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

Saturday 30 March 2024

The Fabric Conference 2024

The first Microsoft Fabric Community Conference, took place from 26 to 28 March 2024, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It was an in person only conference and no sessions were recorded or streamed.  Great to see so many back to in person conferences, although for those not able to attend it means limited learning. 

The conference had more than 130 sessions covering various aspects of Microsoft Fabric from data warehousing to data movement, AI, real-time analytics, and business intelligence.

The Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform incorporates Microsoft Fabric, a suite of technologies that empowers organizations to harness the full power of their data. By natively integrating products across four critical workloads AI, analytics, database, and security, organizations can innovate without limits. The great advantage of fabric is that it brings together disconnected services from multiple vendors to  focus on accelerating transformation.

The four core promises of Fabric:

  • Fabric is a complete platform
  • Fabric is lake-centric and open
  • Fabric can empower every business user
  • Fabric is AI powered

There was a huge number of announcements that represent just the start of the innovation to Microsoft Fabric platform.  The full set of announcements are here. I will share separately about all the Purview announcements as these will add the depth we need to drive forward with AI. A number of other features I will blog about separately as they change how Fabric is growing. 
Mirroring in Fabric is a great addition to help with the data warehouse journey to Fabric.  
Announcing the Public Preview of Mirroring in Microsoft Fabric

Create folders and sub folders in workspaces and being able to tag Fabric items in futures will be a huge plus for compliance.
Announcing Folder in Workspace in Public Preview

Microsoft Fabric has a release plan that is documented.

Next events to look out for

Microsoft Build from 21-23 May 2024 is either in person in Seattle, Washington, or online. 

PASS Summit Community Conference  4-8 November 2024

Excited that there will be a second Fabric Conference next year 1-3 April 2025 at MGM grand, Las Vegas https://aka.ms/FabCon25

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Responsible AI Day at Microsoft

Today I took the opportunity to attend a Microsoft UK  Partner Responsible AI day at TVP in Reading. Thank you to Robin Lester and the RAI team for putting on an informative day of sessions.  I also got the opportunity to speak to Claire Dugan, a Responsible AI Advocate at Microsoft UK to discuss Governance and AI.

There are several places to get started with learning about the tools that are available to create impact assessments for projects.

It is necessary to adopt principles to create safe and explainable systems to ensure fair, transparent and safe systems are designed and deployed.  More details can be found

Monday 25 March 2024

The SQLBits 2024 Event

SQLBits 2024 was amazing as ever. The organisers creating another well choreographed event. It was held in Farnborough, the birthplace of British aviation. 

There was a huge number of tracks including all types of sessions.  

The Sessions 

The agenda covered various types of sessions

  • Tuesday Training Day
  • Wednesday 100 minute sessions to gain more depth into a variety of areas
  • Thursday General Sessions Day One
  • Friday General Sessions Day Two
  • The Free Saturday

SQLBits Extra Events

There was a wide range of extracurricular things to get involved with to enable a different slant on networking:

  • Meet the Trainer Monday 18th March, 6.30pm, The Aviator Hotel
  • Welcome Drinks and Burgers & Board Games Night Wednesday 20th March, 6pm
  • Ask the Experts Wednesday 20th March - Saturday 23rd March
  • The SQLBits Run Wednesday 20th March, 6pm & Friday 22nd March, 6am
  • User Group Bonus Sessions Thursday 21st March, 6pm
  • The Pub Quiz Thursday 21st March, 7.30pm
  • The Friday Night Party Friday 22nd March, 7.30pm

The Keynote

This was delivered by a number of speakers.

SQLBits announcements

Public Preview:  Managed Instance General Purpose Next-Gen; Migration Assessment in Azure Arc; Database Watcher.

Private Preview : T-SQL Regex; Copilot in Azure SQL Database

Learn more: 

Introducing Azure SQL Managed Instance Next-gen GP

Introducing database watcher for Azure SQL

Azure SQL migration assessment enabled by Azure Arc

Introducing Copilot in Azure SQL Database

Sunday 24 March 2024

SQLBits Buddies 2024

I was part of a team of helpers at SQLBits who are Bits Buddies. We are all experienced helpers and have attended lots of SQLBits. We are dedicated to help attendees who might want a bit of extra company and support, whether it’s a persons first time at the event or a regular attendee at the event.

We ran pre event meet up opportunities in the run up to SQLBits. The weekly drop ins for delegates and those interested in attending for an informal chat about the experience of attending SQLBits and to make connections before the event. It was nice to meet a few people before the event. This year the bits buddies wore orange hats so we could be seen easily around the venue.  It was really nice to speak to people at the event and help with questions. Till next year.

Saturday 23 March 2024

Data Toboggan Slide Preparation at SQLBits

This year SQLBits Thursday 21 March 2024 , added User Group Bonus Sessions.  It was announced as

After the main sessions, two UK user groups are running sessions that you’re welcome to join:

-  London Fabric User Group - SQL Bits Special - Ask Me Anything Panel (Gate 4)

-  Data Toboggan - Ask the Fabric Experts (Gate 1)

Running from 18:00 - 19:00, each with a panel of experts ready to answer questions or discuss hot topics.

Data Toboggan Slide Preparation ran its FIRST in person User Group hosted by Richard Munn at SQLBits.

The panelist were  Richard Munn, Dr Victoria Holt,  Cathrine Wilhelmsen, Mark Pryce-Maher, Emilie Rønning and Andy Cutler taking questions from the audience.

James Reeves reported 

'Data Toboggan User Group Celebrates First In-Person Meetup

🎉 The Data Toboggan user community recently celebrated an exciting milestone: their first-ever in-person meetup. After connecting and collaborating online, members finally had the chance to gather face-to-face and connect with fellow data enthusiasts who share a passion for uncovering insights through data.

💡 A highlight of the gathering was a session focused on Microsoft Fabric, a comprehensive analytics and data platform. Attendees engaged in a lively discussion about how tools like Microsoft Fabric are revolutionizing the field of data analytics and shaping the future of the industry.

🙌 The organizers expressed their gratitude to everyone who made the meetup possible and to all who participated. The energy, enthusiasm, and sense of community at the event were truly remarkable. They look forward to more opportunities for the Data Toboggan user group to connect, both virtually and in person.' 

Saturday 16 March 2024

MVP Global Summit 2024

MVP Summit took place in person in Seattle or virtually this year from 12-14 March 2024.  I attended virtually this year due to SQLBits being the following week.  It was good to catch up with people and engaging in learning and sharing thoughts on new technology. It is always an amazing privilege to be a part of this community, that continually share knowledge with the community to help everyone grow and learn. The image of me was created using the prompt below in Microsoft designer.

Friday 8 March 2024

Data Toboggan Slide Preparation: Ask The Fabric Experts at SQLBits

We are really excited to announce that the Data Toboggan user group Slide Preparation will be holding its first ever 'in-person' event at #SQLBits thanks to their amazing community ethos.
Date: Thursday 21 March 2024

If you're going to be at SQL Bits for the conference anyway just come along, but if you're not, there's a 'User Group Only' option on the SQL Bits event registration page - just select 'User Group Attendee - Thursday Evening', fill in your details, and select the Data Toboggan event on the next page. Registration is at https://events.sqlbits.com/2024

We’re thrilled and thankful to SQL Bits for letting us put on our first ever in-person meeting ! Join us for an ‘Ask Us Anything’ panel session - we’ve got some great contributors lined up and ready to answer your questions on anything #MSFabric, from Data Engineering to Governance, we’ve got you covered. 

International Womens Day 2024


International Women’s Day 2024, celebrates women’s achievements, progress, and equality.  The official campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is 'Inspire Inclusion'. When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we create a better world.

Historical Roots

The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was held in March 1911.

IWD transcends borders, organizations, and groups—it’s a day of collective global activism.

World-renowned feminist Gloria Steinem once emphasized that the struggle for equality belongs to all who care about human rights.

Investing in Women: Accelerating Progress

The overarching theme for 2024 is 'Invest in women: Accelerate progress'. It underscores the importance of creating an inclusive society and empowering women. IWD celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

The idea of IWD traces back to the 1908 labour movement in New York. Women garment workers marched, demanding better pay, shorter working hours, and voting rights. The movement was spearheaded by the Socialist Party of America.

Just a few of the remarkable women who have made significant contributions to science and technology:

Ada Lovelace

Born in 1815, she was the world’s first computer programmer. Collaborated with Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine,  creating the first algorithm intended for implementation on this early mechanical computer.

Grace Hopper

She was a trailblazing computer scientist who invented the compiler. Her work led to the development of the high-level programming language COBOL, which revolutionized software development and paved the way for modern programming languages.

Tiera Guinn

A 21-year-old aerospace major at MIT. Working on building a powerful rocket for NASA. Inspiring others with her determination and vision.

Marie Curie

Pioneered research in radioactivity. The first woman to win the Nobel Prize (jointly with her husband) in 1903.

Elizabeth Blackwell

First woman to graduate from medical school in the US. She founded a medical school for women in England.

Dr. Mae C. Jemison

First African American woman in space. She holds degrees in chemical engineering and medicine. She served as a Peace Corps medical officer.

Caroline Herschel

Caroline Lucretia Herschel born in 1750 was a German-born British astronomer, whose most significant contributions to astronomy were the discoveries of several comets, including the periodic comet 35P/Herschel–Rigollet, which bears her name

Williamina Fleming

Cracked the secrets of the universe with computation.

Worked at the Harvard College Observatory in the late 1800s. These women have left an indelible mark on science and technology, inspiring generations to come.

Friday 1 March 2024

Mirroring in Microsoft Fabric

Mirroring in Fabric was announced  in November as coming soon.  When i first heard the term I immediately thought of the deprecated SQL Server Database mirroring term. However the summary from Ignite shared on the MSSQLTips site

There are a few capabilities announced so far

Real-Time Data Replication

No complex setup or ETL processes. Data is replicated reliably and in real-time.

An initial snapshot captures the data, followed by continuous synchronization with every transaction (inserts, updates, deletes).

Mirroring uses Change Data Capture (CDC) technology, transforming it into appropriate Delta tables and landing it in OneLake.

Intelligent logic ensures efficient replication without unnecessary compute usage.

Access and Management

Any database can be accessed and managed centrally within Fabric.

By providing connection details, your database becomes instantly available as a Mirrored database.

Familiar database editors allow seamless management.

Data Warehousing Simplified

Each Mirrored database includes default data warehousing experiences via a SQL Analytics Endpoint.

Whether a SQL developer or a citizen developer, querying is easy using the T-SQL editor with full Intellisense or the visual query editor.

What's next

Initially the article proposes Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL DB and Snowflake will be able to use mirroring. You can read more here.