UK Data Platform Team at SQLBITS

By Mike Boswell and Ben Cooper – Data Platform Solution Architects.

As a team, we want to become more involved with the SQL Server community. Several of us have presented at SQLBITS and SQLSaturdays in the past, but admittedly, community is something we have neglected whilst working within the comfort of Microsoft and we want to put that right! We have so much to offer (and learn) as a team with many years of experience across Database, Business Intelligence, Big Data and Analytics workloads within all industries.

Starting at SQLBITS in Liverpool, several members of the team will be representing Microsoft on Friday and Saturday at the conference. Mike Boswell, Ben Cooper and Jonathon Ball will be assisting the community at the Microsoft Business Intelligence and PowerBI stand, Dan Stillwell and Farhin Khan will be at the SQL Server 2016 stand and lastly Michael Robson will be discussing and demonstrating the Cortana Intelligence Suite at the Advanced Analytics stand. Drop by and say hi!

Yesterday was the first day of precons and it's evident that the community is not only buzzing over the release of SQL Server 2016 but there is talk of how Microsoft are embracing the data platform.

Over the course of yesterday (well into the evening), there was a lot of discussion around the way Microsoft is embracing the Open Source platform and what it means to projects that the community have in mid-flow. We discussed where R could potential help healthcare firms predict patient intake and if Azure Data Factory could take over from SSIS!

There might be a 'so what' element in the reading of the above but we'd like you to think about the feedback and collaboration which is happening at SQLBITS. The community who attend are passionate… not just about data or needing to have the latest and greatest knowledge, but more about how data is embracing and changing our world. Yesterday, we learnt about keyword search ranking and how that could feed into data models - the discussion is firmly about solutions as opposed to products and emphasises the reason behind Microsoft introducing our role last year. We aim to take the customer on a data platform journey building data-driven solutions hand-in-hand with our customers.

As custodians of data, from the admin assistant to CxO, we all need to think about the data we store or generate and how it can impact our business. Gone are the days of the archaic data warehouses which sit there to feed reports. Instead we need to look at where the data is born and how we can then move this into a dev tier and a data lake, to enhance it, and then use this in a sematic/learning model to empower our users to make better decisions around our health, services and day-to-day lives.

Tomorrow James Rowland-Jones will be talking about how you can store structured data in Azure SQL Data Warehouse and our own Mike Boswell will be assisting throughout the day given his experience with the on-premises Analytics Platform System (APS). The Azure SQL Data Warehouse is an elastics data warehouse as a service built with a Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) architecture, an architecture that allows independent scaling of compute and storage in seconds. It brings together the ability to query both relational and non-relational data and was the forerunner for the Polybase feature we now have in SQL Server 2016.

On Friday and Saturday, we will all be focusing our attention to listening to the community about the issues they are seeing now and how we can empower them to take advantage of cloud scalability, resilience and insight. Please come by the Microsoft domes to say hello.

Finally, if there is one thing we'd implore you to do, sign up to attend one of the UK SQL Saturday events. They are fantastic for networking, learning and giving feedback. In the forthcoming year we have events in Manchester and Cambridge that members of the team are participating in.

Hopefully see you this week, at SQLBITS!

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