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PASS Summit 2014 Follow Up & Pictures

Posted by denglishbi on November 19, 2014

This month I headed out to the PASS Summit 2014 Conference which is the largest gathering of SQL Server and BI Professionals.  I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this year because the Microsoft MVP Summit was also held that same week.  So it had been a few years since I had attended the PASS Summit and I was excited to go back.  I really appreciated the coordination of the two events and the fact that Microsoft was able to adjust the schedule for the SQL Server MVPs up one day to be able to attend, it was quite remarkable to partake in both events.  I also have to thank my company, Superior Consulting Services, for providing me the opportunity to attend as well.image

The first major event that I participated in at the conference was the #sqllongrun.  Adam Machanic (b|t) organized an 11 or 14 mile run event this year in Seattle.  It has been a goal of mine to run a 1/2 marathon, so I decided that this was going to be it!  Unfortunately with my schedule I didn’t get to train as much as I probably should have, but I pushed myself the week prior to the event and I was quite impressed with my results.  It turns out that not only did I run a 1/2 marathon, but I went a couple of miles more because apparently I didn’t start my watch at the start, sorry Reeves Smith (b|t), but I greatly appreciate your support and running the extra mile at the end with me when I thought I had only ran 12 miles!


What a great event and looking forward to my next 1/2 marathon now that I have a benchmark, thanks to Adam for organizing, SQL Sentry for sponsoring, and everyone that participate for your support and encouragement!

Now on to the main event, but not until we do a few more runs, right? I ended up running each morning with some of the other #SQLFamily members such as Ted Krueger (b|t) and Tim Radney (b|t). Each day I ran a 5k with the exception of Thursday (took one day off for rest).  I also took part in the #sqlrun organized by Jes Borland (b|t) and thanks SQL Sentry for sponsoring.

So the main event, the PASS Summit.


Day 1

On Wednesday we found out from the PASS President Thomas LaRock (b|t) that there were 50 countries, 2000 companies, and around 5900 attendees at the conference, simply amazing!  Currently there are 285 PASS Chapters, 27 Virtual Chapters, and there were 86 SQLSaturday events this year, over 1.3 million hours of training provided by the community, awesome!!!  I was really looking forward to the Day 1 keynote to hear each of the three core leaders of the Microsoft Data Platform talk – T.K. “Ranga” Rengarajan, James Phillips, and Joseph Sirosh.

Ranga was up first and he covers the Capture + Manage side of the image below.  He came to Microsoft from SAP. In the Pier 1 Imports demos during his portion we saw Azure Search (34:37), Azure DocumentDB (along with elastic scaling) (37:59), and Azure SQL Database Geo Replication (in just a few clicks! 44:18). They also showed a video of Dell.com with SQL 2014 use of in-memory OLTP to increase performance and remove blocking(53:00). In addition there was a technology sneak peek at an in-memory columnstore nonclustered index on an in-memory table(1:02:00)! It didn’t stop there, Ranga and his team continued on with the demos showing how to stretch an on-premise SQL database table to Azure (1:04:00)!

Joseph was up next and he covers the Transform + Analyze portions.  He actually came to Microsoft from Amazon. He talked about Azure Data Factory (like SSIS in the cloud), Azure Stream Analytics, and Azure Machine Learning (this is now free for anyone to try with a Microsoft account, no subscription or credit card information required – https://studio.azureml.net). They showed demos with Pier 1 Imports again doing a demo of in-store analytics using Kinect as a senor to gather data where shoppers are spending their time and what products they are looking at, pretty cool (1:16:50)! Using this data they used Azure Data Factory to pull it in using a pipeline to orchestrate the data(1:18:45). On top of that they used Azure Stream Analytics to analyze the top 5 products in realtime (from the Kinect sensors)(1:21:00). Then it was off to the future using Azure Machine Learning to be able to recommend products for next purchase (1:24:00). The last part of the demo was using the Pier 1 Imports mobile app using voice and Cortana recommended products based on your profile and used Azure Machine Learning to do the recommendations and then asked where to find the products in the store (even displaying an in-store map!)(1:25:53).

James was up last and he covers Visualize + Decide. He came to Microsoft from one of his startups Couchbase. He pre-announced being able to connect from Power BI back to on-premise SSAS data. Live Power BI Dashboards were demoed – see below (1:36:30). The dashboards have built-in Q&A and through the dashboards you can connect to data and pull information in to create more datasets, reports, and items to pin to create dashboards.  The results of Q&A questions could also be pinned as well. More visualizations have been added included combo charts, tree maps, sunburst, filled map, and gauges.  All of the dashboarding was done in HTML5!

Microsoft Data PlatformPower BI Dashboard

The day did not stop there, I checked out the community zone, some great sessions, and got special seating up front because of my PASS Outstanding Volunteer recognition. I even attended the PASS Virtual Chapter meeting and met my Paras Doshi (b|t) who is the other chapter leader for the PASS Business Analytics VC with me! Paras is awesome to have on the team, simply amazing, can’t say enough, great asset to have and really looking forward to next year to see what we can do next!

WP_20141105_001WP_20141106_08_29_24_ProDan & Paras

Day 2

My friend Adam Jorgensen (b|t) the PASS Executive Vice President of Finance kicked off the keynote on day 2 and discussed plans and revenue, incredible that the PASS Summit brings in $5.9M.  Denise McInerney (b|t) the PASS VP of Marketing also talked and went her personal growth story going from attending a local event up to where she is today, amazing! They announced the PASSion Award winner, Andrey Korshikov (b|t), congrats! Then Rimma Nehme gave the big talk on Cloud Databases 101 (21:55). Her humor and slides were outstanding and made the content easy to relate to and enjoyable, thanks! Who can’t understand the cloud services when you compare it to PIZZA (see image below)! Now DBAs that are learning and using the cloud based services can update their titles to Cloud DBA, time to soak it in and make the most out of this opportunity while it is really kicking in high gear now with the hybrid solutions.


While I was out there I also noticed a couple of great books in the bookstore that I was able to contribute to


I wish I could have stayed around for Day 3, lots of more great sessions that I had to miss out on, I had to get home to my family, it had been a long and exciting week with the MVP and PASS Summit events.

Let the countdown begin, PASS Summit 2015 will be October 27-30 next year!  Register now and the rate is only $1195 (over 1/2 off until January 11)!



Posted in Personal Comments, Training | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Microsoft MVP Renewed for 2011 and more honors

Posted by denglishbi on July 12, 2011

[tweetmeme source=”denglishbi” only_single=”false”]

This month I received the email stating that my Microsoft SQL Server MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation was renewed for my 2nd year – my MVP profile.  It is truly a great honor to be recognized for this award and to see that my contributions to the SQL Server community are not going unnoticed.  Even if I was not awarded this I would still continue doing the blogging, tweeting, forum support, presenting, helping with user groups, and help organizing events.  The reason is because my hobby is Microsoft technologies and particularly SQL Server – pretty cool that is also my job and people pay me for this.MVP Logo

If you are interested in the Microsoft MVP program you can find more information about this here – http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/.  There is also another program that is related called the Microsoft Community Contributor award which recognizes those that help out in the online technical forums – https://www.microsoftcommunitycontributor.com/overview.aspx.  So the contributor award is a great place to start and then expand out into the other areas of presenting, blogging, tweeting, user groups, etc. to get out and share your real world experiences and evangelize the Microsoft technologies with others.

Another recognition I received earlier this year was from Redmond Channel Partner Magazine as one of the Top 10 Microsoft Partner MVPs for 2011.  Out of the approximately 5,000 Microsoft MVPs worldwide there are around 1,000 that are associated with a Microsoft Partner.  So I was very honored and humbled once again when I found out that I had been selected and recognized by the magazine as one of the top 10 for 2011 in May of this year.  Congratulations to the others that also received this honor.


And just last week I was mentioned on the Minnesota Business Magazine’s website for ‘People on the Move’ – http://minnesotabusiness.com/people-on-the-move.  You will see an entry on July 7, 2011, recognizing me for receiving the Microsoft SQL Server MVP award for the 2nd year in a row.


This is all really cool and very unexpected.  I never thought I would ever become a Microsoft MVP.  An recognition like this was never on my radar and I think that it is just awesome.  Especially when I think how there are only around 5,000 Microsoft MVPs worldwide and only around 300 Microsoft MVPs that have the SQL Server designation.

Thanks Microsoft and congratulations to all of the other Microsoft MVPs as well.

Posted in Personal Comments, SQL Server | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

PDF Download Option for Walkthrough Postings

Posted by denglishbi on June 28, 2011

[tweetmeme source=”denglishbi” only_single=”false”]

Last week I went ahead and decided to make a new PDF download option available for some of my more length step-by-step postings.  I also modified the postings to only include two columns in the table layout instead of three.  This was because with certain resolutions the table was being cutoff and I am assuming going forward with the mobile devices this will become more of a common problem.  So, what I decided was to put together an option that the reader could download and view offline if needed and to use with eReader type devices as well.

So far I have just done this for four of my more commonly read postings in regards to Using PerformancePoint with Excel Services, Reporting Services, and PowerPivot along with using SharePoint List data source in SSRS for parameter source.  Going forward I will make sure that I include this option for this type of a posting.

If you scroll to the bottom of these postings you will see the new option which includes a link to the PDF document that I have placed in my SkyDrive.

Example (just an image):


I have also enabled some more options on the posts to be able to tweet them, print them (not the greatest output though, go with the PDF option if available), and to email them (creates a intro to the post with a link to read the full article).


This Tweet option is made available with a plug-in for Live Writer for WordPress.com blogs – http://plugins.live.com/writer/detail/tweetmeme-for-wordpresscom-plugin.  This is available from the home page and you do not need to click on the blog title to get at this Tweet option (only available on new blog posts or once that I repost through Live Writer).


This functionality is made available in Settings –> Sharing options in Administration settings for the WordPress.com blog account settings.  There are more options available, I only picked these three and there seemed to be an issue with the LinkedIn option.  In order to see these options you have to click on a blog posting and it will be available at the bottom of the posting.

The Email option will send you a snapshot of the posting like the following:


If there is a particular blog posting that you would like to see in a PDF format feel free to leave a comment and I can add this option.  I just picked a few of the more recent and commonly viewed postings to start with.  Going forward though I will make sure that I have this available.

Posted in Downloads, Personal Comments | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

PASSMN 2011 Executive Board Nominations Now Open!

Posted by denglishbi on October 6, 2010

This month we are now accepting nominations for next year’s Minnesota SQL Server User Group (PASSMN) Executive Board.  You can fill out the nomination form here – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FY9RTJS.

Minnesota SQL Server Users Group

This is your chance have a voice and to take your involvement with the user group and our local SQL Server community to the next level.  Our user group meets typically once a month on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.  There are five executive board roles that are available once you are voted into the board.  These are:

  • Chair
  • Director of Program Development
  • Director of Membership/Treasurer
  • Director of Corporate Development
  • Director of Technology

For more information about these positions and for a list of the current board members check out the PASSMN site here – http://minnesota.sqlpass.org/About/BoardMembers.aspx.

The nomination process will go through the end of the month and the voting process will begin in November with the new 2011 board announcement in December.  So don’t procrastinate, put your name in now!

Posted in News and politics, Personal Comments | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

My blog has moved to WordPress.com

Posted by denglishbi on September 30, 2010

In case you didn’t know, I have moved my blog this past week – So long Live Spaces, Hello WordPress!.  I am now up and running on WordPress.com and just getting used to the setup.  I noticed one thing today and that was some of my blog posts were a tad wide with images like one of my popular ones (I can now track the Top Posts and monitor them more closely – excellent, this will help direct me as to what content interests people) Using Excel Services Reports with PerformancePoint Server (PPS).  I noticed that when you viewed this post it was cutting off the third column in the images.  Ouch and sorry about that.  On Live Spaces if you clicked on the blog title it would basically remove the column on the right and make the posting wider.  Not so in WordPress.com, for some reason the header limits the width of the blog site and then the left and right columns reduce the blog width as well.  Need to watch this a little more closely. image

Anyway, I swapped to a new theme tonight.  I don’t really like the color scheme, but the layout presents a good size for the blog postings which is most important and I can surround them on both sides with additional items like Top Posts, Visitor Tools, Tag Cloud, Categories, and a Search feature.

So if you had a references to my Live Spaces blog or RSS feed you will need to update them appropriately or you will not be receiving any of my new content.  If you were using my feedburner RSS feed you will be fine.  So please take some time now and double check your setup and references – https://denglishbi.wordpress.com

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So long Live Spaces, Hello WordPress!

Posted by denglishbi on September 29, 2010

On Monday when I went to access my blog that I have had since December 2007 I received a message stating that Live Spaces had reached an agreement with WordPress.com and that I had an option to move our postings over.  I was a bit surprised, but actually quite relieved at the same time.  I knew it was time for a change for a long time now and this was my opportunity.  It did state that I could still continue making posts through the end of the year, but after that it was going to be locked down and then as of March of next year I would not have an opportunity to do the conversion anymore.  Kind of like last year when some of the services I was using decided to pack up and shutdown – Goodbye GeoCities, Popfly, and now Soapbox.

Some of the things I have been wanting for my existing site like better stats (actually at this point any stats since Live Spaces dumped them all together a few months back without any warning), improved comment control, tagging, top and recent post displaying, more layout display control, calendar and number of posting display, twitter display, removal of cryptic URL references, and more were all of a sudden available to me within just a couple of minutes.

First I downloaded my 266 existing blog posts (nice touch to provide this option during this transition) and this included the comments and images as well.  Then I did the conversion process and this also redirects Live Space references to WordPress.com and after just a couple of minutes I was up and running.  I was free!  Sweet!

Now I have so much and it is just so easy to setup and use, just have to make a decision on how I want it to look now.  Here are a few things I have already done (and I am sure this will change a few more times over the next couple of weeks) and have access to now:

1. Top and Recent Post display – now with the improved stats and widget capability I can quickly include this on my site for visitors to reference

 image imageimage image

2. Blog Stats – what I have been wanting and more.  Referrers, Top Posts & Pages, Search Engine Terms, Clicks, Summary

image image image

3. Tagging – now I just need to add them to posts and then I can include the nice little Tag Cloud in addition to categorizing posts (and I can have more than one tag or category per posting now!)

image image

4. Post Counts for Archives and Categories – nice little touch and available with a simply checkbox option in the widget and just like magic after the item you will see in parenthesis the post count

image image image image

5. Twitter display – ability to show some of my recent tweets

image image

6. Comment control – spam filtering and moderating capabilities (I actually received an email this morning alerting me of a comment and giving me an option to approve it. Plus it catches spam comments (finally, thank you) and I can edit comments (nice)


7. Post Calendar – highlights the days that I blogged on (just a nice little touch and good visualization for me to keep me motivated)


8.  Goodbye cryptic Live Spaces URLs – now people will have an idea of what I am directing them to when I send them a URL

so instead of this: http://denglishbi.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!CD3E77E793DF6178!3457.entry

they will now see this: https://denglishbi.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/sorting-powerpivot-labels-manually/

9. Nice little SnapShot like site display for viewers (it probably is SnapShot, maybe WordPress bought them, not sure) – this gets displayed when you hover over a URL in a posting


10. Built in blog searching capability – had to setup a gadget on Live Spaces and typically did not produce any results recently which was a major disappointment, could have been a code change


11. Themes, Pages, Navigation, and more – these are additional items that I will be playing around with over the next couple of weeks, so don’t be surprised if the view changes.  There probably is a way now to include the Microsoft MVP logo now…  Lots of options and I have only been using the new set of tools for just a couple of days and I am probably just scraping the surface.

If only I could have done this switch over sooner.  It is such a relief to switch over and just after a couple of days I am extremely pleased of the move.  Thanks Live Spaces and three cheers to WordPress!

Posted in Personal Comments | 1 Comment »

Real-time Pizza Tracker by Domino’s

Posted by denglishbi on June 24, 2010

I will have to admit, I haven’t had a Domino’s pizza since I was in college.  Last night we were looking to get some dinner and my wife was checking out the Domino’s website.  She was impressed with all of the different offerings that were now available ranging from pizza of course to sandwiches, pasta, wings, bread bowls, etc.  We have both seen the new commercials in regards to them changing the recipe and basically starting over from scratch – thank you.  That is one reason I haven’t had a Domino’s in such a very long time, I just wasn’t impressed with their pizza.

The interesting thing about the new experience on the website was not only the pizza builder, but once you submit your order you can utilize their pizza tracker to watch the status of your order.  My wife clicked on the link to check it out and was really amazed.  We could both sit there and watch as our order moved through each stage of the process – order placed, prep, bake, quality check, and order has been received.


The other neat thing was that below the tracker messages were being displayed so that we could see who was prepping our order, who was delivering it – along with when they left, and at the end (displayed in picture above) that ‘MMM, IT’S THERE – We hope you’re enjoying your meal!’.  Very cool and it was neat to watch.  We were amazed at how quickly the turnaround was and couldn’t believe the service.

Not only was the real-time Domino’s Tracker tool impressive, but I will have to say I am now onboard with the new recipe – great decision to dump and start over.  The new pizza formula was fantastic and so was the cheesy bread and cinna stix.  I would definitely have to give Domino’s five out of five stars for not only the food, but also the experience.  Very impressed and love the tracker feature.

Posted in Personal Comments | 3 Comments »

5 Seconds of Fame at Microsoft BI Conference

Posted by denglishbi on June 8, 2010

Day 2 of the conference and Donald Farmer presented during Ted Kummert’s keynote to talk about the Alpha Geek Challenge winners starting at about 1hr 6min into the keynote.  I got a brief mention as one of the finalist winners at about 1hr 7min 50sec into the video.  Donald stated that my entry was based on the firstKeynote Slide - Dan English BI Conference, but I actually put it together to do analysis based on information for this year’s conference displaying data for Minneapolis and New Orleans.  They also stated that the first winner was Dan, but his name was actually Derek.

You can check out the entire Day 2 keynote video here – http://www.msteched.com/2010/NorthAmerica/Keynote02.

You can also check out my previous postings on this challenge/contest here:

I hope everyone is enjoying the conference, I wish I could have been out there.  Maybe I will see you out at the national PASS 2010 Summit in November.  I submitted four sessions and will find out next month if any of them get accepted.

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Two Year Blog Anniversary

Posted by denglishbi on December 11, 2009

Once again I am late this year.  Seems to sneak up on me and with the holiday season things get a little hectic.  I started my blog back on December 2, 2007 and last year I finally went over 50,000 page visits.  Well this past year I doubled that and now I am over 167,000 visits (over 300 visits on average a day).


I think that is really awesome and hopefully people are finding the information useful.  One new addition to my site was the additional of podcasts (still not sure if that is the greatest for my postings, but it is available none the less).

Subscribe to Podcast feed

I lost my videos that I had available on Soapbox, Goodbye GeoCities, Popfly, and now Soapbox, along with the Google Ads (oh well).  It is interesting to see all of the different locations that people are coming from that access my postings.  Here are the top 5 thanks to ClustrMaps:

image image

And Internet Explorer is winning the browser war with over 70% of the visits.  Thanks to the new versions of IE.


This past year I did just over 100 blog postings, so I am trying to stay busy and keep the content flowing.  I also find time to help out in the forums and I try to make sure that all of the PerformancePoint Monitoring questions get replies.  I also help out in the Analysis Services, Reporting Services, and SharePoint BI now when I have some spare time.


Hopefully this weekend I will find some time to revisit my SharePoint 2010 setup with the latest CTP releases from this past November.  I want to take the new PowerPivot integration for a drive and test out some of the new PerformancePoint Services features.  I also want to use some of the new data visualizations in Reporting Services (data bars, sparklines, and icon sets) along with the Report Part Gallery and shared datasets.

Stay tuned for more content and feel free to follow my tweets on twitter


Users Medals Have a safe and happy holiday season

Posted in Personal Comments | 3 Comments »

Follow my tweets on twitter – @denglishbi

Posted by denglishbi on November 20, 2009

I configured Windows Liver Writer to post an update out to my twitter, @denglishbi, a while back and now I have started to do some tweeting since attending the PASS 2009 Summit.  Took me a while to catch on to this and I believe I have it down now, just not fully connected on the phone yet like some people I know…  It is just that sometimes I just want to post a quick item and not do a formal blog posting, so a quick tweet will be nice to post for people and for me to reference.


So I will be doing some occasional tweets posting comments, news, or feedback on items that I come across or run into primarily related to the Microsoft BI technologies like the SQL Server stack, Excel, PowerPivot, PerformancePoint, and SharePoint.  Plus an update will be posted when I submit a new blog posting.

If you are on twitter and would like to add me feel free and I look forward to tweeting with you.



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