Passionately curious about Data, Databases and Systems Complexity. Data is ubiquitous, the database universe is dichotomous (structured and unstructured), expanding and complex. Find my Database Research at SQLToolkit.co.uk . Microsoft Data Platform MVP

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing" Einstein

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Christmas 2020 Data pictures: Data Catalogue

 A picture tells a 1000 words. Just a bit of fun collating some key points about Data Catalogues.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

PASS Summit Day 2 SQL Server Evolution

 The day two keynote was delivered by Hanuma Kodavalla a Microsoft Technical Fellow. 

He started with an interesting quote from 'Adventures of a Mathematician' by Stanislaw Ulam

"It is still an unending source of surprise for me to see how a few scribbles on a blackboard or on a sheet of paper could change the course of human affairs."

Then sharing the papers that started it all and the fact that is the 50th anniversary of Codd's paper this year.  

I was interested to learn that the Microsoft Database Research Group is an extension of the SQL product group. 

He mentioned this paper I read a long time ago “One size fits all": an idea whose time has come and gone  M. StonebrakerU. Cetinteme (2005).  The last 25 years of commercial DBMS development can be summed up in a single phrase: "one size fits all". This phrase refers to the fact that the traditional DBMS architecture (originally designed and optimized for business data processing) has been used to support many data-centric applications with widely varying characteristics and requirements. In this paper, we argue that this concept is no longer applicable to the database market, and that the commercial world will fracture into a collection of independent database engines, some of which may be unified by a common front-end parser.

He went through all the previous versions of SQL with their key features ending with SQL Server 2019.

Another key paper was mentioned

Then moved to discuss newer product features of SQL Azure Serverless and Azure Defender


SQL Server secure developments include alway encrypted and secure enclaves.

Then he mentioned the new ledger enabled tables that will be coming soon.

This was a session through history leading to strive forwards to realize Codd's and Gray's vision. It will be exciting to see what comes next. A great session for an industry person who is a database researcher.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

PASS Virtual Summit 2020 Keynote Day 1

The summit, 10-13 November 2020 is being live streamed through PASSTV.

This year’s first keynote is entitled 'Bringing the future into focus, the end to end Azure Data platform'.

Digital transformation brings change. This change of new technologies can be challenging to learn. For businesses the economies of scale can create efficiencies. The data platform has many elements BI, Analytics and AI, Hybrid Data management, relational databases, Edge and IOT, NoSQL databases, Azure Open Source Database Services (OSS databases) etc. New technologies can help save time. It is good news that the DBA’s key skills are transferable.

Azure services consist of SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (for lift and shift and OS level access), Azure SQL Managed Instances (for modernizing existing apps), Azure SQL Database (for build cloud apps). There is also  hyperscale for specific use cases. SQL Server workloads run best on Azure and have patching regimes.

It is good to see that Azure helps customers move at their own pace to the cloud which will enable them to pivot their company with less risk to something new. Azure SQL Server serverless means  pay only for what is required. Azure Edge is an interesting development and is now generally available.


With the complex network of applications and systems in the modern data landscape it can be difficult to connect the data to gain value. Data virtualization is an important change.

Azure Arc

Azure Arc is, I think, a real game changer to help with diverse database locations. It is a set of technologies that extends azure management and native data services outside of azure infrastructure to run across your environment even if you can’t migrate to the cloud due to data sovereignty, latency and or regulatory requirements you can still get the efficiency and agility the cloud offers with Azure Arc.

It is a versionless evergreen SQL that ensures you are always current. It provides cloud elasticity on premises which allows optimization of performance of your workloads and dynamically scale up and down without application downtime.   Azure Arc offers unified management which allows you to see your data services running on premises alongside these running on azure through a single pane of glass and manage them using familiar tools like azure portal, azure data studio and azure CLI.

Azure Arc enabled SQL Server Managed Instance and PostgreSQL Hyperscale are in Public Preview

It is possible to use features such as vulnerability assessment and advance threat protection with SQL Defender using the same rules and machine learning algorithms.

The public preview was announced for

  •          Azure Cosmos DB – Serverless for all APIs
  •          Azure Database for PostgreSQL – Flexible Server
  •          Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server
  •          Azure Cache for Redis – Enterprise

Cloud Scale analytics on Azure with Azure Synapse Analytics and Azure Databricks


Announcing public preview of new guided UI for machine learning models. Then to complete the services, Azure Synapse to analyse the data and then report  on it in Power BI completes the stack.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

SQLBits 2020 Keynote from Edge to Cloud

The keynote for the 2020 SQLBits was delivered by Rohan Kumar on 'Digital Transformation from Edge to Cloud with Azure Data' . This celebrated the tools used to achieve digital transformation at breakneck speed within months and shared the innovations just launching. The Azure Data Strategy includes various tools such as cloud databases, Azure Synapse Analytics and Power BI. These tools enable innovation anywhere, on premises, at the edge and in the cloud. 

The Azure Data Strategy includes many tools, incorporating SQL Server.

Azure SQL Edge delivers intelligence to the edge. Azure SQL Edge is generally available.

Azure Synapse offers a new class of analytics. There were two announcements Public Preview of Azure Synapse Link for Azure Cosmos DB (Synapse SQL Serverless) and Private preview of Power BI performance accelerator for Azure Synapse Analytics.

Also announced was the Public preview of Power BI app for Teams.

A keynote full of ideas for innovation, how to drive a data strategy forward and help the environment in which we live in today

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

UK National Data Strategy

The UK National Data Strategy has been published  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-national-data-strategy/national-data-strategy There are 4 interconnected pillars listed:

  • data foundation
  • data skills
  • data availability
  •  responsible data


The National Data Strategy is an ambitious growth for building a world leading data economy. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-data-strategy

A summary of the evidence reviewed and evidence gaps can be found here


The mission is to

Unlocking the value of data across the economy.

Securing a pro-growth and trusted data regime. 

Transforming government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services. 

Ensuring the security and resilience of the infrastructure on which data relies

Championing the international flow of data

It builds upon initiatives such as the Industrial Strategy, the AI Review, the AI Sector Deal and the Research and Development Roadmap – setting out a framework for how we approach and invest in data to strengthen our economy and create big opportunities for us in the future. 

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Microsoft Ignite 2020 - digital event

 It is exciting to see  Microsoft Ignite be a digital event experience on September 22-24, 2020. Despite this being a strange year the 

The sessions catalog is here.The catalog contains some amazinf learning experiences. The session Building Digital Resilience with Satya Nadella will be an interesting session to watch. I find Satya Nadella such an inspirational speaker.

Have you completed your event list?

🗹 Register 🗹 Download Digital Swag 🗹 Schedule sessions 🗹 Schedule Fun & Wellness breaks 🗹 Get favorite comfy outfit

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Spark + AI Summit Europe has evolved

Spark + AI Summit Europe is Expanding and Getting a New Name: Data + AI Summit Europe. In November 2020, there will be the launch of the inaugural Data + AI Summit Europe, officially expanding Spark + AI Summit content and community to include all things data, with a focus on the best open source technologies for building enterprise data applications!
https://databricks.com/blog/2020/09/02/spark-ai-summit-europe-is-expanding.html .  You can also access all of the videos and slides from the 2020 virtual conference. WATCH ON DEMAND