All posts by Steve

SQL Saturday #796 – Minnesota, 2018

sqlsat796_header

First, many thanks to the SQL Saturday and MNPass team for putting on another great event and letting me participate.

I co-presented with Joshuha Owen (@JoshSQL) in a precon on Modern Enterprise Data Warehousing on Azure. Thanks to those who attended and participated in the conversations around changing the way we implement data warehouse capabilities in Azure. Josh and I will be talking more about this in the future.

Now, those of you who attended my Saturday presentation on Consumption Based Architecture, I wanted to get you the slide deck and reference materials here. Thanks again for attending.

The slide deck from the session is here.

cba-featured-pic

I also have blog post around this topic: Consumption Based Architecture for Modern Data Analytics. Feel free to join the conversation there around this.

ERPs and the Consumption Based Architecture Conversation

One of the key topics that came up during the session was related to handling ERPs with minimal change. The key issue surrounding ERP solutions is with the data structure in those systems. Whether you work with SAP, JackHenry, or Dynamics, you have a situation where the data model is very complex and definitely not user friendly. In Consumption Based Architecture, we try to minimize data transformation and reshaping, but ERP solutions are by nature cryptic and complex. By definition, they are not consumable. So in the consumable space, we typically recommend using the vendor supplied solutions such as JHKnow, SAP BW and so on. These solutions provide a vendor managed interpretation of the data in the ERP for reporting and other solutions.

Security in this Architecture

The question was raised during the session around how to secure this. This does not have a simple answer. Each solution may have implemented security differently. For instance, an Oracle database may use user names and not have AD integration. This means that you need to determine how to secure your consumable space. For instance, if you pick Azure Active Directory, you would move data to AAD compliant structures in Azure such as Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Datawarehouse, and Azure Databricks. This means you might need to use a tool like Goldengate with CDC to update a SQL DB which you can apply security to. This will allow you to centralize security for your consumable data. You will need to plan for security in whatever you do and create what you need to support it.

Thanks again everyone for joining us at SQL Saturday.

 

 

Advertisements

Walmart Chose Azure, How About You?

Another major corporation has announced their decision to move to Azure. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? Walmart—yes, Walmart and Microsoft have announced an ongoing cloud partnership this year. While AWS would have been a competitor in this case, because Amazon put themselves in that position. But that’s not the real reason Walmart chose Azure. In this post, I’ll go over the key reasons why they went with Microsoft Azure. Clay Johnson, Walmart CIO and Executive VP of Global Business Services stated that Walmart is excited to accelerate their digital transformation using Microsoft and the Azure cloud.

In a joint press release, Microsoft and Walmart CEOs called out 3 key reasons why Walmart chose to use Azure and Microsoft Office 365:

Digital Transformation

We hear about the great concept of digital transformation all the time and we’ll see it in action with Walmart and Microsoft. They’ll work together to move 100s of applications to cloud based solutions. Not only will they do lift and shift, but in many cases, they’ll be looking for optimization opportunities to transform their business.

Looking at Azure or want to do more with it, join us next week for Azure Data Week!

Innovation

Walmart plans to build a global IOT solution on Azure and the advanced technologies to improve their performance in the world of energy conservation and to drive efficiencies in supply chain with machine learning to become a better company.

Collaboration and Agility

Using Microsoft 365 and a variety of Azure tools, Walmart is investing in their people to move to a more collaborative and productive workforce.

So, as you can see, Walmart put in a lot of thought and consideration before they made their choice to go with Azure. Look at these 3 key areas and at your business – can Azure help you improve your business in such a dramatic way by moving to the Azure cloud?

Making the move is not a technology decision, it’s a business one so you can do better business.

Azure IP Advantage

In today’s Azure Every Day post, I’d like to talk about something a little different from our normal posts, and that is Azure IP Advantage. Maybe you don’t know what this is. Well, Microsoft realized that innovating the cloud came with certain risks involving intellectual property (IP).

In realizing this, they built a program that allows you to protect yourself against lawsuits from attorneys and patent lawyers, which can wreak havoc in the industry. Here are 3 ways that Microsoft is working to protect your creativity and innovation when using Azure:

Best in industry, uncapped defense and indemnification coverage, which includes any open source technology used by MSFT Azure

As an Azure customer, you are automatically protected for free, without having to enroll or sign up. If an open source technology is used in an Azure branded product, you are protected.

Monday, we kick off Azure Data Week. See you there!

Use of Microsoft’s over 10,000 patents in its portfolio to counter assert when you’re trying to deter a patent lawsuit or defend against a patent lawyer

All you need to do is use Azure regularly and as a regular Azure consumer you’re covered and have access to this library of patents to counter assert.

Commitment to protect Azure customers from lawsuits if their patents are transferred to a non-practicing entity

Sadly, patent law firms essentially buy patents and sue people. It’s how they make money. Having worked in a prior industry and been part of patent lawsuits, I know this is a common occurrence, and the ability to prove certain things, especially when the technology isn’t yours to prove, can often be very difficult.

While this is not something they do regularly, Microsoft is committed to protecting Azure customers if it does happen. One thing they are not doing is putting restrictions on your own IP, so if you build your own IP on the Azure platform, they’re not restricting your ability to protect it.

Microsoft is allowing people to innovate and do what’s needed for the next generation of business and to do great things in the industry. Once again, they are leaders in the industry on matters important to business, while protecting you, even on open source technology. No one else is doing this.

Azure Data Relational Services

Today I’d like to talk about the Azure Relational Data Services Platform. This is an important foundational component for many things that are being built on Azure Platform as a Service related to databases.

One of the key PaaS offerings when Microsoft started with Azure was Azure SQL Database. Moving forward, changes were made to this and Azure SQL DW was released. Recently, Microsoft released a preview of the Azure SQL Database Managed Instance option. This is significant as it is a v-core plus storage option and intended to have parity with the on premises version of SQL Server, plus is a key step to separating compute and storage for Azure SQL Databases as well.

See you at Azure Data Week in a few days!

This is important since it allows Microsoft to standardize their relational database support pattern for other databases as well. This has existed for Azure DW for some time and was also improved in Gen 2. Check out more about this in some previous posts in this series.

Azure’s Relational Database platform supports Azure DW’s MPP platform, Azure SQL Database or SQL Server as PaaS, Azure Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL. So, open source databases are supported on the same relational data services platform. Azure Database for MariaDB is coming by the end of 2018.

You may be thinking, why is all this important and what does a common platform include?

  • First, Azure storage services as a foundation for all databases and all the data on the Azure platform. All data stored here, as well as Azure Databases, whether open source or SQL, are encrypted at rest.
  • Manages high availability of a solution by keeping free copies of data available for the platform at all times. So high availability built in and encryption at rest—secure and available.
  • Azure compute is the VMs supporting the compute needs of the databases. This is where you pick the cores that you want to provide scale up function. However, you’re not managing VMs, you’re managing capacity. Microsoft has taken on the task of understanding what you need from a capacity standpoint, like how do you want to scale up or down or how many v-cores do you want to set aside.
  • A key component of many things in Azure is that we can scale compute separate from storage. The database services platform sits on top of Azure storage and compute, so its strength is that the core of the solution lives in those 2 platforms. It allows support of MPP, open source and SQL databases with PaaS.
  • Databases services is where the next tier happens (or all the cool stuff). On top of the foundation, Microsoft adds a set of common components that are used across all these databases.
  • It’s a trusted platform with things like backup and restore, security, audit and isolation all managed in this service. This allows you to trust the platform and build databases with confidence in the security.
  • It’s flexible, enabling scalability and resource management within the platform. This includes features like scaling up or down on demand and adding storage as you need, giving flexibility to the platform. This is hard to do if you build this for yourself or use an IaaS solution.
  • It’s intelligent. We see big benefits in the fact that it provides monitoring, automated tuning and advisors to the platform. These are built in to make your databases better, so you can rely on good performance and know what is happening in your database when you need to.
  • Think of the third tier (after storage/compute and database services) as each unique database platform and the features each brings to your application. Whether you’re using an open source product that’s using MySQL or a SQL Server, their feature sets come forward in PaaS.

Another advantage to mention is by supporting standard SQL and managed instances, and MySQL and PostgreSQL Community Edition, it makes moving to the cloud so much easier. This open opportunities for you to migrate in clean fashion using all the capabilities of a system you’re familiar with.

Go Green with Blue Using Azure

Is your company working on ways to become more environmentally friendly? Taking care of the environment is an important topic, within organizations and around the world. You may be asking, what does Azure have to do with the environment?

Well, one thing we can do is take a closer look at our data centers. With cloud computing becoming more mainstream and adopted by more and more businesses, this is a great way to do something for the environment. You also give your company a way to get some good PR by ‘going green with blue’.

Learn more at Azure Data Week next week, see you there!

So, how does cloud computing help the environment? Let me give you 3 key reasons:

Shared economies of scale and shared resources

It’s incredible what can be done as a group within Azure. Having the ability to share resources required to write a data center can reduce your energy consumption. Plus, Microsoft is continually improving their data center engineering to reduce energy consumption on a regular basis.

Renewable energy

Microsoft works to use and purchase renewable energy as often as possible for their data center power to reduce their energy footprint. For example, they recently announced that their data center in Cheyenne, Wyoming is running entirely on wind power. You can use this as PR for your company by saying, we’re taking advantage of the investments Microsoft in making for the environment in data center management and applying that to ours as well.

Microsoft engineering is internally trying to build out more

They have partnered with the open compute project to build more efficient hardware, networks and buildings that house their data centers. You can be part of this by contributing to this open compute project and help them to improve and make it even better.

These 3 key ways – shared economies of scale, ability to use renewable energy and the open compute project – are great reasons to take your organization to the next level while proving that you care for the environment by adding Azure to your portfolio for data center work and management.