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

Friday 22 December 2023

The art and science of prompting in Copilot for Microsoft 365

Prompt engineering has recently sprung up. It is how you ask a Copilot to do something.  It is like summarizing and explaining what to do. Microsoft have created a set of resources to guide you through the art and science of it.  

The full guide on the art and science of prompting. There are useful featured prompts for generating ideas, help me write an email etc.

The Prompting do's and don't can be found here.

Monday 11 December 2023

Responsible AI - Metaprompt engineering

Metaprompt design is crucial for generative AI applications. 

The process of grounding or retrieval augmented generation (RAG) is the process of grounding your model on relevant context. This grounding can significantly improve the overall accuracy and relevance of the model outputs. 

Azure AI Studio can help you quickly and securely ground models on structured, unstructured, and real-time data, including data within Microsoft Fabric.

'A metaprompt, or system message, is a set of natural language instructions used to guide an AI system’s behavior (do this, not that)'. (see below)

The grounding data should be used by the metaprompt and enforce rules that help stop harmful content generation or user manipulations like jailbreaks or prompt injections.

Summary of responsible AI best practices for a metaprompt

ProMetaprompt engineering techniques

Infuse responsible AI tools and practices in your LLMOps

Watch the 45-minute Introduction to Azure AI Studio course on Microsoft Learn.

Saturday 9 December 2023

Copilot Studio implementation guide

I came across this excellent resource, the Microsoft Copilot Studio implementation guide.  It covers

a 360-degree review of your project covering

  • Project overview
  • Architecture overview
  • Language
  • AI capabilities
  • Integrations & channels
  • Security, monitoring & governance
  • Application lifecycle management
  • Analytics & KPIs
  • Fit-gap & top requests
  • Dynamics 365 Omnichannel 

Guidance and best practices

Reference architecture examples

Download it from https://lnkd.in/d5h-binr 

Friday 8 December 2023

Bath Azure User Group - December Meetup

The second meeting of the Bath Azure User Group  was on Thu, Dec 7, 2023, 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM held at Cloud Direct, The Vaults, 1 Bartlett Street, Bath, England, GB, BA1 2QZ

The December meeting  had an exciting packed agenda:

Unpacking the Ignite Book of News - Richard Cheney, Luke Fussell

Boosting your Azure CLI with OpenAI - Ira Rainey

The Most Valuable Professional Program - Dr Victoria Holt

I talked about the the program helping the community learn and grow and the passion for working with cutting-edge technology.

There lots of Pizza and plentiful Azure discussions.  A fun night.

Monday 4 December 2023

Data Toboggan Winter Edition 2024

We are pleased to announce that Data Toboggan will return for its 4th year on Saturday 3rd February 2024. Our 2 track virtual conference covering covering all aspects of Azure Synapse Analytics and Fabric including Dedicated SQL Pools, Serverless SQL Pools, Spark, Pipelines, Data Engineering, Power BI, Machine Learning, and much more!

Imaged created in https://designer.microsoft.com/

Saturday 2 December 2023

Live view in Microsoft Purview

Live view in Microsoft Purview is in preview. Live view is a place that users with data access permissions can find Azure resources and their data assets in the Microsoft Purview Data Catalog without set-up or scanning.  The metadata of the resources is immediately available when you access the free or enterprise versions of Microsoft Purview. 

There are some limitations for live view for Microsoft Fabric:

  • Personal workspaces aren't supported yet in live view.
  • Only Microsoft Fabric item level metadata are available in live view.
  • Power BI Datasets don’t support showing schema in live view if the item hasn’t been scanned.
  • Dataflow Gen2 (Preview) items are displayed as Dataflow items.

Microsoft Fabric items  that will be available in the Microsoft Purview Data Catalog using live view are:

Wednesday 29 November 2023

A Generative AI course for beginners

Microsoft Cloud Advocates have created a new set of training materials to enable the learning of the fundamentals of building Generative AI applications with a 12-lesson comprehensive course. Each lesson covers a key aspect of Generative AI principles and application development. Throughout this course, you will be building your own Generative AI start up so you can get an understanding of what it takes to launch your ideas. The agenda is below.

Lesson Link
Course Introduction - How to Take This Course
Concepts Taught

Tech setup and course structure
Learning Goal
Setting you up for success while learning in this course

Introduction to Generative AI and LLMsConcept: Generative AI and the current technology landscapeUnderstanding what Generative AI is and how Large Language Models (LLMs) work.

Exploring and comparing different LLMsConcept: Testing, iterating, and comparing different Large Language ModelsSelect the right model for your use case

Using Generative AI ResponsiblyConcept: Understanding the limitations of foundation models and the risks behind AILearn how to build Generative AI Applications responsibly

Understanding Prompt Engineering FundamentalsCode/Concept: Hands-on application of Prompt Engineering Best PracticesUnderstand prompt structure & usage

Creating Advanced PromptsCode/Concept: Extend your knowledge of prompt engineering by applying different techniques to your promptsApply prompt engineering techniques that improve the outcome of your prompts.

Building Text Generation ApplicationsCode: Build a text generation app using Azure OpenAIUnderstand how to efficiently use tokens and temperature to vary the model's output

Building Chat ApplicationsCode: Techniques for efficiently building and integrating chat applications.Identify key metrics and considerations to effectively monitor and maintain the quality of AI-powered chat applications

Building Search Apps Vector DatabasesCode: Semantic vs Keyword search. Learn about text embeddings and how they apply to searchCreate an application that uses Embeddings to search for data.

Building Image Generation ApplicationsCode: Image generation and why it's useful in building applicationsBuild an image generation application

Building Low Code AI ApplicationsLow Code: Introduction to Generative AI in Power PlatformBuild a Student Assignment Tracker App for our education startup with Low Code

Integrating External Applications with Function CallingCode: What is function calling and its use cases for applicationsSetup a function call to retrieve data from an external API

Designing UX for AI ApplicationsConcept: Designing AI Applications for Trust and TransparencyApply UX design principles when developing Generative AI Applications

Continue Your LearningLinks to continue your learning from each lesson!Mastering your Generative AI skills

Saturday 18 November 2023

Microsoft Fabric is Generally Available

I watched the session 

Make your data AI ready with Microsoft Fabric and Azure Databricks

Jessica Hawk, Amir Netz, Arun Ulagaratchagan, Patrick Baumgartner, Profile picture of Kristen Christensen, Justyna Lucznik

'Bring your data into the era of AI with Microsoft Fabric, a powerful all in one AI powered analytics solution for enterprises that covers everything from data movement to data science, real time analytics and business intelligence. Learn how Azure Databricks and Microsoft Fabric seamlessly work together to offer customers a modern, price performant analytics solution that helps teams turn data into a competitive advantage.'

The discussion centred around the general availability of Microsoft Fabric. Below are are few slide images from the presentation.

Here is some more information about the changes.

Prepare your data for AI innovation with Microsoft Fabric—now generally available

Microsoft Fabric, explained for existing Synapse users

Friday 17 November 2023

The new Microsoft Purview portal (preview)

The new Microsoft Purview portal helps you discover and access data security, data governance, and risk and compliance solutions for all your data in your data estate. This unified experience streamlines navigation for all Purview solutions and provides a single-entry point for settings, search, and roles and permissions management.  The risk and compliance solutions in the portal currently opens these solutions in the classic Microsoft Purview compliance portal . The portal inclusions:

New Microsoft Purview portal (preview) can be found at: https://purview.microsoft.com

The solution cards on the portal home page provide quick access to open the Microsoft Purview solutions where access has been granted. It is great to see the Purview portals coming together under one roof as this will make navigation easier. 

Thursday 16 November 2023

Microsoft Ignite 2023

An exciting introduction to Microsoft Ignite November 15 - 17, 2023. Two themes that I am excited about are the AI and Microsoft Fabric capability. 

Microsoft Ignite 2023: AI transformation and the technology driving change

The full list of changes at Microsoft Ignite are listed in the Microsoft Ignite Book of News.

In the main keynote Satya announced over 100 changes. A few of the announcements discussed in the keynote are mentioned here:

Azure Maia - The Microsoft Cloud accelerator optimized for LLM training and inference

Azure Open AI Service  updates

  • GPT-4 Turbo - Preview
  • GPT-4 Turbo with Vision - Preview
  • DALL-E 3 - Preview
  • Fine Tuning - Preview

Model catalog - New

  • Stable Diffusion
  • Code Llama
  • Mistral 7B
  • NVIDA Nemotron-3 8B

Models as a Service - announcing

  • Ready to use APIs
  • Hosted finetuning
  • Integrated with leading LLM tools

Phi-2 - Announcing

  • Built by Microsoft Research
  • 2.7 billion parameters
  • Common sense, language understanding, and logical reasoning

The Phi-2 model is changing the game in artificial intelligence (AI) and it is designed to make machines think more like humans and do it safely.

Azure AI Studio - Preview
  • Unified platform
  • Hybrid and sematic search
  • Full development lifecycle
  • Extends to Windows
  • Safe and Responsible AI
The Copilot stack is evolving with greater functionality.

Microsoft Fabric is now generally available, a data platform for the era of AI.

Azure AI Search - Deliver accurate, hyper-personalized responses in your Gen AI applications

There was also announcement of Mesh on Microsoft Teams being generally available. 

  • Copilot and avatar
  • Immersive spaces
  • No-code editor
  • Copilot and 3D space

Then finally something different Azure Quantum Elements - purpose built to accelerate scientific discovery.

PASS Community Summit 2023 Keynote 1

The PASS Data Community Summit 2023 global data conference is happening in Seattle between 14-17 November 14-17 2023.  

The first keynote 'Limitless growth, limitless opportunities: Data and innovation in an AI world' was given by  Shireesh Thota. He started talking about new technologies and how they offer limitless potential with AI, Generative AI and Real-time capabilities.  The limitiless growth with Azure and those SQL databases: SQL Server, Azure SQL, Postgres, CosmosDB and MySQL. These offer limitless scale, flexible tools, Built-in AI, Performance and Guaranteed availability. 

There are celebrations a foot due to SQL Server on Windows reaching 30 years old this year. SQL Server 2022 is the fastest adopted version of SQL Server with growth on both Windows and Linux. He also mentioned SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc with that cloud manageability for managing your entire SQL Server estate. Announcements were made

Discussions moved to Azure SQL and the family of SQL cloud in edge databases. A further announcement was made about the Azure SQL Managed Instance feature wave , that is now generally available. Azure SQL Managed instance has a free offer in preview for 12 months of free managed instance, available soon.

 What's new in Azure SQL Managed Instance?

They talked about that Cloud Modernization Journey: Evaluate, Optimize, Migrate and Modernize with ease. 

Another announcement Azure SQL Database Hyperscale will be same price as commercial OSS databases – General Available mid December.

Some further to announcements were shared

  • Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB vCore – Generally Available
  • Vector Search in Azure Cosmos DB for MongoDB vCore – Generally Available 
  • Natural language queries for Azure Cosmos DB – Public Preview
  • Azure Database for PostgreSQL Extension for Azure AI – Preview

Then concluding with the database of the future will be autonomous and intelligent, developer friendly, cost efficient, and mission critical by default.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Microsoft Cloud Innovation and Security Summit

I had the privilege to present at the The Form Rooms on Tuesday 14 November 2023 at the Microsoft Cloud Innovation and Security Summit run by Cloud Direct.  

The Forms Rooms is on a quiet street in London’s chic Covent Garden that was once a historic Victorian school that has been lovingly restored. 

My session was on 'The disruptive power of data and AI'.  About how Generative AI, Microsoft Fabric and Data Governance are the talk of the town, but without the building blocks of good quality, secure, accessible data, innovation in business is stunted. 

The talk covered how Data & AI are providing a catalyst for innovation addressing  

  • Where is Data & AI tech going
  • Why having an agile data strategy and data governance adoption path is important. 
  • How data can be a catalyst for innovation 

In today’s world technology changes and enhancements are accelerating at speed. Developments from the 1960’s took decades to move into the modern workplace. But now we see these coming to the fore with the democratisation of technology.  We moved from the 

1970s where Codd invented the relational database

To the 1990s when ‘Big Data’ became a term to address the ever-increasing large volume of data, with discussions of volume, velocity , variety and veracity. Here we saw the mention of that ever-important reference to the quality of data. 

With that grew the ‘Internet of Things’ processing more data from sensors, devices and communication networks. 

Behind the scenes world leading database researchers meet every few years to discuss the impact on practice, challenges and emerging applications. The latest output was documented in the Seattle report in 2019. One of the areas discussed was the fact that it was impractical to continue to move volumes of data between systems. We see this fundamental change in Microsoft Fabric.

And today, it is all about ‘Generative AI’ and what it can create...

There were many really interesting sessions during the conference with Innovation, AI and Security intertwined. 

Data Toboggan Alpine Coaster 2023 Agenda

Announcing the Data Toboggan - Alpine Coaster Agenda for APAC, EMEA and AMER

Sign up for Data Toboggan Alpine Coaster
Event: Friday 24th November

Monday 13 November 2023

The Asilomar AI Principles

The Asilomar AI Principles are a set of 23 guidelines for responsible AI development that aim to ensure safety, security, and rights of individuals and society. They cover various aspects of AI such as research ethics, transparency, and accountability, and are crucial for building trust in AI technology. Here is a summary of the main points:

  • Research Goal: The goal of AI research should be to create not undirected intelligence, but beneficial intelligence.
  • Research Funding: Investments in AI should be accompanied by funding for research on ensuring its beneficial use, including thorny questions in computer science, economics, law, ethics, and social studies.
  • Science-Policy Link: There should be constructive and healthy exchange between AI researchers and policy-makers.
  • Research Culture: A culture of cooperation, trust, and transparency should be fostered among researchers and developers of AI.
  • Race Avoidance: Teams developing AI systems should actively cooperate to avoid corner-cutting on safety standards.
  • Safety: AI systems should be safe and secure throughout their operational lifetime, and verifiably so where applicable and feasible.
  • Failure Transparency: If an AI system causes harm, it should be possible to ascertain why.
  • Judicial Transparency: Any involvement by an autonomous system in judicial decision-making should provide a satisfactory explanation auditable by a competent human authority.
  • Responsibility: Designers and builders of advanced AI systems are stakeholders in the moral implications of their use, misuse, and actions, with a responsibility and opportunity to shape those implications.
  • Value Alignment: Highly autonomous AI systems should be designed so that their goals and behaviors can be assured to align with human values throughout their operation.
  • Human Values: AI systems should be designed and operated so as to be compatible with ideals of human dignity, rights, freedoms, and cultural diversity.
  • Personal Privacy: People should have the right to access, manage and control the data they generate, given AI systems’ power to analyze and utilize that data.
  • Liberty and Privacy: The application of AI to personal data must not unreasonably curtail people’s real or perceived liberty.
  • Shared Benefit: AI technologies should benefit and empower as many people as possible.
  • Shared Prosperity: The economic prosperity created by AI should be shared broadly, to benefit all of humanity.
  • Flourishing: AI systems should be used to enhance the wellbeing of all sentient entities, respecting their intrinsic value and autonomy.
  • Diversity: AI systems should respect and promote the diversity of life forms, opinions, cultures, and values.
  • Common Good: AI systems should be designed and operated for the common good of humanity and the environment, mindful of the potential impact on present and future generations.
  • Cooperation: AI systems should be designed and operated to cooperate with other AI systems and with human beings, based on mutual respect and trust.
  • Human Control: Humans should choose how and whether to delegate decisions to AI systems, to accomplish human-chosen objectives.
  • Non-subversion: AI systems should not be designed or operated to subvert the values or interests of human beings or groups, or to deceive, manipulate, or coerce them.
  • Human Feedback: AI systems should solicit and incorporate feedback from human users and other stakeholders, to improve their performance and alignment with human values.
  • Meta-Ethics: AI systems should be designed and operated in accordance with the ethical principles that humans use to evaluate the morality of their actions and decisions.

For more information, you can visit the Future of Life Institute website or read the WIRED article about the Asilomar AI Principles.  Some more reading here .  Chat used to create the summary. 

Friday 10 November 2023

Microsoft Ignite November 2023

Microsoft Ignite is next week. There are lots of exciting sessions.

Online: November 15–16, 2023 PT | In Seattle: November 14–17, 2023 PT

The headline Experience AI transformation in action, online from anywhere. The session catalog is packed full of exciting content and the agenda states whether the session will be recorded or not , so helpful when planning your schedule. A few key sessions to watch.

Keynote: Microsoft Ignite opening

Wednesday, November 15 5:00 PM - 5:45 PM Greenwich Mean Time

Satya Nadella will share how Microsoft is creating new opportunity across our platforms in this new era of AI.

Keynote: Becoming an AI-Powered Organization with Microsoft Copilot

Wednesday, November 15 5:45 PM - 6:35 PM Greenwich Mean Time

Join Rajesh Jha, along with Jared Spataro and other leaders to see how Microsoft Copilot will unlock productivity and transform business process for everyone across functions and industries.

Keynote: AI transformation for your organization with the Microsoft Cloud

Thursday, November 16 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM Greenwich Mean Time

Scott Guthrie and other leaders will share how the Microsoft Cloud is uniquely positioned to help our customers transform by building AI solutions and unlocking data insights using the same platform and services that power all of Microsoft’s comprehensive solutions.

Keynote: The Future of Security with AI

Thursday, November 16 6:15 PM - 7:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time

While the new era of AI presents unprecedented opportunities to elevate human potential, it also ushers in a new set of unknowns and risks. In this session, Charlie Bell and Vasu Jakkal will share how Microsoft is delivering AI for security with Security Copilot, and how we are enabling organizations to secure and govern AI with new capabilities.

Keynote: Inside Microsoft AI innovations with Mark Russinovich

Friday, November 17 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM Greenwich Mean Time

Join Mark Russinovich, Azure CTO and Technical Fellow, for an in-depth exploration of Microsoft's AI architecture. Discover the technology behind our massive supercomputers used for foundational model training, efficient infrastructure for serving models, sustainable datacenter design, AI-aware resource management and scheduling, GPU usage optimization techniques, and advancements in confidential computing to safeguard data during processing.

Make your data AI ready with Microsoft Fabric and Azure Databricks

Wednesday, November 15 7:45 PM - 8:30 PM Greenwich Mean Time

Bring your data into the era of AI with Microsoft Fabric, a powerful all in one AI powered analytics solution for enterprises that covers everything from data movement to data science, real time analytics and business intelligence. Learn how Azure Databricks and Microsoft Fabric seamlessly work together to offer customers a modern, price performant analytics solution that helps teams turn data into a competitive advantage.

Upgrading your data estate to Microsoft Fabric and getting started Q&A

Thursday, November 16

9:30 PM - 10:15 PM Greenwich Mean Time

Looking to get started with Microsoft Fabric, but don't know where to start? Join our product experts to discuss everything from basic set up steps to migrating to Fabric from Synapse to starting a POC with departments where you want to gain traction quickly.

PASS Data Community Summit 2023

PASS Data Community Summit have revealed that they will be livestreaming 16 key sessions for free. LIVE from #PASSDataSummit 2023 in Seattle November 14-17.  From #AzureSQL, #SQLServer to #DevOps and #ChatGPT, we've got it all covered.  More details can be found in their blog post  on how to join the livestream. 

All timings are in Pacific time, and the sessions are:

Wednesday November 15

8.15-9.30am – KEYNOTE: Limitless growth, limitless opportunities: Data and innovation in an AI world

9.30-10.15am – break

10.15-11.30am – COMMUNITY: What’s New in Azure SQL and SQL Server, Data Exposed Live

11.30am-12pm – break

12-1pm – LUNCHEON: Database DevOps Luncheon: All you Ever Wanted to Know but were too Afraid to Ask

1-1.30pm – break

1.30-2.45pm – MICROSOFT: Data Warehousing Simplified in Microsoft Fabric

2.45-3.15pm – break

3.15-4.30pm – COMMUNITY: Automating Database Deployments using Azure DevOps

4.30-4.45pm – break

4.45-6pm – AWS: 3-Step Guide to Modernize SQL Server to PostgreSQL

Thursday November 16

8.15-9.30am – KEYNOTE: The New Database Landscape – Revealing Shifts and Charting the Next Horizon

9.30-10.15am – break

10.15-11.30am – REDGATE: Redgate Product Launch: Transform your software delivery with Test Data Management

11.30am-12pm – break

12-1pm – LUNCHEON: Women in Technology: Got your Back: Finding Allies at Work

1-1.30pm – break

1.30-2.45pm – INTEL: How Microsoft & Intel Power Your SQL Server environments

2.45-3.15pm – break

3.15-4.30pm – COMMUNITY: Easy Enterprise Integration with Azure PaaS Services

4.30-4.45pm – break

4.45-6pm – COMMUNITY: Accelerated Database Recovery – A Deep Dive Behind the Magic

Friday November 17

8.15-9.30am – KEYNOTE: AIOps and ChatGPT: Prepare to Ride the Next Wave

9.30-10.15am – break

10.15-11.30am – REDGATE: Cloud Migration: The Good, the Bad, and How to Plan for Success

11.30am-1.30pm – break

1.30-2.45pm – MICROSOFT: What You Should Know About Always On Availability Groups

2.45-3.15pm – break

3:15-4:30pm – MICROSOFT: Everything You Need to Know About Data Virtualization in SQL

Lots of amazing sessions to watch.

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Data Weekender 6.5

I am very excited to share that I have been selected to speak at Data Weekender 6.5 on Saturday 4 November 2023. 

The session I will be presenting is the Business Benefits of Good Governance at 9.15. See the schedule here

Data Weekender is a Pop-up and Online Microsoft Data Conference.  #DataWeekender is organised by a group of European-based Microsoft data platform professionals.  The organisers are all regular contributors to the Microsoft Data Community either via speaking, blogging, hosting conferences, and running local meetup groups. Set up during the Covid-19 pandemic this was created to provide a simple way for people to continue presenting and hopefully for people to attend and learn. Since then the conference has grown from strength to strength.