the attendees laughed at all of my jokes (either they got all of my jokes or were being REALLY nice with me Smile). I remember someone saying that event speaking is really addictive, I couldn’t agree more! Just to prove that, I have 2 more events coming up in the next week:- a) SQL Saturday Atlanta – I will be speaking on the topic “GeoSpatial Analytics using Microsoft BI” at 1 pm, this weekend. This is going to be another really great event with registrations hitting record levels for a SQL Saturday (800+ including waiting list). If you are coming for the event, definitely drop by and introduce yourself, I would love to meet you. b) Mariner Webinar – If you are not able to attend my session at SQL Saturday Atlanta, don’t worry. I am doing the same session (“GeoSpatial Analytics using Microsoft BI”) as a Webinar for my company – Mariner on May 21, 2013 12:00 PM-01:00 PM Eastern. You can register for this FREE event by clicking on this link – Click to Register  2) CBIG Updates As some of you recall, me and three others (Javier, Melissa and Rafael) started a new BI user group this year in Charlotte – CBIG. We are having a great run with attendees steadily increasing from 35 in the first meeting to 50+ in the last meeting (65 being the highest as of now). Even though five meetings are too early to call the user group a success, the popularity of CBIG is evident from the 87 registrations (including waiting list) we received in our fifth meeting (where our seating capacity is only 60). We had already moved from the initial meeting room after our second meeting (where our seating capacity was 30) and now, due to the increasing number of registrations, we are moving our venue from New Horizons to the Microsoft Campus (which has a seating capacity of 85) in July. That said, the numbers are secondary. The primary aim for us is to cultivate a culture in CBIG which mainly revolves around the community spirit as well as a passion for technology. If you are in or around Charlotte, don’t miss out on our user group meetings on the first Tuesdays of every month. We have got meetings lined up till September as of now and the RSVP links can be found at http://charbigroup.com/. Also, don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to speak at our user group, we are always looking for speakers! 3) SQL Saturday Charlotte – BI Edition Announced And yes, we have also announced the date for SQL Saturday Charlotte – BI Edition. The event will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2013 (which happens to be the Saturday after the PASS Summit 2013, which also is in Charlotte). The planning is going on full steam and we are confident that we will have a great event laid out for all of you guys. Ensure that you register today to extend your PASS Summit 2013 experience.   4) And now the BIG one – Personal Updates For those of you who know me personally, this might be old news. And for the others, you might recall me saying at the start of the year that I might not match up to my previous year’s activities this year due to personal reasons. Well, the personal reason is given below. Me & my wife with the baby bump Yups, I am going to be a father to a baby girl this August 12 and I have no shortage of adjectives to describe my condition right now – excited, anxious, nervous, hyperactive, charged and so on. I am looking forward to those sleepless nights and all the other joys that come with parenthood. For the moment, I am going to stop writing and enjoy a good night’s sleep when I can.

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I’m speaking at the PASS Business Analytics Conference

I’m speaking at the PASS Business Analytics Conference

January 23, 2013

The speaker lineup for the PASS Business Analytics Conference has been announced and I’m really excited to see my name in the list. In case you haven’t heard, PASS BA Conference is the premium conference for business analytics professionals. If you’re a business analyst, data scientist, architect, or BA/BI practitioner, you can’t afford to miss this conference. Attendees will be exposed to an unparalleled range of information about business analytics—with over 60 sessions to choose from—covering data discovery, data exploration and visualization, predictive analytics, content management and architecture, collaboration, information strategies, and much more. You can register for the conference by clicking on this link. PASS BA Conference I am speaking I am really honoured to be presenting along with such an impressive list of speakers. My session details are given below

GeoSpatial Analytics Using Microsoft BI

Speaker(s)Jason Thomas Duration: 60 minutes Track: Data Analytics and Visualization In this age of big data, location matters more than many people imagine. Almost every set of data has some geographic information tied to it, and it is all the more pertinent to understand and unravel the patterns and trends behind them. This session will start by explaining why GeoSpatial analytics is important in today’s world and then continue by exploring how we can share, analyze, and visualize data using the comprehensive Microsoft BI toolset, including Power View, GeoFlow, SQL Server Reporting Services, and more. The session will also feature practical demos for each of these tools, during which we will work on some of the publicly available datasets to uncover some interesting facts. Don’t forget to drop in and say a hi to me, in case you are attending the conference.

Posted by SQLJason, 2 comments
PASS Summit 2012 Hangover

PASS Summit 2012 Hangover

November 18, 2012

November has always been my favourite month of the year though I don’t really have a clear cut reason for that. Maybe it is because that my birthday falls in this month and I look forward to opening all those lovely gifts that I usually get. Or maybe because it is the time of the year when you get to see nature in her splendid fall colours and her transition to winter. Or could it be the simple reason that you get 50% off Halloween candy? (in case you didn’t know, I have a BIG sweet tooth) Anyways, I always look forward to November eagerly. Moreover, this year’s November was extra special –  I was going to attend my first PASS Summit. Summit2012_header_passlogo I started my baby steps in Microsoft BI six years back although I was blissfully ignorant of whatever community activities was happening then. I have always been an inquisitive mind (or a heckler, depends on whom you ask) and used to ask a lot of questions. Usually, my technical doubts were answered by the senior consultants in my company, and it was by chance that I got redirected to the MSDN forums (the truth is, they were tired of my constant questions). I think that was when I started getting cognizant of the SQL world and the community. I asked more questions, started recognizing the big names in the BI world, read more blogs by them and before I knew it, I was hooked onto this technology. I started answering questions in the forums apart from just asking them and I really enjoyed the kick that you get out of helping people. It also fuelled my personal growth and soon, I decided to share my learning by starting a blog. Fortunately for me, that was the time I moved to London, UK and I got a first real taste of user groups. I started attending the bi-annual SQLBits conference and it sort of inspired me to start speaking. However, I had never given a talk before (not even in my company) and my bouts of stage fright were legendary in my friend circles. But when you wish for something really hard, the entire universe conspires to make it happen. I decided to mail Chris Webb (Blog | Twitter) asking him if I could speak on one of the user groups and he set me up for my first talk (I don’t think I would have ever had the guts to ask again if I was rejected then). He also encouraged me to submit my abstract for SQLBits (which eventually got picked) and I slowly started getting a little more confident about public speaking. This was one of the many pushes forward that I got from my #sqlfamily (oh yes, that is what they are to me now, not just a community). When I moved to the US, I started submitting to the SQL Saturdays with the encouragement of many people in the community, and I am proud to say that the Washington DC one is going to be my 10th SQL Saturday this year (and this is apart from the user group, code camp and virtual chapter talks that I gave). For a person who would have his knees shake if he was standing and speaking in front of 4 people, this definitely was a big achievement and I have my #sqlfamily to thank for. For me, this cooperation and mutual encouragement was best epitomised in SQL Saturday New York City. I was the next speaker after Kevin Kline (Blog | Twitter) and just when I was setting up my laptop, I realized that I didn’t have my HDMI-to-VGA connector for projecting (and I could have sworn that I had checked it before leaving the speaker room, must have dropped it somewhere). I was totally freaked out – none in the speaker room had a converter and I had the demos only on my laptop. I was almost on the verge of cancelling my session. As a last try, I asked Kevin, who was on his way out, whether he could lend me his laptop so that I could try to use his laptop (which had a VGA port) for setting up a live meeting between mine and his laptops, and then projecting the demos from his laptop. Not only did he agree, but he came to my room to calm down my nerves, helped me in setting up the laptops and was throughout my side for the entire session. The session went great and I had lots of my attendees saying that it was really good. If it wasn’t for Kevin, I would have had an embarrassing situation and he saved my day (and to put things to perspective, he barely knew me!!!). I couldn’t even say thanks properly to him because he was already late for some other appointment and had too rush off. That is how selfless people in the #sqlfamily are and I really wanted to be a part of the biggest family reunion of the #sqlfamily – the PASS Summit. I reached Seattle on Tuesday afternoon and straightaway went to the Chapter Leaders meeting where we discussed on how we can make our user groups more effective. It was very useful to hear from other chapter leaders on how they are organizing their user groups in terms of finance, attendees, marketing, speakers, etc. I also made sure to attend the #sqlFirstTimers meeting where all of the first time attendees were given advice on how to network and make the most of the PASS Summit. PASS Photos1 Over the next three days, all the attendees were presented with a rich selection of sessions across all tracks and difficulty levels. I chose the Intermediate to Advanced topics for Business Intelligence and was truly happy with the results. It was great to attend sessions by Chris Webb, Marco Russo, Alberto Ferrari, Stacia Misner, Allan Folting & Akshai Mirchandani, Paul Turley, Melissa Coates, etc and I learned a lot from these great speakers. It was very difficult making a choice between all the great sessions and I hope to catch up with the rest of the sessions through the recordings. PASS Photos2 As I mentioned before, the PASS Summit was also a place to meet my #sqlfamily. There were a lot of people I had met over twitter and it was a fabulous opportunity to associate faces to those twitter handles. I was also able to reconnect with my friends from UK and India and it was so much like meeting your family again after a long interval. PASS Photos3 The various parties after the sessions kept me busy in the night too. It was awesome getting my first dose of #sqlkaraoke and I was up all the 4 nights – thanks to the Quizball event by SQL Sentry, Hard Rock Cafe event by Pragmatic Works, the Experience Music Project event by Microsoft and of course, the traditional #sqlkaraoke event at Bush Gardens. PASS Party Photos I also made sure to stay a couple of days after the event to explore the city as it was my first time in Seattle. I must say the weather gods took mercy on us and we had some nice sunshine, so unlike Seattle Smile. PASS Photos4 All in all, it was a great trip and it was hard to bid goodbye to the city when it all ended. People usually say that when you go somewhere with a lot of expectations, you usually end up with disappointment. However, the PASS Summit 2012 was above my expectations and I really savoured every moment of it. Guess it is time to end my long post. Hope to see all of you guys for the next PASS Summit, which will be held in the beautiful city of Charlotte. It will be much easier for me as I am based out of Charlotte and I will be there to welcome all of you guys to our annual family reunion!

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SQL Saturday Charlotte Journal

SQL Saturday Charlotte Journal

November 6, 2012

Was it fun? Oh yeah, it was. Was it perfect? Hmm, maybe not. But was it awesome? Definitely yes! Let me tell you, it was an amazing experience being a part of the whole process. SQL Saturday Charlotte was my 9th SQL Saturday of this year, but there was a big difference from the other ones – this time, I was wearing the Organizer hat and not the Speaker hat. logo1 It all started around March of this year when me and Javier Guillen (blog | twitter) were seriously contemplating on starting a BI user group in Charlotte. We pulled in our common friend, Melissa Coates (blog | twitter) to this plan and she in turn informed us that Rafael Salas (blog | twitter) was also trying to do the same. We joined forces and this marked the start of the evening #BeerAndBI rituals, where we started to come up with ideas and plans to start our new user group. Beer and BI In one of those sober (?) rituals, the SQL Saturday idea was introduced and then there was no turning back from there. We informed Karla Landrum (twitter) of our intentions and she was extremely supportive. We started with checking venues around June, and I must say we were really lucky to have Alberto Botero of Central Piedmont Community College as our friend. He acted as a bridge between the college and us, and ensured we had a venue to start off with. We confirmed the dates for SQL Saturday with Karla by June end and started our preparations. Having a big team has its own advantages, it was easier to split tasks without over-burdening anyone. Rafael was in charge of the sponsors and food section, Javier was in charge of finance and venue related section, Melissa was in charge of social media, website, emails, general coordination, etc and me in charge of recruiting speakers and making the schedule. Even though we were assigned specific tasks, it was great to see everyone pooling in their efforts wherever they could. We also got Shannon Lowder (blog | twitter) to help us coordinate all the volunteers. And when the day finally came for setting up the venue on the day before, there were lot of unforgettable moments, for example stuffing the bags on the eve of the event with Javier, Rafael setting off the fire alarm when we were already running late for the speaker dinner, setting up the tables and the cute little raffle boxes made by Melissa, last minute printing with the help of Shannon’s iPhone, etc. The speaker dinner was well attended and was fabulous, we even managed to have a few shots before we left. Event pics On the D-day, we reached the venue around 6:45 am in the morning and from that time on till the afternoon, we were so busy that we couldn’t even speak much with each other. I was always of the mentality that we had planned more than necessary and things will flow pretty easily during the event. I couldn’t have been more wrong and it really took a lot of effort from our as well as our volunteers’ side to make sure everything went well. This made me appreciate the great work done by all our volunteers and organizers of past SQL Saturdays all the more. At the end of the day, it felt great to hear all the positive responses about the event from our attendees. A big thanks to all our sponsors, speakers and volunteers who made this possible. Some of the volunteers of #sqlsat174 It was fun and although it took me around a week to recover completely, I sort of miss all the madness involved in planning a SQL Saturday right now. Anyways, I am sure there will be much more to it with the start of the new BI group in Charlotte. CBIG Time to pack up my bags for the PASS Summit and reward myself with a relaxing week at Seattle!

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PowerPivot Training

PowerPivot Training

May 25, 2012

A quick word to all those guys in the USA who are looking to get trained in PowerPivot. PowerPivot is the buzz word in the industry right now and companies are drawn to it like bees to nectar because of it’s in-memory and self-service BI capabilities. My company, Mariner in partnership with SQLBI are offering PowerPivot workshops and you can find more details in the flyer below. Feel free to reach out to me in case you have any questions.

Forward to a friend | Visit our website | View as  a webpage  
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PowerPivot Training
PowerPivot Training Comes to NC!
 
    Public Course Now Available
 
padBe a PowerPivot Power User
In 2 days, learn the basics concepts and progress to complex data models and DAX formulas. At the end of the training, you will know how to use PowerPivot in the real world.  Download the workshop outline.

Ideal for Business & Data Analysts, IT Pros
It is designed for people like you eager to use PowerPivot’s full capabilities. You’ll learn the concepts and techniques needed to implement PowerPivot and make critical business decisions using the most popular BI tool on the planet, Excel.

Learn from Leaders
In partnership with SQLBI, Mariner offers PowerPivot workshops in the southeastern US.  Offered on-site at your location or at these new public venues.  Mariner is the exclusive provider of the PowerPivot Workshop in the southeastern US

Register by June 13, 2012 to guarantee your seat.

Mariner is 1 of just 2 companies in the US with access to the training materials developed by PowerPivot gurus and authors, Alberto Ferrari and Mark Russo.  This exclusive partnership enables us to run these workshops for you.

 
    Details
Price
$1,300 per student
includes workshop and training manual

Date & Time
June 18 & 19, 20128:30am-5:00pm
(with an hour for lunch)Location Aloft Hotel-Ballantyne 13139 Ballantyne Corp Pl
Charlotte, NC
Get directions

Prefer another city?
 Let us know!

 
    Your Trainer, Javier Guillén
 
Javier is a Business Intelligence Specialist (MCTS / MCITP SQL Server 2008 BI) at Mariner, dedicated to helping people maximize SSAS & PowerPivot (including MDX and DAX). A Microsoft Community Contributor, you may have seen him speak at PASS events and most recently at Carolina Code Camp.  Check out his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
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    About Us
For more than a decade, Mariner has been helping clients leverage their data – from any data source to any device – through the use of business intelligence, analytics, data warehousing, business scorecards and performance management dashboards. Mariner serves clients in a variety of industries including utility, healthcare, education, media and manufacturing sectors. Singularly focused on providing analytic solutions, we help business people organize, use, analyze and share data to improve sales, customer service, logistics, productivity and financial insight. Mariner is a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner with competencies in Business Intelligence and Data Platform. Mariner-Insight to Achieve. www.mariner-usa.com
 
Copyright  2012 Mariner All Rights Reserved.
2719 Coltsgate Road | Charlotte | NC 28211 |info@mariner-usa.com

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Posted by SQLJason, 4 comments
SQLBits 9 – Hangover

SQLBits 9 – Hangover

October 6, 2011

At the time of writing this post, I can see yellow leaves falling to the pavements and feel the cold breeze kissing my cheeks. No matter how hard I try to resist it, reality is dawning on me that the summer has gone by and that the winter is finally settling in (yeah, I know some of you might argue that we never had a summer. After all, it’s been the coldest summer in 18 years). Can’t believe that it was only a week before many of us were sweating in the big halls of the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. Oh sheesh, I did it again! I tried to avoid it but just like the winter, here comes the familiar feeling of hangover. SQLBitsLogo
This was my third SQLBits and like always, I had been counting down the days from the time SQLBits was announced. Well, this time I had an additional reason – I was presenting a session at SQLBits. More than that, I had also got a free entry on Friday because I was a speaker (now that calls for a big HURRAY!). Even a loss of pay on Friday couldn’t deter me from attending the conference on Friday (I had already exhausted my annual leaves for my wedding in JulySad smile) and I reached there right in time for the keynote. Even though the agenda suggested that I would be seeing cloned versions of Steve Tramack in both the Aintree and Lancaster halls using the latest Microsoft & HP technologies (check the agenda here), all I got to see was a bigger room with the wall removed and one Steve Tramack. Or wait, I thought I saw two people on the stage and it definitely wasn’t two Steves. Being a victim of the hardships involved in installing and configuring SharePoint myself, I totally appreciated the idea and thought behind the HP Fast Track Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server. The best part is that you can configure a system within a couple of hours what would have definitely taken some weeks. Overall, it was a brilliant start to SQLBits. SQLBits Keynote After that, I went to Matt Masson’s (twitter | blog) session on ‘What’s New in SQL Server Denali for SSIS’. The Facebook social life manager demo was really cool and unique, and also had a peek at many of the new features of SSIS. Matt Mason on SSIS DenaliMatt Mason on SSIS Denali Next on my list was ‘Basic BISM’ by Chris Webb (blog). This was an introductory session on Business Intelligence Semantic Model and was extremely helpful to people like me who were more or less on the start of the learning curve. Chris also touched upon the advantages and disadvantages of the tabular mode in this session. Chris Webb on BISMChris Webb on BISM Then I went for the ‘Myths and Monster of Flash’ session by Fusion-IO where Steve Wharton (twitter | blog) presented some of the characteristics and mechanics of the NAND flash. Steve Wharton - Fusion io Later I spent some time walking around the stalls and talking with the exhibitors. It was so interesting and informative at the same time that I actually spent a lot more time than I intended to and missed the next session as a result. SQLBits exhibitor space The next session was one of my most awaited ones – ‘iPad and Powerpivot-Mobile Business Intelligence in action’ by Jennifer Stirrup (twitter | blog). I had been planning to catch hold of Jen’s sessions for a long time and finally made it this time. Not to say, I had a great time learning about mobile BI and some of the best practices in visualizations. IMG_0103IMG_0104 One of the other things I was really looking forward to was meeting Hrvoje (twitter | blog) and Tomislav Piasevoli (twitter | blog) who were coming down to SQLBIts all the way from Croatia. So after the sessions, I met up with the Piasevoli brothers and we headed to the Cavern Pub for washing down our throats. Had an extremely great time with them as is evident from all the photographs. Tomislav, me and Hrvoje at Cavern Pub We were keeping a tab on the time as we did not want to be late for the much anticipated event of the night – James Bond Casino Night. It really was a great experience walking in to the hall which had now transformed into a casino with games modeled after the ones seen on Slotsformoney.com and we started gambling with the fake money provided to us. Most of the people were appropriately dressed in their James Bond attires also, which made the experience even better. I am sure all of us would have left the place declaring this as the best post event party in SQLBits till date. SQLBits James Bond Casino Night The next day, I had to wake up at an unearthly hour as I had to rush for my 8.10 am session on ‘Fast Track to Spatial Reporting’. The demo material for my session are available for download here. Got a few pics of my session too, thanks to Tomislav. Jason on Spatial ReportingJason on Spatial Reporting The next three sessions I attended was definitely the highlight for many in this version of SQLBits. The first of the series was ‘Building Great Models for Crescent’ by Kasper Jonge (twitter | blog). His session was jam packed with demos and being a reporting person myself, it was really nice to watch all the new features in Crescent. Kasper Jonge on CrescentKasper Jonge on Crescent The next of the series was ‘Vertipaq vs. OLAP: Change your Data Modelling Approach’ by Marco Russo (twitter | blog). Most of the perceptions that I had built about data-modelling was challenged and I was forced to see them in a new light when I am modelling in Vertipaq. DSC_0138IMG_0111 Alberto Ferrari (twitter | blog) was next on the stage with ‘Many-to-Many Relationships in DAX’ and I was seriously amazed at how he presented such a complex topic in such an easily understandable format. This was one of the moments where I wished if only I had such people as my professors when I was studying in my University. DSC_0144IMG_0115 I checked in to the ‘Lightning Talks’ soon after, something which I wanted to do in last time’s SQLBits itself but couldn’t because it was clashing with another session. It was great to see the likes of Kasper Jonge, Martin Newman, Andrew Fryer, Richard Douglas, Ed Vassie, Neil Hambly and Tobiasz Koprowski share the same stage. IMG_0117IMG_0118 The last session of the day was kept aside for Duncan Sutcliffe’s (twitter | blog) session on ‘Kerberos-All You Need to Know in One Hour’. As usual, Duncan just blew everyone apart with his unique presentation style and all in all, it was one of the most comprehensive sessions on Kerberos that I have seen. IMG_0119 Soon we had the customary post event party and lots of prizes were announced from Kindles to Xboxes. A big thanks to all the sponsors without whom SQLBits would not have been possible. Sponsors Also a moment thanking all the guys behind this – Simon Sabin, Christian Bolton, James Rowland-Jones, Martin Bell, Darren Green, Chris Webb, Allan Mitchell, Tim Kent, Chris Testa-O’Neill and all the helpers. A big, BIG, BIG thanks to all of you guys. Once the party was over, all that was left for us to do was to reminisce the last two three days and wait eagerly for the next version of SQLBits. Well, myself, Hrvoje, Tomislav and Kasper also found something else to do while reminiscing Winking smile, see below for a hint. Jason, Kasper, Hrvoje and Tomislav As for the winter, I would like to borrow a few lines from Percy Shelley – If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Posted by SQLJason, 3 comments
SQL Server BI Quiz 2011 & The Analysis Services 2008 R2 Operations Guide

SQL Server BI Quiz 2011 & The Analysis Services 2008 R2 Operations Guide

May 31, 2011

June is the month which has the longest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. So all you guys in this half of the world, its time to make use of the extra daylight and try to win yourself an Ipad. Yes, BeyondRelational is back with their next edition of quiz – SQL Server BI Quiz 2011SQL Server BI Quiz 2011As usual, BeyondRelational has coordinated with 30 Microsoft MVPs / experts and come up with this SQL Server BI feast for all you guys. You get to answer questions from some of the best SQL BI brains out there – every day of the month. And oh, in case you didn’t notice, I have also put together something for you on June 17. Hope to see a lot of you answering them. Now people in the southern half of the world, you don’t need to sulk, this is open for you guys too SmileAnother useful way to spend your extra time would be to go through the Analysis Services 2008 R2 Operations Guide. A must read for every SSAS enthusiast out there, this has been written by Denny Lee, John Sirmon and Thomas Kejser. If this isn’t enough to make your mouth water, just check out the long list of contributors in the article. image

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SQLBits 8 – Hangover

SQLBits 8 – Hangover

April 14, 2011

Yups, 10 days have passed since I attended the SQLBits by the Seaside, and I am yet to recover from the hangover. And nopes, I am not talking of the hangover from the beer I drank (though I must admit I did guzzle down a few too many, thanks to all the wonderful sponsors who were way too generous handing out free coupons). SQLBitsLogo I had become a big fan of the SQLBits conferences, ever since I attended the last one in York. But this time, I was even more excited because it was going to be held in Brighton. Sunny forecasts and the prospect of lunch at the beach just made me count down the days till April 3. In a sadistic sort of way, I was even more pleased with myself on registering pretty early because many people could not get it done on account of the registration being fully booked. In fact, I had to use some native Indian yoga tricks to restrain myself from flaunting it off in front of my poor colleagues who couldn’t get a reservation. Due to work reasons, I had only gone for the free community day sessions on Saturday. I reached Brighton by 8.55am and straightaway jumped into Marco Russo’s (blog | twitter) session on Analysis Services Advanced Best Practices. IMG_0043IMG_0044 Even though it was a level 400 session, Marco explained the concepts in a very simple way so that everyone could understand and the session was pretty captivating. In the end, I took away some very nice design related tips for SSAS dimensions for scenarios like SCD type 2, parent-child, etc. Next I went for John Stevens-Taylor’s (blog | twitter) session on Data Modelling for a Flexible Cube. The room was so jam packed with people that I had to stand at the back and even then, people were pouring in. Since I had sprained my ankle the other day, I couldn’t stand for long and I came out rueing on not coming early to the room. This feeling was compounded when I came to hear the amazing feedback on the session. After that, I was double minded on whether to go for the SQL Product Team Panel session by the SQL CAT Team or for Vincent Rainardi’s (blog) session on Advanced Dimensional Modelling. I decided to go for Vincent’s session and had a very enriching time there learning about  Fact Table Primary Key, Vertical Fact Tables, Aggregate Fact Tables, SCD Type 6, Snapshotting Transaction Fact Tables, Dealing with Currency Rates, When to Snowflake, etc. IMG_0049IMG_0048 Soon after the session, I was able to materialize my dream of having lunch at the Brighton beach side, soaking up the warm sun and watching the surfs getting washed up the shore (ok, I admit, and some hot chicks in bikinis Flirt male) The next one I attended was Jamie Thomson’s (blog | twitter) session on SSIS Dataflow Performance Tuning. Though I am more of a SSAS/SSRS person than SSIS, I just couldn’t stop myself from attending Jamie’s session, I had attended one of his sessions in a Local User Group meeting, and have remained a big fan of his presentations after that. IMG_0050IMG_0051 His session was heavily based on demos which made it very interesting and I had some great takeaways from his session on performance tuning and execution trees. Next on my list was Alex Whittles’ (blog | twitter) session on Automating SSAS cube documentation using SSRS, DMV and Spatial Data. Now if you are one of those who follow the SQL world in twitter, you would be already aware of the ‘Spatial Art’ tweets being passed around by Alex, Alastair (blog | twitter) and Simon (blog | twitter). This got me hooked and I was waiting for the session to actually see it live. IMG_0053IMG_0054 Alex’s slides were so beautifully done and I was so much in awe of his presentation skills. The topic was like a breath of fresh air and to top it all, I won a book on Microsoft SQL Azure during his session. Soon we had the customary post event party and lots of prizes were announced from 50” plasma TV to Xboxes. Everyone I spoke to had lots of fun and a big thanks to all the sponsors without whom it would not have been possible. Sponsors A special mention for Fusion-IO for successfully conducting the Crappy Code Games in Manchester, London and Brighton, was really an awesome event. Totally loved it! (Click here to read my London experience). Now this post would not be complete without thanking the people behind it – Simon Sabin, Christian Bolton, James Rowland-Jones, Martin Bell, Darren Green, Chris Webb, Allan Mitchell, Tim Kent and Chris Testa-O’Neill. A big, BIG, BIG thanks to all of you guys. Now for those who missed SQLBits 8 (and those who are still in the hangover like me), what better way to relive the experience than Jamie’s videos. Catch them right here – Reflections on SQLBits 8

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