Getting Started with SQL Azure

I’ve been using SQL Azure for several months now both for messing around (kicking the tires if you will) and for hosting a real database. I have a database with research data running in SQL Azure and I use Excel to connect to the database. I even share this out with others on my team….


Who is PowerPivot for?

Ann All recently posted an interesting article at IT Business Edge: Microsoft’s Schizophrenic Approach to Business Intelligence. I’m not too insulted: I tend to agree with Janet Long that, “Part of being sane, is being a little bit crazy.”   Ann’s argument is straightforward enough. We have said that we hope to win fans in…


SQL Azure Now Supports Data-tier Applications

As announced a few weeks ago on the SQL Azure blog, SQL Azure now supports Data-tier Applications which are introduced with Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2. Here’s a quick tour of the feature.  Here’s what I did: Launch Visual Studio 2010 and create a new Data-tier Application project Import my pubs database…


SQL Server 2008 R2 Launches!

It’s here!  The latest version of SQL Server is out, and it’s a big release. This is an exciting time for us – this release is an “R2” – a first for SQL Server. No, it isn’t a service pack, and no, we didn’t change the product so much that it affects anything that you’ve…


Microsoft is in the Cloud – What does that mean for the Data Professional?

There has been a lot of buzz lately about “the cloud” and what it means for IT, and the organizations they serve. I just finished watching Steve Ballmer deliver Microsoft’s vision for the cloud, wondering if it would be different than the offerings of other firms. It feels like it is different. So what is…


Changing Database Platforms

I’m not sure why but there seems to be a lot of chatter lately about changing DB platforms. Information Technology Intelligence Corp (ITIC) recently ran a survey about DB migrations. You can find the result here (search the page for “ITIC Sunbelt 2010 SQL Server Survey Results”). At the risk of sounding like an advertisement…


SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 – A Love Story

Some things just really work well together. Peanut butter and chocolate. Abbot and Costello. Coffee and…well…anything. You get the idea. But there are some real advantages in using SQL Server 2008 (and of course the upcoming SQL Server 2008 R2 release) with Windows Server 2008 and higher. It’s not just that they are both better…


Of Virtualization, Videos and VPs

My mentors at Microsoft have always told me, how important it is to get quality 1:1 time with senior figures in the company; the idea being to get good insights to strategy and a better handle on the executives’ various personalities and strengths. I don’t think my mentors had in mind that I should do…


Three suggestions for SQL Server DBAs in 2010

One of these days I really should blog about “dumb questions I have been asked at customer briefings.” There’s a danger in that, of course: namely, that a customer could equitably blog about “dumb answers I received from Donald Farmer.” Nevertheless, the other day, a CIO asked me an excellent question. “Aside from core skills,…