Wednesday, February 28, 2018

PASS Summit 2018 – Call for Speakers

It is that time again. PASS has opened the Call for Speakers. I have submitted for the past 10 years, and have been selected the past 7 years. This was such an important milestone in my career to be selected and then to present. Making sure I know what I am talking about and present in a meaningful way has increased my understanding of SQL Server and other data platform tools.


After you login, you have to fill out the profile of yourself. It really helps to list as much of the previous speaking you have done. This helps with I am sure the speaker ratings. Speaker ratings is one of the measures to be selected.

This is a time where I can review the speaking opportunities I took advantage of in the previous year.


It all started with the Database Normalization talk in 2010. Wow!!!

Please go through the definitions to understand the “rules” and sign the speaker agreement and get started.


It is time to Connect, Share and Learn!!!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Speaking at Summit

For the last 7 years, I have been speaking at the PASS Summit. This event is usually in Seattle, but one year it was in Denver (did not speak at this one) and one year Charlotte, NC. It is hard to explain everything that goes on during that week because there is too much to mention. It really depends on the intention of the attendee on what he/she wants to do during the week. You cannot do everything.

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For a speaker like me, I have to spend the majority of the time making sure I provide value for the session(s) I will be giving. In the mean time, I try to catch at least one of session each day, spend time in the community zone and network with other attendees. On Tuesday, I might be in the User Group, SQLSaturday or Virtual Chapter get together. At night, just pick something.

So, lets go through some of these items.

Attending other sessions

My first goal with attending others sessions is to learn something new or expand on a subject and bring this back to the office. I try to implement this within the first month. The second goal is to implement a different skill or best practice within the next 3 months. If I get that done (which happens occasionaly) then I can go to the 3rd lesson learned.

Community Zone

If you are not familar with this area of the Summit, just look for the bean bags. Here is usually where I find other people I have meet at a SQLSaturday, a local User Group or while hosting a Virtual Chapter or 24 Hours of PASS session. These opportunites to talk with other experts in the Microsoft Data Platform community give me contacts when I have questions.


This is real simple. I eat breakfast and lunch everyday at the convention center and just pick a random table and start conversations. There is not much effort to this because I have to eat. This is usually an hour twice a day to meet others. There is even a Birds of a Feather lunch for sitting at a table for a specific topic.

So, why am i talking about this stuff. Not to get you to attend, but for you to submit to speak at the PASS Summit. Please watch and the newsletter for an annoucement about session submissions. If you want to send your abstract to me for review, I will be more than happy to help. Why? becuase a couple of speakers helped me in the beginning.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

VSLive 2018 Austin, TX

VSLive events are nice conferences to get a wide range of topics from .Net to mobile development to the data platform. It looks like they have added some Hands-on Labs on Friday in addtion to the Workshops on Monday. Regular sessions are Tuesday thru Thursday. The hotel is in downtown Austin, so it is easy to walk around before or after sessions.


The VSLive events are in Austin, Las Vegas, Boston, Redmond, Chicago, San Diego and then the big Live! 360 Event is in Orlando. I have spoken at Live! 360 the past 3 years, and looking forward to returning this year. The variety of sessions are great to slum around learning different topics. The code ATSPK15 can be used to get $400 off 4-day registration.


The Austin event is a new one for me. I have 2 session for developers: Power BI for Dev and Reading Execution Plans. I am really surprised at the number of attendees in the Execution Plan session. I did one similar at SQLSaturday Orlando and had 50-60 attendees.


Amplify your knowledge at Visual Studio Live! Austin — bring the issues that keep you up at night and prepare to leave this event with the answers, guidance and training you need.  Register now:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Resources from the PASS community this coming month

Even though it is December, I noticed a lot going on for FREE in the PASS Microsoft Data Technology community. The first interesting one is a PASS Marathon: Linux!!! Here is the link. Never thought I would see something like this related to PASS. But it is here, so take advantage of it.


As with all PASS marathons or 24 Hours of PASS events, they are recorded and you can watch later.


The other events center around SQLSaturday and Virtual Chapters.

SQLSaturday has events this coming month or 2 in Montevideo, Lima, Slovenia, Providence, Washington DC, Nepal, Malaysia and Nashville. SQLSaturday are free events on a Saturday (though I have seen one on Friday) and you can interact with speakers and attendees.


The Virtual Chapters are online and feature a wide ranges of topics like Azure Automation, Containers and Clones, SQL Server 2017 Deep Dive, etc. by speakers Taiob Ali, Paul Stanton and Bob Ward.


One of the slides in the decks for PASS Summit encourages attendees to get all you can from this community. Whether it is networking, learning or volunteering, there is always something to keep you busy in the world of Data with Microsoft technologies. Please jump in. I did!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

IT Dev Connections 2017

The IT Dev Connections conference was in San Francisco, CA this week. While I did not spend any time as a tourist, I did mingle with attendees and speakers. It was nice to sit with Grant, Andrew, Mindy, Kevin, Tim, Monica, Daniel and Meagan for dinner Monday night.

IT/Dev Connections

I attended a workshop on Friday about Azure. The speaker, John Savill did a great job the first half and helped me understand some fundamentals about Azure Infrastructure but the second half got me lost with IPs and Express Connections. Some of the pricing was interesting and I am going to try the Analysis Service in Azure soon.

Breakfast and Lunch was nice talking with attendees and speakers. I met Bruce with HP and even bumped into Ben DeBow in the lobby.

Tuesday I spoke on Self Service BI with Power BI. It was well attended (45-50 in a 60 seat room). Not many questions during the presentation and a few at the end. I shortened the talk to 1 hour (from 75 minutes) because it usually gets rushed at the end because of questions during the session. That did not happened, so it ended early but no one complain. Lunch was next on the schedule.

I did attend Victor’s session on Business Case for using SQL on Linux, Anthony’s session on Networking Internals for SQL Professionals (really good, lots info an he explains a lot really quickly with good demos) and Meagan’s talk on Azure Data Factory. Victor’s was good and Meagan explain a lot. The Data Factory is interesting but it looks v2 would be the time to start using, not v1.

The last session I did was Deploying with SSIS 2016. Not as many attendees (~20) but a couple were nodding their heads frequently and only one sleeper. The sleeper actually asked more questions at the end, so maybe his eyes were just closed the whole time.

IT Dev Connections was at a really nice hotel by Union Square in San Fran, but I heard some talk about it being expensive. That was really the only complaint. Food was great and logistics cool being in the hotel for the rooms and conference. Not a lot of walking but enough to get some exercise.


Looking forward to Dallas next year (Oct 15-18 maybe) – Rod Trent announced this on Monday night. He is really excited about IT Dev Connections and promotes well. It was nice to eat lunch with him and others on Monday and get scoop on the event.

Next week is the PASS Summit, so on to the next conference.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

SSAS Tabular DirectQuery–No Hierarchies in Dimensions

I recently was testing DirectQuery to see the reporting differences in a Tabular Model. After Deploying to a development server and analyzing in Excel, the hierarchies for the Date and Product dimension were not available. SQL Server 2016 SP1 was used in this example.


You can go to this like from Microsoft about more limitations.

There was also difference in labeling when designing a Tabular Model in Visual Studio (SQL Server Data Tools – SSDT) and making a change to the Model from SQL Server Management Studio – SSMS.

In SSDT, The Property for the Model is DirectQuery and the values are On and Off.


In SSMS, The Property is Default Model and the values are DirectQuery and Import.


Not sure which I like better. But, what you are able to do is Deploy a model built with DirectQuery Off (with hierarchies), then change the property in SSMS on the database, and see the changes. Or vice versa. If you are previewing the DirectQuery Off Mode in Excel before making the change, when the data is refreshed, the hierarchies are removed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Elect The Next PASS Board Members

The PASS board elections are coming up and there is a twitter chat event to ask questions to the candidates before you vote. Both tweeter events will be on Tuesday September 19th at noon central and 3PM central. The hashtag will be #PASSelections, so join the conversation and ask questions in order to get a better idea of the candidates.

The voting begins on Wednesday September 20th (the next day) and you will be able to go to to watch campaign videos of each candidate. They will answer about 4 questions (the same 4 questions) in a short video.


These changes to the campaign were asked to happen by the community, so if you have more comments about the campaign process, email PASS. Check your email this week for more information about the elections and where to find additional stuff on the candidates.

Remember, these members are volunteers in the SQL Community (or the Microsoft Data Technology community) that want the best for our wonderful network of professionals.