Author Archives: James Serra

About James Serra

James currently works for Microsoft specializing in big data and data warehousing using the Analytics Platform System (APS), a Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) architecture. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence/MDM architect and developer, specializing in the Microsoft BI stack. He is a SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.

Types of NoSQL databases

A NoSQL database provides a mechanism for storage and retrieval of data that is modeled in means other than the tabular relations used in relational databases.  NoSQL is often interpreted as Not-only-SQL to emphasize that they may also support SQL-like … Continue reading

Posted in Hadoop, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 1 Comment

What is a data lake?

A “data lake” is a storage repository, usually in Hadoop, that holds a vast amount of raw data in its native format until it is needed.  It’s a great place for investigating, exploring, experimenting, and refining data, in addition to archiving … Continue reading

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Creating a large data warehouse in Azure

Microsoft Azure provides you two options when hosting your SQL Server-based data warehouse: Microsoft Azure SQL Database and SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machine.  Which one is appropriate based on the size of the data warehouse?  What are some hardware features to … Continue reading

Posted in Azure, Data warehouse, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 4 Comments

Operational Data Store (ODS) Defined

I see a lot of confusion on what exactly is an Operational Data Store (ODS).  While it can mean different things to different people, I’ll explain what I see as the most common definition.  First let me mention that an … Continue reading

Posted in Data warehouse, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 5 Comments

Presentation slides for “Building a Big Data Solution”

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Building a Big Data Solution” (Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture with Hadoop, Cloud and MPP) for Pragmatic Works today.  The abstract for my session is below and the recording will be available here tomorrow.  I hope you enjoyed it! … Continue reading

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Power BI Made Simple

In an effort to understand Power BI and all the products it encompasses, I have made this slide deck to hopefully make things easy for you: Power BI Made Simple. It is a presentation that covers all the products under the Power … Continue reading

Posted in Power BI, Power Map, Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View/Project Crescent, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 2 Comments

What is Advanced Analytics?

Advanced Analytics, or Business Analytics, refers to future-oriented analysis that can be used to help drive changes and improvements in business practices.  It is made up of four phases: Descriptive Analytics: What is generally referred to as “business intelligence”, this … Continue reading

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Microsoft product roadmap now public

Ever wonder about Microsoft’s product roadmap?  With Microsoft rapidly releases products and services, they realized the need to provide better transparency.  Well wonder no more!  They have released the Cloud Platform Roadmap Site (visit here). Roadmaps are given for: Microsoft … Continue reading

Posted in Microsoft, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 1 Comment

Power BI Designer and Power BI Dashboard

Long has the question been asked “Which Microsoft tool do I use for dashboards?”.  SSRS, Excel, PowerView, Report Builder and PerformancePoint are all candidates.  But that has all changed, and the future of dashboarding is here: Power BI Designer. The Power … Continue reading

Posted in Power BI, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 1 Comment

Using Power BI to access on-premise data

The following blog describes how to use certain cloud-based Power BI for Office 365 products (Power View and Q&A) on a Power BI Site that will reference data on-premises.  To do this you will use certain on-premise Power BI products … Continue reading

Posted in PDW/APS, Power BI, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 1 Comment