Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Azure Data Tech Groups: Community owned, Microsoft empowered

By now you might have seen the video released Feb 17th where Buck Woody (t) explains everything that the Microsoft Data Platform is doing to empower the community.  If not, you can catch that here

When PASS announced that it would cease operations on January 15, 2021, I think we all wondered "What now?"  Microsoft recognizes that local user groups are the life blood of the Data Community. User groups are vital to networking, people's careers and the overall community. Our philosophy is that these groups should be Community-owned, and Microsoft-empowered. To that end, we've created a series of assets, resources, and benefits for your local Community Group Leader to run your group. 

Interested group leaders can find out more about what Microsoft is offering fill out the form linked here.  

What is Microsoft offering to qualified groups? 

  • A Community Landing Page to find a user group, upcoming events, community blogs, etc.  
  • Meetup fees, fully paid for by Microsoft, with a centralized way to find groups in the Data Community that are part of the Azure Data Tech Groups network. 
  • Full Microsoft Teams subscriptions with all the bells & whistles for qualified Community Groups
  • Community Leader Collaboration (via Teams & Meetup)  
You can find a list of FAQs on the Azure SQL blog.

What is a qualified group?

1.     Have a group leader and a designated co-leader who have each accepted these T&Cs.

2.     Not charge other members a fee to attend Group meetings, except in cases in which the venue and/or hosting costs (e.g., food and beverages) are passed through to members.

3.     Maintain a published code of conduct that is easily accessible from the Group’s home page. See guidance

4.     Maintain a regular meeting cadence including having meetings at least six times per year that relate to or cover Azure Data products & services or relate to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) or Professional Development targeted to data professionals. 

5.     Comply with Program’s Code of Conduct located at

6.     Adhere to Microsoft’s Trademark and Brand guidelines, when using any Microsoft trademarks or referring to Microsoft’s software, products or services (see

What technologies does my local group need to focus on for my group leader to qualify for benefits?

SQL Server (on Windows, Linux, and in Containers, on-premises and in Microsoft Azure)

Azure Data Lake   

Azure Cosmos DB

Azure HDInsight, Hadoop and Spark on Azure

Azure Search

Data Warehousing (Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Fast Track and APS)

Azure Stream Analytics

Cortana Intelligence Suite

Information Management (ADF, SSIS, and Data Sync)

SQL Server Reporting Services and Analysis Services

SQL Server Machine Learning Services

Azure Database for MySQL

Azure Database for PostgreSQL

Azure SQL (Database, Pools, Serverless, Hyperscale, Managed Instance, Virtual Machines)

Azure SQL Edge

Big Data Clusters

Azure Databricks

Azure Arc Enabled Data Services

Azure Synapse Analytics

Azure Data Catalog


Thursday, April 30, 2020

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines

My first big collaborative project since I joined Microsoft just went live.  And I don't think it's bragging to say I'm really proud of what we produced.  In a very compressed timeline, these 7 MVPs produced a chapter each on their specified topic.  See info below

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines
Packt Publishing has produced a 171 page technical manual for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, Microsoft’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering for SQL Server. The book draws on expertise from seven Microsoft MVPs (Joey D'Antoni (t), Louis Davidson (t|b), Allan Hirt (t|b), John Martin (t), Anthony Nocentino (t), Tim Radney (t|b), and Randolph West (t)) and provides an overview of Microsoft's Azure SQL family of SQL Server–related data services in the cloud. It also provides tips for getting started and hero capabilities as well as deep dives into security, Linux, and performance. Finally, best practices are shared for cloud migrations and hybrid scenarios across on-premises and cloud environments. Live in EN-US the last week of April.
You can download it for free HERE 
Learning Objectives 
By the end of this book, you will be able to: 
• Choose an operating system for SQL Server in Azure VMs 
• Use the Azure Management Portal to facilitate the deployment process 
• Verify connectivity and network latency in cloud 
• Configure storage for optimal performance and connectivity 
• Explore various disaster recovery options for SQL Server in Azure 
• Optimize SQL Server on Linux
• Discover how to back up databases to a URL 

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is for you if you are a developer, data enthusiast, or anyone who wants to migrate SQL Server databases to Azure virtual machines. Basic familiarity with SQL Server and managed identities for Azure resources will be a plus. Approach This book incorporates every aspect of SQL deployment on Azure with a perfect blend of theory and hands-on coding. Each chapter is designed to build on the learnings of the previous lesson. 
About the Authors 

Louis Davidson (Chapter 1, Introduction to SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines) 

Louis Davidson is a data architect for CBN in Virginia Beach, VA; telecommuting for many years from Cleveland, TN (which is not even as glamorous as it sounds.) Louis has written and contributed to many books on SQL Server topics over the past 20 years. His most prominent work has been five editions of his book entitled: "Pro SQL Server Relational Database Design and Implementation" for Apress in 2016, with a new version forthcoming in 2020. Louis has been a speaker at many SQL Saturday events, and has helped organize events in Nashville and Chattanooga, TN. 

Allan Hirt (Chapter 2, Getting started with SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines) 

SQLHA, LLC founder, consultant, trainer, author, and business continuity, infrastructure, and virtualization expert Allan Hirt has been working with SQL Server since 1992 when it was still a Sybase product as well as clustering in Windows Server since the late 1990s when it was known as Wolfpack. Currently a dual Microsoft MVP (Data Platform; Cloud and Datacenter Management) as well as a VMware vExpert, Allan works with all sizes of customers no matter if they are on premises or in the public cloud and delivers training and speaks at events over the world.

Joey D'Antoni  (Chapter 3, Hero capabilities of SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines) 

Joseph D'Antoni is a Principal Consultant at Denny Cherry and Associates Consulting. He is recognized as a VMWare vExpert and a Microsoft Data Platform MVP and has over 20 years of experience working in both Fortune 500 and smaller firms. He has worked extensively on database platforms and cloud technologies and has specific expertise in performance tuning, infrastructure, and disaster recovery. 

Anthony Nocentino (Chapter 4, SQL Server on Linux in Azure Virtual Machines) 

Anthony Nocentino is the Founder and President of Centino Systems as well as a Pluralsight author and a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, Linux Expert, and Corporate Problem Solver. Anthony designs solutions, deploys the technology, and provides expertise on system performance, architecture, and security. Anthony has a Bachelors and Masters in Computer Science with research publications in high performance/ low latency data access algorithms and spatial database systems. You can find him on Twitter @nocentino. 

Tim Radney (Chapter 5, Performance) 

Tim is a Data Platform MVP. He has presented at PASS, SQLintersection, Microsoft Ignite, SQL Saturdays, user groups and numerous webinars. In addition, Tim runs the Columbus GA SQL Users Group, is a PASS Regional Mentor and was named a PASS Outstanding Volunteer. He's married with three children and has a passion for electronics. He also farms chickens, crops, and tilapias in his spare time. 

John Martin (Chapter 6, Moving workloads to SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines) 

John is an experienced data platform professional having spent over a decade working with the Microsoft data and cloud platform technologies. In this time John has learned how to get the most out of these platforms as well as the key pitfalls that should be avoided. 

Randolph West (Chapter 7, Hybrid scenarios (Microsoft SQL IaaS)) 

Randolph West, founder of Born SQL, is an independent IT consultant, speaker, Calgary PASS user group leader, Microsoft Data Platform MVP, and lead author of the book SQL Server 2019 Administration Inside Out. Randolph specializes in SQL Server performance tuning, disaster recovery, and migrations from really old versions, with an emphasis on implementing best practices. Randolph has presented at PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQL Saturdays, and user groups. You can also find Randolph acting and directing on screen or the stage, or annoying people on Twitter. Do not trust Randolph around chocolate.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Microsoft Focus Groups @ PASS Summit

Each year, Microsoft hosts a series of Focus Groups at PASS Summit.  These are a chance for you to meet with several different Product teams to either provide feedback on something they built or learn where the roadmap is taking many different aspects of the data product, from security, to migrations to tools.

Wednesday, November 6th 

10:00AM-11:00AM Synapse - Analytics for Modern Datawarehouse in the Cloud with Jenny Jiang & Omid Afnan
11:15AM-12:15PM The future of multi-dimensional models with Richard Tkachuk
12:30PM-1:30PM Existing Security capabilities/features with Mirek Sztanjo, Rohit Nayak, Andreas Wolter

1:45PM-2:45PM Notebooks in Azure Data Studio with Vicky Harp
3:00PM-4:00PM Modern Development with Azure SQL   (EventHub/Kafka Integration, Change Feed, etc) with Davide Mauri
4:15PM-5:15PM Data sharing with SQL Data Warehouse!  with Kevin Ngo

Thursday, November 7th 

10:00AM-11:00AM Data Modeling in Power BI with Carly Landers & Erika Sam
11:15AM-12:15PM Doing near-real-time interact analytics on Big Data using Azure Data Explorer with Avner Aharoni
12:30PM-1:30PM Demo for SQL Assessment API with Ebru Ersan
3:00PM-4:00PM How to make query plans easier for users to understand with Vicky Harp, Pam Lahoud, Pedro Lopes
4:15PM-5:15PM Report Creation in Power BI with Carly Landers; Erika Sam

Friday, November 8th

9:00AM-10:00AM Collaboration in Azure Data Studio with Vicky Harp
10:15AM-11:15AM SQL Migrations to Azure – what’s working well and what’s not with Shreya Verma and Davide Mauri
11:30AM-12:30PM Multi-cloud concept testing and scenario reviews with James Roland-Jones
12:45PM-1:45PM Security: Planned features/Security Roadmap with Mirek Sztanjo, Rohit Nayak, Andreas Wolter
2:00PM-3:00PM The Future of Microsoft Cloud Migration Tools and Services with Charles Christian and Sreraman Narasimhan

Friday, October 4, 2019

Modernizing your Database with Azure SQL

Join the Microsoft Product Team in this full day deep dive into Modernizing your Database with #AzureSQL November 5th at PASS Summit Seattle with Sanjay Mishri Mladen Andzic, Dimitri Furman, Rie Irish, Davide Mauri, Rohit Nayak, Denzil Ribeiro, Shreya Verma

Azure SQL provides the most comprehensive set of capabilities on a cloud relational database. SQL in a virtual machine, Azure SQL Database, Managed Instance, Elastic Pools, Azure SQL Hyperscale, Azure SQL DB Serverless – Azure SQL family of services provide you a variety of choices to build and run your SQL environment in the most cost-effective, secured and performant manner.

• Understanding the choices and when to pick which service for best fit
• Understanding the Security, Networking, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery capabilities
• Managing the database, instance, elastic pools for best cost effectiveness, performance and scale
• Understanding and troubleshooting common problems 
• Design and develop for resiliency and performance, and building applications for business critical and enterprise workloads
• Application patterns and best practices to achieve the best out of Azure SQL environment

Register here, spaces are going fast!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

She's not hard to look at...

Last week, a colleague of mine sent me an email with a YouTube link.  It was a webinar she'd attended earlier in the day on Machine Learning.  She wanted me to watch a 30 second segment of the video and let her know if she was just being sensitive.  That women even have to worry about this is a blog for a different day. 

Read his comment below & decide for yourself.
Speaker: There is, what's her name.  She's been in Machine Learning with Microsoft for a long time.   What's her name? I love her.  Oh, Olivia Klose.  She's got an accent.  She's not hard to look at.  She does a lot of demos on Machine Learning specific to Microsoft."

Then he moved right along into the topic at hand, as if nothing had happened. 

 I don't know this speaker, I have no ax to grind.  His comment was at best, careless, and at worst a form of benevolent sexism.  

Benevolent sexism is a set of interrelated attitudes toward women that are sexist in terms of viewing women in restricted roles but that are subjectively positive in feeling & tone.

Whatever it was, the feelings it evoked were immediate.  They were not at all sensitive.  I was as angry as my colleague.  HOW DARE HE?  Then I reminded myself that I shouldn't be that surprised.  Comments like this are something many women in IT deal with frequently.  We're professional, damn good at our job, but then some guy in a meeting thinks it's appropriate to comment on our looks... as if that mattered at all.  Taking away from the importance of our actual accomplishments and reducing us a "pretty face".  It's something that really can knock the wind out of our sails.  While I know it sounds complimentary, it isn't.  We're there to teach or work, it isn't a beauty pageant.  

Here's the upside.  Here’s where I realize we’re making progress.  Where I’m reminded there are some amazing Women in Tech allies out there, who want to do the right thing.  A lot of men emailed, DM’d or tweeted their own little “Not cool, man!” thoughts. They’d noticed it being said and were upset on her behalf.

I reached out to the moderator of the session.  I included the email I’d been sent, the link to the video and outlined the insensitive comment.  I explained, much like I did in the paragraph above why exactly this was so bothersome.  He reacted as well as I could have hoped.  He immediately pulled the video down.  He’ll be modifying it to exclude the comments.  He asked how I’d like to handle it.  He emailed HQ to explain what happened and the actions he wanted to take.  He suggested in addition to this blog, that we turn this into a joint session to teach men in tech the damage that can be caused by comments like those made by the speaker. Like me, he wanted to turn this into something positive, into what elementary teachers refer to as “teachable moments”.  The best I can hope for is a world where a professional woman can be described by the quality of her work and not by how easy she is to look at.  Slowly but surely, it's getting better.  For now, I’ll accept this as a step in the right direction.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I'm speaking at MS Ignite!!

The tech world is changing fast—and that means the role of the tech professional is more vital than ever before. Microsoft Ignite is the place to meet the experts, get your questions answered, and connect with the tech community. I’ll be there, presenting Let Her Finish: Supporting Women's Voices in IT, and I hope you’ll add it to your schedule and attend.

Here’s more you can expect from Microsoft Ignite:
  • Go in depth with over 40 pre-day sessions to choose from, including Microsoft Azure, SharePoint, Dynamics 365, Windows, and much more
  • Learn about the future of tech in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote
  • Meet up with colleagues, view sessions, and discuss what you’re learning in the Hang Out
  • Gain insights from industry leaders with Women in Business and Tech programming

I hope to see you in Orlando September 25-29!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Highlighting Women in the SQL Community - July 2017

Find a mentor.  Be a mentor.
Build a strong network of women.

Make friendships with other women working in your field.

As most of you know, I think it's my calling to highlight & support women in technology, specifically speakers and leaders in the SQL Community.  Each month, our Virtual Group presents a technical session by a female speaker or a session specific to a female gender related topic, presented by a man or woman.  Part of these sessions involves a list of what women are doing.  That's what this blog psot does.  A highlight of what women in the SQL Community are doing in just the second half of July 2017

Event Location Date Session Title Presenter
SQL Sat #653Columbus7/22/2017Health: The Most Important Tech ToolCassandra Faris
SQL Sat #653Columbus7/22/2017Collecting Baseline MetricsTracy Boggiano
SQL Sat #653Columbus7/22/2017Why NULL is not a value (and other SQL gotchas)Wendy Pastrick
SQL Sat #653Columbus7/22/2017I’m It – Survival Techniques for the Lone DBAMonica Rathbun
SQL Sat #653Columbus7/22/2017Are You There, DBA? It’s Me, The App DeveloperJacquelyn Keeper
SQL Sat #653Columbus7/22/2017Answering the question, "What happened?" with Query StoreErin Stellato
SQL Sat #653Columbus7/22/2017Making Your List and Checking It Twice: Introduction to unit testing with tSQLtElizabeth Noble
SQL Sat #653Columbus7/22/2017Where Does R Fit Into Your SQL Server Stack?Stacia Varga
SQL Sat#653Columbus7/22/2017Reduce your DBA (& DEV) task list by using Microsoft BI toolsTamera Clark
SQL Sat #654Omaha7/22/2017Transitioning from Integration Services to Azure Data FactoryMeagan Longoria
SQL Sat #654Omaha7/22/2017Things I Learned the Hard Way About Azure Data Platform Services So That You Don't Have ToMeagan Longoria
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017Introduction to SharePoint Patterns and PracticesTheresa Eller
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017Deadlock, Block & Two Smoking Barrels: Breaking Down Blocking and DeadlocksAmy Herold
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017SQL Server Statistics – What Are The Chances?Lori Edwards
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017How to Build Your Disaster Recovery PlanRie Irish
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017Beginning Automation with PowershellAmy Herold
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017Troubleshooting SQL Server PerformanceStacy Gray
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017Mastering your Resume & Interview: Tips to Get HiredChristine Assaf
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017Let Her Finish: Supporting Women's Voices from meetings to the board roomRie Irsih
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017 Taking Time for YouKathryn LeBlanc
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017Giving Feedback: How to Effectively Communicate to your EmployeesChristine Assaf
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017Women in Technology: Identifying and Understanding Gender Bias & InequalityRie Irish
SQL Sat #628Baton Rouge7/29/2017T-SQL's Hidden Support FeatureJennifer McCown
SQL Sat #622Albany7/29/2017Network your Way to Success!Lisa Margerum
SQL Sat #622Albany7/29/2017Back to the Basics: T-SQL 101Deborah Melkin
SQL Sat #622Albany7/29/2017Top 10 Features of a Great Business Intelligence SolutionRachel Blum
SQL Sat #622Albany7/29/2017Master Your Data using DQS and MDSBeth Wolfset

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PowerShell ❤️ SQL Server: Modern Database Administration
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Join dbatools teammates Chrissy LeMaire and Constantine Kokkinos for a fun, fast-paced session that...

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Looking to find out what is coming next with SQL Server? Thinking about learning a new analytical...

Tools and Tips: From Accidental to Efficient Data Warehouse Developer
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You have probably heard about the Accidental DBA, but what about the Accidental Data Warehouse...

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When I first heard about data compression back when it was introduced with SQL Server 2008

On Transactions and Atomic Operations
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Women in Technology
Upcoming Webinars
uHe’s Assertive. She’s Aggressive (Unconscious Bias in the Workplace)
uAndrea Mascher
uSept 21, 2017
uCreating and Maintaining Successful Open Source Projects
uChrissy LeMaire
uOct 4, 2017

Women in Technology 
Today’s Session
uMelissa Coates
uTales from Building a SQL Server Data Warehouse in Azure
uIn 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.
uMelissa Coates is a Business Intelligence Architect with SentryOne. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, she specializes in delivering Analytics, Data Warehousing, and Business Intelligence solutions using on-premises, cloud, and hybrid technologies. Formerly a CPA, Melissa is ridiculously proud to be an IT geek and downright giddy to be a Microsoft Data Platform MVP. When Melissa steps away from the keyboard, you can probably find her hanging out with her border collie, paddle boarding, or playing in the garden.  Melissa blogs at