Ed Yourdon has passed away. Ed was the originator of structured systems analysis, specifically Yourdon Structured Method. He was inducted into the Computer Hall of Fame in 1997.
Recently he worked on his photography project of people in New York City. You can see his work on Flickr.
As I looked at Ed’s bibliography, I realized that I owned almost all his books. Not just read them, but owned them. Some of them in multiple editions. His works formed the basis of my initial undergraduate education and carried through the early parts of my career. Notations, diagraming, modeling, requirements analysis, thinking before building, getting alignment with what the business needs: all of those concepts were embedded in his works and then into how I looked at business problems that could be solved with technology.
Ed was a great influence on my career as a methodologist. And later, on my love of real life photography. I loved that he shared his works on social media. It was always a joy to get a chance to chat with him at events, then later on Twitter. I’m off to find a book and spend some time with him again.
NOTE: There’s a 10% savings if you do early registration by 27 January 2016. CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW TO REGISTER.
Due to event rules, you must have a Canadian or US address to go for the medal/swag option, but if you live elsewhere, you can register under the “no swag” option. So anyone can join us.
We are repeating our efforts to be math-y runners by creating a team for #PiDay5k. Join us for a virtual run/walk/crawl. There’s great swag (Medal, t-shirt, stuff) and a chance to be part of a nerdy effort to move on Pi/Pie Day, 14 March 2016.
This isn’t competitive, much (there are some great prizes for special categories). You can cover your 5k distance how ever you want, at the pace you want…you can even spread it over several days. You can complete it on a treadmill or at your gym. Last year this fell just before a race, so Josh Fennessy (@joshuafennessy | blog ) and I walked a 5k. Then we ran a half marathon a few days later.
This year you can register for a 5k or a 10k, plus you can choose to register with a no-swag option. Just click on the button below to get signed up for the distance and package you want.
As a virtual race, you register before hand, they ship you the goods (including a race bib) and you complete your distance, then share that you completed it. It’s all on the honour system. We on #TEAMDATA (that’s you!) think the honour system is a good thing.
There’s even a kids option!
BTW, ladies, like all promotional shirt things, I recommend you size up two sizes if you want a shirt you can actually wear. Men, you likely want to size up, too.
I’ll update the #TEAMDATA roster here as we get signups. Join us in all the #nerdshirt glory of Pie, Pi and a 5k
Have questions? There’s a FAQ for that.
Registered Awesome Data Professionals:
@datachick Karen Lopez
@projmgr Rob Drysdale
Barbie Buckner, CA
Tom Bilcze, OH
Corine Jansonius , AB
Kim Medlin, NC
It’s a new year and I’ve given Thomas LaRock (@@sqlrockstar | blog ) a few months to recover and ramp up his training since our last Throwdown. The trophies from all my wins are really cluttering my office and I feel back that Tom has not yet had a chance to claim victory. So we will battling again in just a few days.
I’ll be dishing out the knowledge along with a handkerchief for Tom to wipe up his tears at SQL Saturday #461 Austin, TX on 30 January 2016. This full day community-driven event features real database professionals giving free presentations on SQL Server and Data Platform topics. All you need to do is register (again, it’s free) before all the tickets are gone.
Database Design Throwdown
Duration: 60 minutes
Track: Application & Database Development
Everyone agrees that great database performance starts with a great database design. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees which design options are best. Data architects and DBAs have debated database design best practices for decades. Systems built to handle current workloads are unable to maintain performance as workloads increase.Attend this new and improved session and join the debate about the pros and cons of database design decisions. This debate includes topics such as logical design, data types, primary keys, indexes, refactoring, code-first generators, and even the cloud. Learn about the contentious issues that most affect your end users and how to avoid them.
One of the other great benefits of attending these events is that you get to network with other data professionals who are working on project just like yours…or ones you will likely work on at some point.
Join us an other data pros to talk about data, databases and projects. And make sure you give a #datahug to Tom after the Throwdown. He’s gonna need it.
…and you should join me.
On 2 February I’ll be speaking at TECHUnplugged Austin, Texas. This event, which has free registration, focuses on how technology innovation is changing business and IT.
TECHunplugged is a full day conference focused on cloud computing and IT infrastructure.
Its innovative formula combines three essential parts of the industry for an exceptional exchange of information, insights and education:
The ultimate goal of TECHUnplugged Conference is to bring quality information to IT decision makers by bringing them together with independent influencers and industry vendors, to engage, debate and be informed through open discussions on topics such as IT infrastructure, virtualization, cloud computing and storage.
I’m going to be talking about how data has changed over the years and how data quality issues can become obstacles to business innovation.
If you are in IT and would like to attend, use the registration form below. If you use my special code, you’ll be entered to win a special prize of an Amazon Echo (I SO LOVE MINE!) at the event.
My promotional code is:
Yes, all lowercase.
I hope to see you in Austin. Maybe we can have tacos.
I posted a tongue-in-cheek Twitter poll about some database design features that tend to polarize team members.
Of course, every design decision comes down to cost, benefit and risk. So there aren’t any evil choices.
How would you vote?
On 12 April 2011 it was Yuri’s Night — the night we space fans celebrate Yuri Gagarin’s 1961 history-setting flight into space. In 2011 we were celebrating 50 years of manned spaceflight. On that same day in 2011, we reached the end of support for SQL Server 2005 SP4. On 12 April 2016 we will reach the end of extended support for SQL Server 2005. That means no more hotfixes, no help from Microsoft and no love for your data still living in SQL 2005 databases.
I’m hoping your organization is already on its way to upgrading and migrating data and applications to newer versions of SQL Server. SQL Server 2016 is already being used in production by early access customers. No matter which version you will be migrating to, I want to share with you some of the features and perks you’ll have available to you now that you are moving away from a dead version. Of course there are hundreds of enhancements that have happened since 2005, but today I’m focusing on those that a data architect would want to use in a database design for enhanced performance, security and data quality.
If you are designing for data warehouse type solutions, this is the closest thing we have for a "turbo switch" for SQL Server. Columnstore Indexes achieve high compression rates since they store columns together instead of storing rows together. They also support much faster query performance for batch and aggregation queries. They typically achieve 10x performance increases, sometimes even more. This feature was introduced in SQL Server 2012, but you’ll want the advances to this feature that came with SQL Server 2014.
SEQUENCEs have been around in other DBMSs for a while, but were introduced in SQL Server 2012. These special objects work much like IDENTITY columns, but offer more flexibility and use cases. The main feature is that you can grab a sequence (or a bunch of them) before you insert a row. Many developers use GUIDs for similar reasons, but GUIDs are much longer and therefore had performance downsides. SEQUENCEs are integer types.
New Data Types
So many new data types have been introduced since SQL Server 2005, but the ones that really stand out for me are DATE, TIME, DATETIMEOFFSET, the geospatial types, and the deprecation of timestamp.
It wasn’t until SQL Server 2008 that we had access to data types that comprised only the DATE or TIME portion of a point in time. So we had to do all kinds of conversions just to strip out unwanted data (00:00:00). We also had to make room to store that unwanted precision. Storing millions of rows of unneeded zeros hurts performance, both operationally and for backup and recovery.
SQL Server 2008 also introduced DATETIMEOFFSET, which allows us to track data in context of its time zone. If you remember the days when meeting invites did not include this important piece of information, you’ll know why this is important.
The spatial data types GEOGRAPHY and GEOMETRY and have added a new and feature-rich way of tracking places, their geometry plus special features that make it much easier to answer questions like "which is the closest" or "is this address located in this neighbourhood". If your data story includes location points, you’ll want to use these.
SQL Server was always an oddball when it came to the data type TIMESTAMP. In other DBMSs, this data type was one that included date and time, to a very large precision. In SQL Server, TIMESTAMP is a type of row version identifier that has nothing to do with TIME. So data architects migrating from other DBMSs were often bitten when they used the wrong data type. Microsoft announced in 2008 that it was depreciating TIMESTAMP and recommending the use of ROWVERSION, which is similar (but not the same) in functionality.
SQL Server 2016 currently includes support of Always Encrypted, a feature that does just that: it support the encryption of data from application to database and back, so that it is better protected than solutions that encrypt data once it is written to the database. I’m always reminding you that keeping your CIO out of jail is part of your job description, right?
As our data gets bigger and bigger, the size of our databases is growing as well. That means that performance takes a hit. Developers want us to take shortcuts on data quality to improve performance because size matters. One of the ways to help manage data volumes is to move "cold" data to other storage locations. Starting in SQL Server 2016, we can stretch a database to Azure, which means that data that isn’t accessed as often can be stored in the cloud and retrieved when needed. This allows our hot data to be local and fast, while the cooler data is more economical to store and still there and your application doesn’t even have to manage this difference.
In SQL Server 2016 we are getting support for JSON processing. This isn’t the same as a JSON data type like we have with XML, but a set of import and export features for providing relational data as JSON documents and brining JSON data into SQL Server. Now you won’t have to manage all those curly brackets on your own.
One Last Thing…
As vendors withdraw support for their products, third party tool makers do so as well. If you are supporting older, out of support versions of databases, it’s likely that your data modeling, data quality and data integration tools are also dropping support for these solutions. You’ll be left supporting database systems without vendor support and without professional enterprise class modeling and design tools. I know how hard it is to keep track of databases that my tools can’t connect with. Don’t let sticking with an old version be the end of data modeling support for that data.
If you like geeking out about space and data types, you might want to check out my 1 April 2014 post on a new data type.
Show Your Data Some Love
These are just a tiny number of the types of features that will be available to you when you upgrade to modern versions of SQL Server. The advent of security, data quality and performance features are leaving your old solutions behind, putting your data at risk and leaving your customer data feeling unloved. There’s a data space race going on. Don’t live your company using old technology to manage data. Go fix that!
I conducted a Twitter poll last week about how to spell DATATYPE (or is it DATA TYPEs?). Many compound words start out as two separate words, then get hyphenated, then concatenated to a new word. We saw this with:
data base –> data-base –> database
I keep seeing data types spelled both ways (and never as data-type).
Ted Codd used DATA TYPE in his 12 Rules for a Relational Database Product.
Embarcadero ER/Studio and CA ERwin Data Modeler use DATATYPE in their products and occasionally use DATA TYPE in their help or documentation.
Oracle uses both spellings in their documentation. Microsoft sticks heavily to DATA TYPE.
Twitter polls last for 24 hours and not all clients can see or vote on them. So consider this more of a fun question on social media.
How do you spell this concept? Are there other words you find with a variety of spellings?
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