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  • Blog Post: A SQL Saturday in Cambridge – Buck Woody’s Ragtime Database Workshop

    The SQL Server community is really engaged. They are an active bunch on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, they help each other on forums, they attend conferences. But that isn’t enough interaction – the community started a grass-roots effort to hold local conferences on a Saturday. Free conferences...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure End to End Examples

    I’m fascinated by the way people learn. I’m told there are several methods people use to understand new information, from reading to watching, from experiencing to exploring. Personally, I use multiple methods of learning when I encounter a new topic, usually starting with reading a bit about the concepts...
  • 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 Anything older than 6 months is probably out of date, given the speed with which we release new features into Windows and SQL Azure) I don’t normally like to discuss things in terms of tools.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: Application Lifecycle Management Overview for Windows Azure

    Developing in Windows Azure is at once not that much different from what you’re familiar with in on-premises systems, and different in significant ways. Because of these differences, developers often ask about the specific process to develop and deploy a Windows Azure application - more formally called...
  • Blog Post: Team Foundation Server (TFS) in the Cloud - My Experience So Far

    I recently joined a software development project that involves not only myself and other internal Microsoft employees, but a partner and a customer as well. We are building a hybrid solution that uses assets on premises as well as Windows Azure for processing. When we put the team together we picked...
  • 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: Creating a Distributed Computing System Using a Windows Azure Queue

    The Windows Azure Queue component, like all Windows Azure components (Roles, Storage, App Fabric, SQL Azure) can be used by itself or with other Windows Azure components. That’s why I refer to Windows Azure as “Distributed Computing” rather than “cloud”. Having a distributed off premise queue has a lot...
  • 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: Plan for Diagnostics in Cloud Computing From the Git-Go

    “Git-Go” is something we say in the South that means “right at the start”. I’ve seen several applications for on-premise systems that don’t have much in the way of diagnostics - the developers rely on a debugger, the event logs on the server and client workstation, and most of all, the ability to watch...
  • 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: Web-based Applications

    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: Some applications lend themselves...
  • Blog Post: Where is the SQL Azure Development Environment

    Recently I posted an entry explaining that you can develop in Windows Azure without having to connect to the main service on the Internet, using the Software Development Kit (SDK) which installs two emulators - one for compute and the other for storage. That brought up the question of the same kind of...
  • Blog Post: The Top-Five Most Valuable Development Team Positions

    In many organizations, there’s a push to save cost. “Cost” is an integral part of a profit-and-loss statement in the organization. Even if you work in a non-profit organization, cost control is central. Of course, you can take cost-control too far. You could, for instance, remove the...
  • Blog Post: Performance-Driven Development

    I was reading a blog yesterday about the evils of SELECT * . The author pointed out that it's almost always a bad idea to use SELECT * for a query, but in the case of SQL Azure (or any cloud database, for that matter) it's especially bad, since you're paying for each transmission that comes down the...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server for the Oracle DBA Links

    I do a presentation (and a class) called "SQL Server for the Oracle DBA". It's a non-marketing overview that gives you the basics of working with SQL Server if you're already familiar wtih how Oracle works. This class and these links DO NOT help you with "Why should I use Oracle/SQL Server instead of...
  • Blog Post: Agile isn’t always Agile

    I want to make a disclaimer before I dive into this topic – At Microsoft we use all kinds of development methodologies, and I’ve worked in lots of other shops using lots of methodologies. This is one of those “religious” topics like which programming language or database is best, and is bound to generate...
  • Blog Post: Process Improvement and the Data Professional

    Don’t be afraid of that title – I’m not talking about Six Sigma or anything super-formal here. In many organizations, there are more folks in other IT roles than in the Data Professional area. In other words, there are more developers, system administrators and so on than there are the “DBA” role. That...
  • Blog Post: Using linked servers, OPENROWSET and OPENQUERY

    SQL Server has a few mechanisms to reach out to another server (even another server type) and query data from within a Transact-SQL statement. Among them are a set of stored credentials and information (called a Linked Server ), a statement that uses a linked server called called OPENQUERY , another...
  • Blog Post: It’s OK to take a Shortcut Sometimes

    I was working this weekend with a fairly simple Excel spreadsheet, and I had to decompose one cell in it out to three columns in a SQL Server table. There are tools within SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) that should be able to do that, but I just couldn’t find my way around them properly. I’m...
  • Blog Post: Lessons from Volunteering

    Saturday I volunteered at a work-day at our church. Our building is one of the first buildings built in this area of Washington, so it’s a beautiful old structure, which of course means there’s lots of maintenance. I’m fairly decent with tools, I’ve done some woodworking in my day, and I’ve even rebuilt...
  • Blog Post: Code that Writes Code - A Good Idea or Not?

    I’m a big fan of code that writes code – most of the time. For instance, whenever you use the “templates” feature in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or the Maintenance Wizard, you’re using code that writes other code. There’s even a trick of writing Transact-SQL (T-SQL) code that in turn creates...
  • Blog Post: Data Design

    I give series of classes and presentations on Data Design. I say “data” design instead of “database” design because we should consider more than just the database. Data might actually be stored in non-relational stores, such as Excel or XML files, and it might also be located in remote data stores like...
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