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

Thursday 24 December 2020

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a safe Christmas to all. I look forward to seeing you after Christmas at Data Toboggan. Please submit your sessions or register to attend

Christmas 2020 Data Pictures: Data Paths

 A picture tells a 1000 words. Just a bit of fun collating some ideas about a dath paths and roles in the new world.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Christmas 2020 Data Pictures: Data Artifacts

A picture tells a 1000 words. Just a bit of fun collating some ideas about data artifacts.

Monday 21 December 2020

Data Toboggan is live

Data Toboggan is a new community conference specializing in Azure Synapse Analytics. The conference will run 30 Jan 2021. It is a free community event. Something to brighten the new year with. 

The tagline is The slope that enables predictive analytics

It is about  the slope to predictive analytics. The accelerated  journey you can take. A metaphor.

The amazing logo was created by Nightingale HQ. 

The call for Speakers is open https://sessionize.com/data-toboggan

I hope you can submit a session and / or attend the event. We actively encourage new speakers and diversity and inclusion. We look forward to seeing you there.

Christmas 2020 Data Pictures: Exploratory Data Analysis

A picture tells a 1000 words. Just a bit of fun collating some ideas about a exploratory data analysis (EDA). The term first promoted by John Tukey in his seminal work in 1977. I followed these approaches in my PhD.

Saturday 19 December 2020

PASS cease operations

I read some sad news. PASS have been an amazing organization for helping me grow my data platform expertise, learn and network in the database world. The summit events will always be something to remember. They have just always been there. It is sad to have another casualty of COVID-19. 

PASS could not have anticipated the impact COVID-19 would have on the world, and on our organization. We are all reeling from what this year has been and done, and it is with heavy hearts that we must share yet one more bit of bad news from the annus horribilis that was 2020.

We are saddened to tell you that, due to the impact of COVID-19, PASS is ceasing all regular operations, effective January 15, 2021.

With the registration shortfall from PASS Virtual Summit, a lack of cashflow, and considering future obligations that PASS has on the books (i.e. 5 years’ worth of convention center and hotel agreements), PASS has no choice but to cease its operations and pursue dissolution. During our December 3rd, 2020 Board meeting, the PASS Board unanimously approved taking next steps in this unfortunate, but necessary, direction.

PASS has engaged experienced insolvency counsel and other professionals. All steps that PASS takes now are under the advice of our independent legal counsel as a part of the insolvency process. This includes communications, debt repayment, asset disbursement, conducting Board business, and all other actions.

We encourage you to take full advantage of any access that you have to PASS content between now and January 15, 2021. After that point, PASS servers will cease to function and members will no longer be able to access any PASS resources. So, in the meantime, you can watch sessions on our website, and download session recordings that you’ve purchased or that you have access to as a PASS Pro member. Please take full advantage of this exclusive content while you can.

Thank you for your support and engagement over the years. We wish you all the best.

The PASS Board

Out of ashes rises something new that shines brightly in the sky. A beacon of hope and new beginnings. Time to create a new free community conference and #sqlfamily home that utilizes technology, not just  Teams and virtual conferencing but create a virtual world with 3d imaginary of yourself for full interaction with ones peers. There needs to be a central hub as it is so important to be a part of the community to share, grow and innovate. That is what makes the #sqlfamily such a strong community.

Christmas 2020 Data Pictures: Data Acquisition Strategy

A picture tells a 1000 words. Just a bit of fun collating some ideas about a data acquisition strategy.

Friday 11 December 2020

Christmas 2020 Data Pictures: Data Strategy

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

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Christmas 2020 Data pictures: Data Governance

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

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Christmas 2020 Data pictures: Data Quality

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

Sunday 6 December 2020

Christmas 2020 Data pictures: Data Ethics

A picture tells a 1000 words. Just a bit of fun collating some key points about data ethics. The only problem is there is so much to include that one picture does include so much. 

Saturday 5 December 2020

Data Toboggan

I would like to run a virtual conference at the end of January beginning of February called Data Toboggan. The slope that enables predictive analytics. 

I would like these session types 

  • 4 ice sessions that may be short sessions for new speakers \ diversity enabled
  • snow transformative innovation sessions
  • toboggan regular session 

I think what it needs is 

  • a logo
  • website
  • sessionize for call for submissions 
  • the sessionize schedules published to the website to show local times zones and agenda
  • meetup for attendees booking
  • MSTeams for the conference sessions

I was hoping a few people would be interested and willing to help join together to bring this event to life. 

Thursday 3 December 2020

Shape Your Future with Azure Data and Analytics

The Shape Your Future with Azure Data and Analytics digital event on 3rd December 2002 shared how a unified, end-to-end platform for data and analytics builds business agility and resilience. There is an imperative for digital transformation to take place. The speed of that transformation will define an organisations future. It is that tech intensity that Satya Nadella keeps mentioning.

The ability to empower people intelligently, virtually optimise operations and transform products is the future he sees. It is this analytical power that will turn an organisation from being reactive into being proactive. This predictive power will transform organizations. Data is your most strategic asset and it should be listed as its own line as a business asset.

It was announced that Azure Synaspe became generally available.

A tool that I wasn't aware of was Azure Synapse link. Azure Synapse Link enables no complex Extract Transform and Load of data to get to the analytics.

Digital transformation is never done. It is lots of little races to improve things. Once the data foundation is built there is freedom which enables flexibility to reimage the process then automate it. Data is going to define the century in the environment and health care resilience. The ability to test hypothesis's in parallel and experiment every day transforms the efficiency and effectiveness of the world.

The many speakers talked about the core capabilities of Analytics and AI and Data Governance. Microsoft announced Azure Purview, a unified data governance platform. It will change the way businesses grow and enable predictive power. Data governance is key to gaining control over the data. Reimagine data governance as the heart of every successful data project.  Data governance reimagined with a business glossary, a trusted data dictionary and no more building manual ontologies with automated classification. As well as a linage function you can look downstream to see where all the data is being used. It see this as being amazingly helpful in supporting business. It is a data map across your data estate that will register, scan and auto classify data. A business glossary helps drive meaning. Azure Purview changes the game in governance and was a missing piece. 

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Christmas 2020 Data pictures: Data Value

 A picture tells a 1000 words. Just a bit of fun collating some key points about the value of data.

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.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Data Weekender v2

The second Data Weekender event is happening 17 October 2020. The first virtual event after lockdown was a great event so I am looking forward to attending to listen to another set of sessions.

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

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Ignite 2020 Book of News


The Microsoft Ignite 2020 book of news is a guide to the key items the Microsoft announced a Ignite. This year it is an interactive live site to explore.

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