What Have I been Learning Lately?

In the past few weeks, I've been learning lots of cool things.

I learned how to create Hyper-V VMs.  In doing so, I learned how to create an Active Directory host which authenticates users to other VMs running on the laptop.

In addition, I loaded another Hyper-V for SharePoint 2010 with Performance Point.  In doing so I loaded AdventureWorks2012 and AdventureWorksDW databases in SQL-Server.  Then downloaded a sample project on the web to push the data to SSAS cubes.  Which are then exposed for querying in MDX or Performance Point or PowerView.  Or even Excel.

Next, I've downloaded Hortonworks Hadoop Sandbox 1.3 Hyper-V.  I got that working with some slight tweaks and could connect from the host machine.

Next I downloaded and installed Hortonworks HDP for Windows 1.3.  That took some time to install as there's a lot of steps.  However that's now working.  In addition, downloaded the Hortonworks ODBC and connected Microsoft SSIS to HDFS and moved data to SQL Server table.

After that, I began work with Microsoft Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map for Excel 2013.  After requesting and getting authorized, I signed up for PowerBI, which includes free downloadable Office 2013, SharePoint in the Cloud, PowerBI, Email Exchange and a lot more.  I created a Gateway to my local pc, created a Data Source pointing to SQL-Server and was able to query that data, from the Cloud, from Excel Power Query, after signing into the Account.  Not too shabby.  From there, can load into Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map.

I was also able to query HDFS from Excel Power Query.  I actually did a live demo this past Saturday with mixed results, my Laptop wasn't cooperating and Power Query froze after setting first column as headers.  I continued with the demo and showed HIVE and PIG (Grunt) from the Command Line.  And then showed off querying the web from Power Query.

Next I signed up for Windows Azure free account for 30 days.  It has SQL Servers, VMs, Mobile, Networks as well as Storage Accounts and HDInsight.  I haven't yet created anything yet, not sure how the actual billing works even on free accounts.

Lastly, I created a Yammer account for my side business Bloom Consulting.  It's cool, has lots of features, just want to get familiar with it and learn the basics.

And tonight I downloaded Hortonworks Sandbox 2.0 Hyper-V and was querying the HIVE tables within minutes of starting the VM.

There's still so much to learn.  Go deeper into Hadoop with Pig, Hive, Sqoop, Oozie, Flume, etc.  And I want to learn Power Shell still.  And lastly I'd like to kick off a c# Map Reduce job against Hortonworks Hadoop HDP 1.3 for Windows for my demo in two weeks.

So never a dull moment.  And so much to learn!

The IT Spats Continue

Since I got into IT, there has been raging debates over just about everything.

First there was VB6 vs .  Object Oriented purists wanted more than Visual Basic 4,5,6 could offer.  Microsoft ventured forward with Dot net without much concern for the VB developers.  Move foward or get left behind.  However, VB6 and ASP still exist in many IT Shops today.

Then c# vs Java.  Microsoft got in trouble with their J# so they conjured up a new (almost identical) language called c sharp.  It competes head on with Java.  What I like is MS offers a single IDE with multiple languages (VB.net, F#, C#, they even have Cobol for .net).  Java has many IDE and many flavors of Java.  I find it's easier to stay current with MS.  Also Java is no longer open source, it's been acquired and is somewhat propritary.

Then we have the battle between SQL Server vs Oracle.  Two giants going head to head, buying up every company they can find to integrate into a mammoth arsenol of offerings.  I worked with Oracle first 10 years of my career, front end seemed non existant except command line editing in SQL Plus, or purchase an expensive 3rd party vendor tool.  MS has grown from a fun app to an enterprise app since 2000.  Personally, I like SQL Server.

Traditional SSAS vs Tabular Model was more recent.  The cube purist who made some good bank $ for the past 10 years were upset that their bread and butter was being challenged by a more user friendly verison called Tabular.  You could get up to speed in hours, not months.  It ran in memory and was super fast.  Bottom line, SSAS cubes aren't going away anytime soon.  Learn both.

And now we are at Relational DB vs Hadoop. Vendor proprietary datbases verse Open Source unlimited storage, distributed architecture across commodity servers.  Hadoop picks up where Relational stops.  Huge volumes, complex data, unstructured.  For  now they both serve a purpose.  If you want transactional data with instant writes, choose OLTP.  If you want cubes choose OLAP.  And if you want to crunch huge volumes of data, use Hadoop.

And so, like sands through an hourglass, so are the days of our IT lives.

To the #Microsoft #Cloud

Within the past 2 days, I've signed up for Microsoft Cloud offerings:
  • Office365
  • Windows Azure
  • Yammer
  • PowerBI
Why so much activity lately.  While attending the SQL Pass summit, speaking with some of the Microsoft employees, it seems to me that all new offerings will be found in the Cloud first.

That is the easiest deployment model to get the max software to the people as quickly as possible.

Once vetted in the Cloud, based on user feedback, they will most likely create an On-Premise version next.  Once they determine a workable pricing methodology, as it gets complex rather quick.

What is enterprise, small business, educational, non-profit, personal use vs. business use, etc.

With that said, I'm jumping onboard the Cloud wagon with no plans of turning back.

Microsoft has provided a solid career since 1996 and their software offerings cover just about every facet of technology out there.

Just saying that soon everything will be in the Cloud as people's fear of privacy, data exploits and pricing are contained.

The Cloud offeres reliability, ease of use, availability, redundency, fail over, you name it.

To the Cloud!

Intro to #Microsoft #Azure

Today I created a Microsoft Azure account.

It was really easy.

Just click here:

I clicked on the Free Trial.

It knew who I was and pre-populated some fields.

You do have to enter your real phone number and have it send you a text message.

Enter the # and you are prompted to enter your real Credit Card info.

I did.  Then accept the terms and conditions and instantly your account is created.

I'm eager to get started, perhaps create a Database online, connect to it with SQL Reporting Services and maybe even spin up an HDInsight cluster.  Or maybe create a sample web site, create an online VM, who knows.  The possibilities are endless.
How simple was that?

Hedging Bets on #Data Space

With technology changing so rapidly, where are you putting your effort?

For me, working in the Data space, I'm hedging my bets.

I think Self Service BI is taking off.

Microsoft is introducing PowerBI, which is putting the data in the Cloud for collaboration, ease of use, User Security, Data Refreshes, which essentially point to On-Premise or other Cloud Data Sources.

Plus you have all the add-ons for Excel like Power Map, Power View and Power Pivot, a complete arsenol to have business users do the entire BI stack.  Give the end user the ablity to pull in their own data, mash it up and apply business rules, create reports and dashboards and push to the Cloud for collaboration and user assigned roles.

Along side Self Service BI, there's the big elephant in the room, Hadoop.  I've been learning this for some time now, attended a two week Cloudera course about 6 months ago.  Then dabbled in HDInsight and finally Hortonworks.  What I like the best about Hortonworks is they have ported the entire ecosystem to Windows.  Not only do the processes run in Windows Services, but we don't need to learn Linux at this point in our careers.  Win-win.  Also, you can now right .net code for Map-Reduce jobs, Java/Python not required.

Big Data has been a buzzword, I think it's gaining traction.  All CIO knew they should be doing Big Data to gain insight, except there was no roadmap and only a handful of exports.  The Hadoop offerings available today are plenty and more and more people are learning it's intracies.

Lastly, there's the bread and butter, traditional BI.  Reporting, ETL, Cubes, Dashboards.  These are the things that pay th bills, because tons of company's are swimming in this code and need experts to maintain, support, streamline and enhance.

So you could say I've got some skin in the game in all three scenarios.

How about you?  How are you ramping up your skills for the next wave in demand for IT skills?


Up and Running #Microsoft #PowerBI #MSBI

Here's a great tutorial on how to get started with Microsoft #PowerBI:

After requesting access to PowerBI, a few days later, I was granted permissions.

So I logged onto their site and began the registration processs:


Service Center:

Quick Start:



Service Health:


Message Center:


 Setup Licenses:
 Subscription Details:
Subscription Details2:
 Installation Complete:

 SharePoint in the Cloud:

Exchange Admin Center:
And finally, PowerBI in the Cloud!!!

From here, you can create a Gateway to establish a link between your PowerBI in the Cloud to your On-Premise data source:

Next, Install & Register:


Choose the download you want:

Thank you for downloading...
Finished Installing...
Register Gateway...
Enter Unique Code so they know it's you...
Specify Endpoint...
Congrats, it's installed...
Welcome, let's get started... 
 New Gateway (your connection to the host computer)...
Data Source Usage...
 Create your "data source"...
Run the wizard...
Test Connection was Successful...
Add Users/Groups who can access this new data...
View new Data Source...
Found here:  Use this link to download Power Query:
 Expose the tables in SQL-Server...
 Be sure you have the correct version of PowerQuery (there's 2 versions of Power Query)...
Now sign in using lower case OnMicrosoft account...

 Enter OData Feed... can find this on the Admin...Data Source...Edit...O Data Feed URL...
 Now sign in using Online Microsoft ID...
 Power Query found the tables from SQL Server located on my Hard Drive on the Laptop at my house...
Load Table/Data into Excel...

Goto Insert --> Power View -->

Quite impressive!