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  • Blog Post: Public Data Sources – finding them and using them

    A quick post here on some valuable data sources you can use in your HDInsight, Microsoft Excel, SQL Server, APS, and other products to enrich your data. Sometimes it’s helpful just to peruse through various sources to see what you can put together to gain more insight and answers. If you know of...
  • Blog Post: The danger of predictive analytics

    As a technical professional working in the data field, I implement small and large-scale data systems every day. Some of those systems are used to record transactional data for immediate processing, others record the data in large collections for later historical analysis. And many of the systems I now...
  • Blog Post: The Data Science Laboratory Series is Complete

    I wrote a series of articles on creating a Data Science Laboratory over on Simple-Talk - you can find the complete list of articles below. The series covers installing various software tools and packages on a Virtual Machine running the Windows operating system. I think there's no substitute for installing...
  • Blog Post: Data Science and the Cloud

    More than perhaps any other computing discipline, Data Science lends itself best to Cloud Computing in general, and Windows Azure in specific. That's a big claim, but before I offer some evidence, I need to explain what I mean by "Data Science". I've written before on Data Science ( http://blogs.msdn...
  • Blog Post: How Does the Cloud Change a Developer's Job?

    I've recently posted a blog on how cloud computing would change the Systems Architect’s role in an organization , another on how the cloud changes a Database Administrator's job , and the last post dealt with the Systems Administrator . In this post I'll cover the changes facing the Software Developer...
  • Blog Post: How Does the Cloud Change a Database Administrator’s Job?

    I recently posted a blog entry on how cloud computing would change the Systems Architect’s role in an organization . In a way, the Systems Architect has the easiest transition to a new way of using computing technologies. In fact, that’s actually part of the job description. I mentioned that...
  • Blog Post: How Does the Cloud Change a Systems Architect’s Job?

    I know - I said I didn't like the "cloud" term, but my better-phrased "Distributed Systems" moniker just never took off like I had hoped. So I'll stick with the "c" word for now, at least until the search engines catch up with my more accurate term. I thought I might spend a little time on how the...
  • Blog Post: Using Resources the Right Way

    It’s an interesting time in computing technology. At one point there was a dearth of information available for solving a given problem, or educating ourselves on broader topics so that we can solve problems in the future. With dozens, perhaps hundreds or thousands of web sites and content available...
  • Blog Post: Creating a Corporate Data Hub

    The Windows Azure Marketplace has a rich assortment of data and software offerings for you to use – a type of Software as a Service (SaaS) for IT workers, not necessarily for end-users. Among those offerings is the “Data Hub” – a  codename for a project that ironically actually does what the codename...
  • Blog Post: Big Data - A Microsoft Tools Approach

    (As with all of these types of posts, check the date of the latest update I’ve made here. Anything older than 6 months is probably out of date, given the speed with which we release new features into Windows and SQL Azure) I don’t normally like to discuss things in terms of tools. I find...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Computing Patterns: Using Data Transaction Commitment Models for Design

    There are multiple ways to store data in a cloud provider, specifically around Windows and SQL Azure. As part of a “Data First” architecture design, one decision vector – assuming you’ve already done a data classification of the elements you want to store – is to decide...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft helps you NOT break your Windows Azure Application: Storage Services Versioning

    One of the advantages of using Windows Azure to run your code is that you don’t have to constantly manage upgrades on your platform. While that’s a big advantage indeed, it immediately brings up the question - how do the upgrades happen? Microsoft upgrades the Azure platform in periodic increments, and...
  • Blog Post: The Data Scientist

    A new term - well, perhaps not that new - has come up and I’m actually very excited about it. The term is Data Scientist, and since it’s new, it’s fairly undefined. I’ll explain what I think it means, and why I’m excited about it. In general, I’ve found the term deals at its most basic with analyzing...
  • Blog Post: Big Data and the Cloud - More Hype or a Real Workload?

    Last week Microsoft announced several new offerings for “Big Data” - and since I’m a stickler for definitions, I wanted to make sure I understood what that really means. What is “Big Data”? What size hard drive is that? After all, my laptop has 1TB of storage - is my laptop “Big Data”? There are actually...
  • Blog Post: Rip and Replace or Extend and Embrace?

    As most of you know, I don’t like the term “cloud” very much. It isn’t defined, which means it can be anything. I prefer “distributed computing”, which is more technically accurate and describes what you’re doing in more concrete terms. So when you think about...
  • Blog Post: Should All Data Be Encrypted By Default?

    Recently several IT industry information outlets have reported that there has been a 10-year concentrated, organized effort on breaking through computer security at some of the largest companies in the world. Government sites have also been attacked in multiple countries. Add to this the regular loss...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Security Review

    Current as of 08/01/2011 - Check the Resources listed below for more up-to-date information on this topic Background: Security for any computing platform involves three primary areas: Principals (users or programmatic access to an asset or other program) Securables (objects, data or programs that can...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Computing and the Importance of Code Diagrams

    Most mature development shops use various code diagrams to give a symbolic representation of high-level and database code structures. Standards such as Business Process Model Notation (BPMN), Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERD) and the Unified Modeling Language (UML) are a few I use all the time. In the...
  • Blog Post: SQL Azure Use Case: Shared Storage Application

    This is one in a series of posts on when and where to use a distributed architecture design in your organization's computing needs. You can find the main post here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/buckwoody/archive/2011/01/18/windows-azure-and-sql-azure-use-cases.aspx Description: On-premise data will be a part...
  • Blog Post: SQL Azure Use Case: Shared Data Hub

    This is one in a series of posts on when and where to use a distributed architecture design in your organization's computing needs. You can find the main post here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/buckwoody/archive/2011/01/18/windows-azure-and-sql-azure-use-cases.aspx Description: Organizations often need to...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Emulators On Your Desktop

    Many people feel they have to set up a full Azure subscription online to try out and develop on Windows Azure. But you don’t have to do that right away. In fact, you can download the Windows Azure Compute Emulator – a “cloud development environment” – right on your desktop...
  • Blog Post: Dealing with Data: Defining the Components to Tune

    I've been reading a fascinating article about the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC facility. It's a scientific research facility that houses a particle collider, which generates an incredible amount of data. Their original plan was to stream the data to tape, then sending the data to "islands" closer to...
  • Blog Post: Permanent storage – a myth or a requirement?

    I'm looking over some data retention strategy documents for a company, I noticed that they want to keep some data "forever". Now, beyond the quibble of determining how to store something for eternity, how permanent can data really be? There are atomic (n, not ACID, atomic) ways of storing binary representations...
  • Blog Post: There is No Perfect Information

    I read a very interesting (and lengthy) article yesterday from Reuter’s ( you can find the whole thing here ) in which the author goes into some detail about people in the government that are self-described “data dogs”. I find it an interesting study in general, since I also value data as well – but...
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