Author Archives: James Serra

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.

What is Azure Databricks?

Azure Databricks (documentation and user guide) was announced at Microsoft Connect, and with this post I’ll try to explain its use case.  At a high level, think of it as a tool for curating and processing massive amounts of data and … Continue reading

Posted in Azure Data Lake Analytics, Azure Databricks, HDInsight, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 1 Comment

Microsoft Connect(); announcements

Microsoft Connect(); is a developer event from Nov 15-17, where plenty of announcements are made.  Here is a summary of the data platform related announcements: Azure Databricks: In preview, this is a fast, easy, and collaborative Apache Spark based analytics platform optimized … Continue reading

Posted in Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL Database, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 1 Comment

Analytics Platform System (APS) AU6 released

Better late than never: The Analytics Platform System (APS), which is a renaming of the Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW), released an appliance update (AU6) about a year ago, and I missed the announcement.  Below is what is new in this release, also called … Continue reading

Posted in PDW/APS, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Comments Off on Analytics Platform System (APS) AU6 released

Azure SQL Database Managed Instance

Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is a new flavor of Azure SQL Database that is a game changer.  It offers near-complete SQL Server compatibility and network isolation to easily lift and shift databases to Azure (you can literally backup an … Continue reading

Posted in Azure SQL Database, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 4 Comments

Microsoft Ignite Big Data Presentations

There were so many good presentations at Microsoft Ignite, all of which can be viewed on-demand.  I wanted to list the big data related presentations that I found the most useful.  It’s a lot of stuff to watch and with … Continue reading

Posted in SQLServerPedia Syndication | Comments Off on Microsoft Ignite Big Data Presentations

Use cases of various products for a big data cloud solution

There are a tremendous amount of Microsoft products that are cloud-based for building big data solutions.  It’s great that there are so many products to choose from, but it does lead to confusion on what are the best products to … Continue reading

Posted in Azure Analysis Services, Azure Data Lake, Azure SQL DW, HDInsight, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 3 Comments

What’s new in SQL Server 2017 presentation

I just uploaded a new presentation called “What’s new in SQL Server 2017”.  It covers all the new features in SQL Server 2017 (which went GA this past Monday), as well as details on upgrading and migrating to SQL Server … Continue reading

Posted in SQL Server, SQL Server 2017, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Comments Off on What’s new in SQL Server 2017 presentation

Microsoft Ignite Announcements

Many product announcements were made this week at Microsoft Ignite, and I wanted to give a quick overview of all the data platform related announcements: SQL Server 2017 on Linux, Windows, and Docker, generally available on October 2nd.  SQL Server … Continue reading

Posted in SQLServerPedia Syndication | 2 Comments

Distributed Writes

In SQL Server, scaling out reads (i.e. using Active secondary replicas via AlwaysOn Availability Groups) is a lot easier than scaling out writes.  So what are your options when you have a tremendous amount of writes that scaling up will not handle, … Continue reading

Posted in SQL Server, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 9 Comments

Azure Archive Blob Storage

Last week Microsoft released a public preview of a new service called Azure Archive Blob Storage, offering customers a lower-cost cloud storage solution for rarely accessed data.  This allows for storage tiering, where organizations can place their critical data on expensive, … Continue reading

Posted in Azure, SQLServerPedia Syndication | 2 Comments