Thursday, November 30, 2017

Resources from the PASS community this coming month

Even though it is December, I noticed a lot going on for FREE in the PASS Microsoft Data Technology community. The first interesting one is a PASS Marathon: Linux!!! Here is the link. Never thought I would see something like this related to PASS. But it is here, so take advantage of it.


As with all PASS marathons or 24 Hours of PASS events, they are recorded and you can watch later.


The other events center around SQLSaturday and Virtual Chapters.

SQLSaturday has events this coming month or 2 in Montevideo, Lima, Slovenia, Providence, Washington DC, Nepal, Malaysia and Nashville. SQLSaturday are free events on a Saturday (though I have seen one on Friday) and you can interact with speakers and attendees.


The Virtual Chapters are online and feature a wide ranges of topics like Azure Automation, Containers and Clones, SQL Server 2017 Deep Dive, etc. by speakers Taiob Ali, Paul Stanton and Bob Ward.


One of the slides in the decks for PASS Summit encourages attendees to get all you can from this community. Whether it is networking, learning or volunteering, there is always something to keep you busy in the world of Data with Microsoft technologies. Please jump in. I did!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

IT Dev Connections 2017

The IT Dev Connections conference was in San Francisco, CA this week. While I did not spend any time as a tourist, I did mingle with attendees and speakers. It was nice to sit with Grant, Andrew, Mindy, Kevin, Tim, Monica, Daniel and Meagan for dinner Monday night.

IT/Dev Connections

I attended a workshop on Friday about Azure. The speaker, John Savill did a great job the first half and helped me understand some fundamentals about Azure Infrastructure but the second half got me lost with IPs and Express Connections. Some of the pricing was interesting and I am going to try the Analysis Service in Azure soon.

Breakfast and Lunch was nice talking with attendees and speakers. I met Bruce with HP and even bumped into Ben DeBow in the lobby.

Tuesday I spoke on Self Service BI with Power BI. It was well attended (45-50 in a 60 seat room). Not many questions during the presentation and a few at the end. I shortened the talk to 1 hour (from 75 minutes) because it usually gets rushed at the end because of questions during the session. That did not happened, so it ended early but no one complain. Lunch was next on the schedule.

I did attend Victor’s session on Business Case for using SQL on Linux, Anthony’s session on Networking Internals for SQL Professionals (really good, lots info an he explains a lot really quickly with good demos) and Meagan’s talk on Azure Data Factory. Victor’s was good and Meagan explain a lot. The Data Factory is interesting but it looks v2 would be the time to start using, not v1.

The last session I did was Deploying with SSIS 2016. Not as many attendees (~20) but a couple were nodding their heads frequently and only one sleeper. The sleeper actually asked more questions at the end, so maybe his eyes were just closed the whole time.

IT Dev Connections was at a really nice hotel by Union Square in San Fran, but I heard some talk about it being expensive. That was really the only complaint. Food was great and logistics cool being in the hotel for the rooms and conference. Not a lot of walking but enough to get some exercise.


Looking forward to Dallas next year (Oct 15-18 maybe) – Rod Trent announced this on Monday night. He is really excited about IT Dev Connections and promotes well. It was nice to eat lunch with him and others on Monday and get scoop on the event.

Next week is the PASS Summit, so on to the next conference.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

SSAS Tabular DirectQuery–No Hierarchies in Dimensions

I recently was testing DirectQuery to see the reporting differences in a Tabular Model. After Deploying to a development server and analyzing in Excel, the hierarchies for the Date and Product dimension were not available. SQL Server 2016 SP1 was used in this example.


You can go to this like from Microsoft about more limitations.

There was also difference in labeling when designing a Tabular Model in Visual Studio (SQL Server Data Tools – SSDT) and making a change to the Model from SQL Server Management Studio – SSMS.

In SSDT, The Property for the Model is DirectQuery and the values are On and Off.


In SSMS, The Property is Default Model and the values are DirectQuery and Import.


Not sure which I like better. But, what you are able to do is Deploy a model built with DirectQuery Off (with hierarchies), then change the property in SSMS on the database, and see the changes. Or vice versa. If you are previewing the DirectQuery Off Mode in Excel before making the change, when the data is refreshed, the hierarchies are removed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Elect The Next PASS Board Members

The PASS board elections are coming up and there is a twitter chat event to ask questions to the candidates before you vote. Both tweeter events will be on Tuesday September 19th at noon central and 3PM central. The hashtag will be #PASSelections, so join the conversation and ask questions in order to get a better idea of the candidates.

The voting begins on Wednesday September 20th (the next day) and you will be able to go to to watch campaign videos of each candidate. They will answer about 4 questions (the same 4 questions) in a short video.


These changes to the campaign were asked to happen by the community, so if you have more comments about the campaign process, email PASS. Check your email this week for more information about the elections and where to find additional stuff on the candidates.

Remember, these members are volunteers in the SQL Community (or the Microsoft Data Technology community) that want the best for our wonderful network of professionals.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Analysis Services Series on SQLShack

Please visit for new articles on many facets of SQL Server. I have been trying my best to document how to create SQL Server Analysis Service databases with Multidimensional Cubes as well as Tabular Models.


The start was a Best Practices article for Dimensional Modeling and other items that help with a smooth transition to creating an SSAS database. Here is a link to that article.

The flow of the articles starts with the multidimensional cube, then the next article shows tabular.


After the best practices, I move to connecting to a data source, then creating attributes and measures.

Even though people are using Power BI more than Analysis Services, eventually when their systems get to large, they are going to have to find an enterprise solution for modeling the data. I do not believe that modeling in Power BI is very sustainable.


With the Microsoft push for Cloud First development, Analysis Services in Azure will be the next big item. If you have not already seen, you can import a Power BI Model into Azure Analyssi Services. Tabluar is in Power BI not Multidimensional Cubes. So, you better start learning tabular and maybe start new projects in Tabular Model Analysis Services.

Friday, July 21, 2017

SQLSaturday Baton Rouge #628 2017

Come join around 500+ attendees and speakers learning and networking at the LSU College of Business – Business Education Complex on Nicholson Drive Extension in Baton Rouge on Saturday July 29th 2017 8AM till 5PM. There will be plenty of MVPs and other experts in the areas of SQL Server, Business Intelligence, Microsoft Data Platform, .Net, SharePoint, System Administration and more. The schedule is located here.

My session is on What is new in Analysis Services? I will try to cover some of the neat things I see that are helpful as well as try to encourage you to watch blogs because SQL Server is starting to be released more frequently, like every year.

Steve Jones from SQLServerCentral.Com and RedGate will be there with sessions Branding Yourself for a Dream Job and Bringing DevOps to the Database.

Stay till the end and see if you can win a prize from all the wonderful Sponsors and please Thank them.

Remember this event is FREE!!!


Monday, June 19, 2017

PASS Board Elections

Well, it is almost that time of the year again. Elections for the PASS Board.


This is a great way to show your passion for this wonderful community of SQL Server or now, Microsoft Data Professionals. It looks like it is getting harder and harder for someone to come up with a general description of the members in this Global User Group. I see we are now going back to our roots with investing in the Developer side of the industry.

The upcoming dates and other election information you need to keep in mind are available from these links:

Upcoming Dates

Election Process

NomCom Changes from last year

I hope ya’ll all participate in this process that elects leaders with a desire to move PASS forward while maintaining over education and networking opportunities for SQL Server professionals.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

SQLSaturday Pensacola and Houston

I have the honor of being selected to speak in Pensacola and Houston this month. Pensacola has been a great place for SQLSaturday and it is no different than Houston. Both have active PASS community volunteers that love to host a learning event for free.

Both events have conference level 60 minute sessions by MVPs, MCMs and other prefessionals. AND IT IS FREE!!! Well, sometimes they charge for lunch.


Here is the schedule for Pensacola this weekend Jun 3rd, 2017 -

What is Power BI?

Do you want to know what all the fuss (or excitement) is about concerning PowerBI? Then, this session is for you. We will walk through the process and marketing of what now is Power BI. Reports will be developed and displayed as well as the history of development of Power BI and what to look out for in this ever changing application. You will also learn that this tool is not replacing the Data Warehouse and Architect positions. Actually, it will produce more work for us (DBAs, Architects, etc.) It is another reporting option Microsoft that is positioning itself in the changing world of Business Intelligence

And here is Houston’s on Jun 17th -

Business Analytics in SQL Server 2016

Ever wonder what’s going on with Microsoft Business Intelligence features? Is everything going to the Cloud, or can I still rely on my own servers to design systems? Well, this session is for you. We are going to spend hours on looking at the new features of SQL Server 2016 that will help you create on premise solutions for you company or clients that complement the solutions you have already built. SQL Server 2016 not only gives you new tools like R integration and Mobile Reporting, but enhances Analysis Services and Reporting Services you have been using for years

You will leave with a comforting feeling that Microsoft is not leaving you behind if you do not or cannot go to the Cloud. Perhaps we shall see the thunder of BI love to what we know best and to succeed in the future

See ya soon!!!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Power BI Report Server–Trial

I just installed the Power BI report server following @SQLDusty YouTube 13 minute Step-by-Step video. You have to download both the Power BI Report Server and a new Power BI Desktop. Once installed, it is easy to get your Power BI Report onto the Server if it is developed on the same machine/server as the Power BI Desktop. But it took me a little while to get a Report published from my client machine to out development server.


In the upper right of managing the Power BI Report Server, there is a menu for Manage folder. Here, we needed to add my domain ActiveDirectory Account to the Content Manager role.


Once I did that, the Power BI Report created on my client could get Deployed/Published. Or, maybe I should say Saved As. Yes, to save the report from Power BI Desktop, you got to go to the File/Save As… menu to post to a Power BI Report Server. You do not Deploy or Publish. Kinda of wierd, but it works.

Then, you are prompted for the ReportServer name.


If you click OK and get an error, you do not have permissions. Go to the Manage Folder in the Power BI Report Server and add your AD account as a Content Manager,


When you have permissions…


Thursday, May 11, 2017

PASS Summit Call for Speakers

Yesterday was the first day to submit sessions for the PASS Summit 2017 in Seattle on Oct 30th thru Nov 3rd. Oct 30th and 31st are for pre-conference sessions (all day workshops) and this year there is no open call for these sessions. Not sure the selection process because it seems to be behind the scenes, but apparently feedback from attendees is driving a change in quality and content.

PASS Summit 2017

Here is a link to the Call For Speakers. It has been a blessing to have spoken at the last 6 Summits and attending 9 out of the last 10. There is so much to take in at a PASS Summit, and it took me about 3-4 years to learn how to make the most out of this conference.

The Summit tracks have changes, so go here to get the list. The open call for speaker closes on May 24th, so get busy with your submissions. There is also a limit of 3 session submissions and only for the 75 minute and 10 minute Lighting Round.

The Speaker Resource page is a great area of information about speaking at the Summit. There is even a Submitted Sessions page, once you login in, to see what has already been submitted.

You can also go to the Blog page of the site to see board members explain the new speaker selection process.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Excel BI VC presents Prathy Kamasani–Power BI Dashboards for Excel Users


Thu, Apr 27 2017 20:00 GMT Daylight Time

Power BI Dashboard within an hour for Excel users


Power BI Dashboard within an hour for Excel users

If you are an experienced Excel user or Someone in your organisation mentioned about Power BI and you want to understand what you can do with it, then this session is for you. In this demo-focused session, Prathy will show how one can extract, transform, analyse and visualise the data using Microsoft Power BI. She will give a quick introduction to different features of Power BI, some of them are similar to Excel, and some are pretty new relate to Excel. Prathy will also talk about resources More...

Prathy Kamasani is a Microsoft Valuable Professional working as an independent MSBI contractor based in London. She specialises in Power BI, SSIS, SSAS and SSRS. Prathy organisers London Power BI user group and co-organises London PASS Chapter. She is a regular speaker at events like SQL Saturdays and local user groups.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

SQLShack Arcticle and Upcoming PASS Events

The latest article on SQLShack continues on the path of Data Warehouse development with SQL Server Analysis Services. The first step after designing the Data warehouse is conneting to the Data Source. All good DW implementations have a central database to store the data. Analysis Services is a great tool to centralize the business logic (or intelligence) - Connecting to Data Source(s) with SQL Server Analysis Services

Upcoming PASS Events

24 Hours of PASS – 24 back to back session June 29th-30th 2017

BA Marathon Recordings – Business Analytics last virtual sessions

Virtual Groups

Streamline SQL Implementations - Prakash Heda

In-Memory OLTP - What can it do for me? - Martin Catherall

Effortless Backups with Minion Backup - Jennifer McCown

Initial impressions of SQL Server v.Next Public Preview - Haidong Ji

Indexes: Everything You Wanted to Know -- Help or Hinder - Mike Byrd

ColumnStore Index in SQL Server 2016 and Azure SQL Database - Sunil Agarwal




SQLSaturday #594 - Edmonton 2017



SQLSaturday #621 - Silicon Valley 2017



SQLSaturday #623 - Israel 2017



SQLSaturday #598 - Costa Rica 2017



SQLSaturday #607 - Calgary 2017



SQLSaturday #619 - Rochester 2017


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SSIS Articles on SQLShack

Please check out for three articles on SSIS. I wrote them based on using the SSIS Catalog and Project Parameters created in SQL Server 2012 and improved on in the next 2 releases. Project parameters are a big deal in SSIS for changing values when executing a package or packages. The parameters are at the project level so you only have to change them once to effect multiple packages.

I use a simple example like changing the database name and server (instance) name for the Project level Connection Manage WHICH is another big change for SSIS. Starting in 2012, you can share connections among packages in a project. Enjoy!!!

Parametering Database Connection in SQL Server Integration Services

Deploying Packages to SQL Server Integration Services Catalog (SSISDB)

How to execute a Deployed Package from the SSIS Catalog with various options

Friday, March 17, 2017

PASS Excel BI VC: Improvements to Excel Pivot Table

Please join the PASS Excel Business Intelligence Virtual Group onn March 22nd 11AM Eastern for Microsoft’s Program manager Alexander Lahuerta. The presentation will be shorted than typical meetings, lasting 20-30 minutes.

But, the session will provide great insights into changes in Excel Pivot tables. You can register for the session at or

Featured Presentation:  Improvements to Excel Pivot Tables
Alexander Lahuerta, Program Manager Microsoft

The Excel team is working on several interesting new features to Excel. Join us to take a look at some really interesting improvements to Excel that are soon to be released.

About Alexander:
I’m a Program Manager on the Excel Team at Microsoft. I’ve been here for three and a half years. For the past two years, I’ve been diving deep into Business Intelligence and making it easier for people to dig into their data. I want you to love PivotTables as much as I do.

Wed, Mar 22 2017 15:00 (UTC+00:00) Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London

Improvements to Excel Pivot Tables


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Upcoming PASS Events

There is a new website from PASS. Go to instead of The change does not really concern me but marketing is something I am not into…yet!!!

The one thing I do like is the formatting when viewing on a mobile device. That is very nice. Here is what I found coming up in the PASS community.


BA Marathon – Business Analytics

There will be six back-to-back live webinars and the next BA Marathon will be spring 2017.

While you wait, why not access recordings from previous Marathons?


Here are some Virtual Chapter Recordings

SQL Server DBA Tips That Can Save Your A$$ -- Part 2 - Guy Glantser

Implementing New Security Features in SQL Server 2016, Part 2 – sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise - Ronen Ariely

Why Your Data Type Choices Matter - Andy Yun

Implementing (and cracking) new Security Features in SQL Server 2016, Part 1 – sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise - Ronen Ariely

Take Power BI Visualizations to the Next Level - Reza Rad

Azure SQL Database Elastic Pool – introduction and usage scenarios – sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise - Kun Cheng

How SQL Server 2016 SP1 Changes the Game - Parikshit Savjani

Advanced Power BI: Solving the Hard Problems - Devin Knight

An (Advanced) Introduction to DAX - Eugene Meidinger


Here are some upcoming SQLSaturdays

25 FEBRUARY - SQLSaturday #585 - Boston 2017


25 FEBRUARY - SQLSaturday #589 - Pordenone 2017


25 FEBRUARY - SQLSaturday #596 - Denver - BI Edition 2017


04 MARCH - SQLSaturday #603 - Dallas - BI Edition 2017


11 MARCHSQLSaturday #583 - Lisbon 2017


11 MARCH - SQLSaturday #592 - Raleigh 2017


11 MARCH - SQLSaturday #600 - Chicago 2017


Friday, January 27, 2017

Upcoming PASS Free Training

Here is a list of the upcoming PASS Virtual Groups and SQLSautrday Events.

January, 2017


Introduction to Oracle SQL and PL SQL

More Details

February, 2017


Linux OS Fundamentals for the SQL Admin

More Details



More Details


Why Physical Database Design Matters By Kimberly L. Tripp

More Details


Partitioning Basics: Treating your tables like Lego

More Details


Detecting and Preparing for Corruption

More Details


Converting Unreliable Deployments Into Consistent Releases

More Details


Why Your Data Type Choices Matter

More Details


Feb 04, 2017    SQLSaturday #595 - Cleveland 2017

Feb 11, 2017    SQLSaturday #582 - Melbourne 2017

Feb 18, 2017    SQLSaturday #587 - Sydney 2017

Feb 18, 2017    SQLSaturday #586 - Guatemala 2017

Feb 25, 2017    SQLSaturday #589 - Pordenone 2017

Feb 25, 2017    SQLSaturday #596 - Denver - BI Edition 2017

Feb 25, 2017    SQLSaturday #585 - Boston 2017

Mar 04, 2017    SQLSaturday #603 - Dallas - BI Edition 2017


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Upcoming SQL Server Events from PASS

There are many ways to reap benefits from being a member of the PASS Global Community. Today, as I write this blog, I glance over at twitter for hash tag #SQLSatNash and see all the speakers, volunteers and attendees express their love of this free event. You really never see “bad” tweets about one of these events.

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SQLSaturday is just one of the many ways to earn about Microsoft Data Technologies. Click this link to see if an event is coming close to your town or city.

24 Hours of PASS happens a couple of times a year when there 24 hours of consecutive sessions. This is a Free event online.

Another way is to watch a virtual user group online for free. Click this link for a list of Virtual User Groups. Below is a list of upcoming events. This list can be viewed on the main page of for your profile after you login.

Upcoming Events of Interest

There is a View All link to see a drill down of all the events.

Paid events include Pre-conference sessions at SQL Saturday, a week of sessions at the SQL PASS Summit and the Business Analytics area just had their first Day of Business Analytics in Chicago.

An individual can create many ways to take advantage of these resources to advance in his or her career. I have seen many people get involved with PASS and totally change the direction of there career. Some in consulting, some with a new company or some even get to work for some of the great software companies that are sponsors of PASS events. Start at to find out what you can do to help in your current career or trying something new.