Browsing articles in "Data"

Join the live streaming Cloud Field Day 1 #CFD1

Sep 14, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Analytics, Blog, Cloud, Data, DLBlog, Events, Open Data, Speaking  //  1 Comment

I’m a delegate at the inaugural Cloud Field Day. We’ll be live streaming all the events, including our podcasts today and tomorrow.

Wednesday:

Podcast on Is Data Boring?

Podcast on Is Cloud Tech the solution or is it the Cloud Process?

Podcast on Is DevOps A Load of Crap?

Visit with Cisco

Visit with Druva

Visit with Scality

Visit with Docker

 

What’s a Data Professional Doing at #VMWorld?

Last week I attended VMWorld, the conference for VMWare customers and partners.  I know what you are thinking: “why would a DataChick go to a conference about virtualization technologies?” 

Yes, VMWare is a bit off my normal path of events and writings, but that makes it even more interesting to me. I attended because:

1. Tech Field Day Extra

Tech Field Day invited me to attend Tech Field Day Extra (#TFDx), which is an abbreviated version of their full events (like the Cloud Field Day 1 (#CFD1) I’m attending next week.  Tech Field Days bring in vendor product teams to demo and talk about their products with independent professionals who share their thoughts about what they heard with their audiences and communities. I attended the presentations for:

Docker:  Docker is software based on open standards that helps you package up all the parts of a solution and then deploy that anywhere.  You may have heard people talking about containers and how they help with successful DevOps processes. By using containers, deployments are easier to deploy and scale. More about Docker. 

image
https://www.docker.com/what-docker#/VM

I’ll be writing more about Docker and Datachick data pros in another post.

Primary Data: Primary Data presented about their solution Datasphere, a data virtualization product that uses some nifty market-optimization-like processing to automatically move data to where it needs to be, when it needs to be there.  It’s “storage agnostic”, meaning through rules and group, data professionals can guide the right places for data to reside, and let the system decide (if needed), the fastest place for that data to rest. 

The also had me at the wonderful space graphics on their website.

image
http://primarydata.com

I cover Primary Data in a future post, where I will talk about the use of rules and groups and objectives metadata to manage the data virtualization and data orchestration that are possible.

Sandisk: (owned now by Western Digital)  Sandisk Data Center product teams talked with us about some deep dive internal virtualization features that frankly are well beyond my skills levels in virtual machines.  As an overview, they talked about using Flashsoft for VMWare APIs for managing IO for  storage / caches.

image
https://www.sandisk.com/business/datacenter/resources/data-sheets/flashsoft-4-for-vmware-vsphere-6

I will be hearing from again next week at Cloud Field Day 1, so I will be writing about them in a future post.

2. VMWorld Press

I was invited to VMWorld on a press credential.  That meant I had access to all sessions and exhibits.  I attended various press conference/meetings.  I spent time talking to vendors who were most focused on data, DevOps and cloud technologies: Primary Data, SkyTap, SolarWinds, Datrium, Pure Storage, Dell Software, Turbonomic, X-IO, Github, Puppet, and SIOS.  Most of my coverage of these technologies happened via Twitter @datachick.  I expect from the conversations, though, that I will be covering these solutions and services in the longer term.  Once this series is completed, I’ll wrap it up with some thoughts on VMWorld.

3. Professional Development

Over the last couple of years I’ve been focusing a lot of my professional development on cloud technologies and processes.  This leads to learning more about hybrid technologies (cloud and on-prem, plus private clouds). All of this has shown me that I need to understand virtualization and data centre technologies more than I have had to know in the past.  Working in other communities has helped me make the contacts and friends that I need to be successful. I think every few years IT pros should be an event that is related to but not the focus of their specialization to broaden their understand of the tiny piece of the puzzle they work on.

I also found some time to attend sessions and I hope to get some posts up later about the ones I picked.

4. My Own Data Management Environments

While I was attending these sessions and talking to vendors, I was thinking about the data tools environments I manage: repositories, model marts, data management tools, configuration files, etc.  All of them can benefit from my implementing these technologies.  It’s sort of a “metadata centre” I need to think about, too. I’m hoping to write about those experiences as well.

Finally

The advent of Software-defined {Storage | Data Centre |Networks | Software Smile} means that configurations, metadata, policies, and rules will need to be well-managed.  I see my job as a data professional just as applicable in managing data centre data as line of business data.  If we aren’t apply our rules to our own work, then why would the business trust us when we tell them they should be doing that with “their” data?

Join me at DellWorld 2016 in Austin, TX

Aug 15, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Cloud, Data, Data Modeling, DLBlog, NoSQL, Professional Development, SQL Server  //  1 Comment

Dell World 2016 logo
I will be attending DellWorld 2016 as an influencer/media/analyst participant. This means that I’ll get access to the regular sessions, plus special engagements with product teams to see what they’ve been working on recently and what they want to do in the future. I’ve attended a couple of Dell on-site events and am looking forward to talking to key customers and real-world, hands-on data professionals. Also, doesn’t everyone want to visit Austin as much as possible?

If you will be attending Dell World, let me know. I hope we can #selfie. Or just have a real conversation. Or we can get breakfast tacos.

Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre (MCEC)–Great Stuff

Jun 28, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Careers, Data, DLBlog, Fun  //  No Comments

I love getting to see new technologies changing the world.  The opening of the new Vancouver Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre included prominent Microsoft and Canadian leaders, including our Geek Prime Minister.  Take a few minutes to see how all my favourite buzzwords come together:

Microsoft + my Canadian BF + Jobs + Deep Learning + AI + Machine Learning + Investing + Accessibility + YVR + SEA + Innovation + Prime Minister "knows how to code already" + Geek + Big news for Canada

This sort of “making a difference” is why I keep getting out of bed in the morning.

Confusing Community with Sales

May 23, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Ethics, Events, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, WTF  //  23 Comments

Litter Box Marketing

There have been some blog posts floating around about a new PASS Summit policy.  Most of the posts have been either misleading or ill-informed about why this new rule came about.  Last year there was a sh*tshow of bad marketing and sales practices:

  • Two vendors did a bulk drop of branded promotional items in the Community Zone.  They literally turned an area intended to be about chapters, networking, and #SQLFamily into a their own company litter box.
  • A vendor lefts stacks of promotional items on booths of sponsors in the exhibit areas.  Yes, a vendor who did not pay to sponsor the event used the booths that other vendors paid for to attempt to distribute their marketing materials.
  • I heard of other things happening from sponsors, but did not witness them.  They were right along the lines of those two things above.

So PASS has come out with a new rule about exchanging stuff at the PASS Summit.  They are now going to attempt to limit exchanges to business cards only.  I think this is way too specific of a rule definition, but unlike the other bloggers, instead of making this a post about how awful the board is, I’m going to offer up win-win-win alternatives below.

Some of the comments on these posts have been made in an attempt to soften the “guerrilla marketing” bad behaviours I mentioned.  They claim that the board wants to limit small, personal exchanges of gifts like ribbons and stickers, both very common conference exchanges.  In the space community, these also include mission patches and pins. I don’t believe the board wants that, but they have certainly put that in writing.

First, the rule right now only applies to speakers. I’m not sure if it applies to attendees, but I’d want any such rules to apply to everyone at the event.

Feral Cats and What’s That Smell?

The issue isn’t about personal exchanges of gifts. The issue, as all of us know here but are pretending we don’t, is the literal carpet bombing of commercial collateral, including promotional, branded swag in community areas, empty session rooms, empty tables, restrooms, hallways, charging areas, etc.  I do not support the claims that this type of feral-cat like spraying of vendor materials is “Community over Sponsors” behaviours. It’s about sales over members. Don’t kid yourself. Consultants are vendors. InfoAdvisors is a vendor. I’m a vendor at these events because I work for a vendor.

Consultants are vendors. InfoAdvisors is a vendor. I’m a vendor at these events because I work for a vendor.

All that spraying smells. It’s only community if your business belongs in a back alley. It’s only community if you think of attendees as “prospective invoices”.  It’s all litter box marketing.

That isn’t about gifts. It’s not about community.

And what has happened is that the “arms race” mentioned in one post has now become such an embarrassment to the community that our professional association has had to step in and make a rule.

Update: One vendors claims that the sponsors asked him to drop swag on their tables.  “it just looks like litter boxing” (paraphrased). The two events I witnessed involved the sponsors throwing the swag in the garbage and asking “WTH was that?”  I’m going to guess that “being invited to give out swag at the booths” is a giant misunderstanding.  Ha ha. : ).

The New Rule Isn’t Right

I agree that the limiting to business cards is a unacceptable way to draw the line on this “I don’t see you all as community but as potential invoices” behaviours. But the real fault is on the people who need to have the event as a “sell-first, avoid you later” event.

Saying they can’t afford to have a booth isn’t accurate. It’s affordable.   Many smaller vendors have booths at SQL Saturdays and at the big show.  It’s very affordable, especially if you share with other vendors.  Which is a great way to have a booth because who wants to man/woman/kitten a booth for the entire conference?

Should you have to have a booth to exchange stickers or ribbons? No.  But when sponsors get other people’s swag dropped on their booths, or when the community zone becomes a porta-potty for marketing materials, we’ve lost our path.  No matter what someone tells you, that’s not community. It’s seeing our event not as a Connect. Share. Learn. event. It’s about seeing our event as a Speak and Sell event.

Blame for the new rule goes 100% to the folks who did these things.  Okay, maybe I’ll blame the board 10% for coming with a new rule that isn’t quite a win-win-win solution.

This Ain’t the Tea Party

If you think telling sponsors “we’ll take your money, but others can turn the community zone into their own “rogue exhibit hall” is good conferences sales point, I suggest we just give away exhibit booths and charge everyone the real price it costs to put this on.   I’m guessing that registration will cost about the same as a 7-day cruise.  Or it will be like a local user group meeting, with fewer people.   Austerity might be your political stance.  Telling people to just change jobs if their employer won’t pay $7k for them to attend Summit is a nonstarter.

The fact of the matter is that community events the size of Summit (thousands) can’t happen without sponsors.  Ensuring that sponsors get what they pay for is not “putting sponsors over the needs of attendees”.  It’s about running an event that is affordable and sustainable.  Sure, it’s a balance.  But pretending that somehow non-sponsoring vendors should be allowed to use sponsor resources for their own needs is naïve at best.  At worst, it’s painting the situation as being something it is not.

Data.  Get Your Data Right.

It’s misleading to say that these rules happened because PASS wants to cater to sponsors over community. A few overly-greedy, it’s-all-about-money people have caused this. Focus your ammo on the right malicious “users” of PASS.

What I Want the Rule to Be

I’ve talked to board members and PASS staff.  This is what I want the rule to be.  I think it’s a win-win-win for attendees, consultant and sponsors.

 

Personal, one-on-one exchanges of low-cost items like the ones below should be allowed and even encouraged.

  • Stickers
  • business cards
  • patches
  • buttons & pins
  • temp tattoos
  • ribbons
  • candy
  • stamps
  • etc.

 

I don’t care if those things have your name, your favourite tagline, your picture, your cat-owner’s photo, or your logo.  They key here is one-on-one, personal exchanges of low-value, often fun, things.  I also don’t want to have a detailed list.  People love to have a check box set of rules, but that just leads to people finding loopholes.  Heck, I love sharing space swag at non-space events. Especially collectibles that are older than most of the attendees.

Update: What do I mean by exchanges?  I mean giving out these low-cost items in trade for the other person’s similar item or for some other value.  One year at EDW I asked people to tell me they “loved their data” to get a ribbon.  Hearing people say that was a small but important value to me. I may have done that at Summit one year as well.  The key is these are still one-on-one exchanges. And none of them happened from the podium.  Selling while presenting should be a paid session.

Ribbons, stickers, stamps are all part of the geek community and I want that to continue to be a part of Summit.

 

Bulk distributions of marketing materials, flyers, branded materials should require some sort of sponsorship level.  As should the distribution of more expensive swag, cars, real tattoos, kittens, and $20 bills.

Distribution of items on sponsor booths without their permission should not be allowed.  Bulk distribution on the exhibit floor without being a sponsor or in the Community Zone should not be allowed.

 

The Community Zone Should Be a Sales-free Zone

The Community Zone should be sales-free, as far as I’m concerned. It’s the violation of this rule that I think should cause people not to be invited back to the event.  Attendees should have one area where they aren’t treated like invoices.  Having to put this into a rule makes me sad. People should just understand this is how life works.

Maybe we need a $500 sponsorship level for those vendors whose business is doing so poorly they can’t afford a booth.  Or for independent consultants.  Again, this is for people and organizations that want to do mass distribution of marketing materials and collateral, not personal exchanges.

A professional association should indeed help all members be great at what they do.  Whether they are consultants, software vendors, contractors, full- or part-time employees, retired, whatever.  But that doesn’t mean that a professional association event must provide a sales opportunity in every part of the event.

This proposal is a win-win-win because attendees can keep doing what we’ve always done.  Vendors can still do their sales things, but appropriately.  Vendor sponsors can keep getting value out of their sponsorship dollars without some on other vendor being a feral cat and bragging how “sponsoring a booth is stupid when you can just do guerrilla marketing.”  Our sponsors are part of our community, too.  In fact, organizations can be members of PASS if the sign up.

Finally…

The world does have bigger problems.  But the posts that have been coming out have not been giving the full picture, nor have they offered up a balanced solution. I think it’s good that this year several people came forward to complain to the board that the stuff people have been doing has crossed a line.   It may not really be an “arms race”. But is has been escalating.  Houston, we’ve had a problem. It stinks. It’s time to fix it.  Let’s all work together to get it right, before the urine smell kills the whole event.  If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them.

This is some of the feedback I got for speaking up.
I’ve never attended a SQL Saturday Ottawa yet (there’s always been a scheduling conflict). I was not in Ottawa that day. I was at a NASA Armstrong Teacher Educator event.

This is how nasty this whole discussion as become. A vendor took a bunch of my tweets over the last year, some about these behaviours, some about my dislike of the things that Mr. Trump says, and some about God knows what else and made a video saying I’m mean. Then this video became a facebook post on the vendor’s own Facebook wall.

.Never Been to Ottawa.

A few people spoke up and this commenter deleted his comment after a while. The vendor did not delete it. The commenter did.  Remember this when you are thinking about win-win-win solutions. This is what’s at stake. This why bad behaviour leads to more bad behaviour. I’ll still keep blogging about it. And people will still comment on ME instead of the issue.Its what is broken with our community. Talk about bad behaviours, not people.

Happy 20th Birthday, ER/1…ER/Studio

Mar 29, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Fun, News  //  1 Comment

 

imageI was preparing for my webinar tomorrow for Idera when I decided to look up how long ER/Studio Data Architect has been around.  I was happy to see that the press release for ER/1 (what it was called before they got in a bit of a trademark issue with ERwin* folks) that it was released on 15 March 2006.

I started using ER/1 not too long after that.

 

Some Interesting ER/Studio Trivia

  • ER/1 listed for $1399 a seat, but there was a special deal for a few months to get it for $899.
  • It could handle “hundreds of entities”
  • It did not feature bi-directional updating of Logical to Physical
  • It did not yet feature on diagram editing
  • You can still download the Documentation for ER/1 1.0
  • it supported:
    • Oracle 7
    • Sybase 11 and 10
    • Microsoft SQL Server 6
    • Informix
    • DB2
    • SQL Anywhere
    • Watcom
    • SQL Base
  • “ER/1 can x-ray your databases and extract their structure” < Love this.
  • It followed IDEF1X methodology adopted as part of the Federal Information Processing Standards
  • Submodelling (Subject areas diagramming) was not supported yet.
  • There was  a separate product ER/1 for Borland Interbase

Press Release

NEWS RELEASE

March 15, 1996

Embarcadero Technologies Ships ER/1 Data Modeling Tool

San Francisco, CA, March 15, 1996, Embarcadero Technologies today announced the general availability of ER/1, a new visual, entity-relationship modeling tool. ER/1 supports all major SQL database platforms, including Oracle7, Sybase 11 and 10, Microsoft SQL Server 6, Informix, DB2, SQL Anywhere, Watcom and SQL Base.

ER/1 delivers a slew of features that promote high-quality, functionally correct data models as well as unparalleled power, ease-of use and value. Its highly customizable design allows you to create visually appealing diagrams with such tools as dockable toolbars, diagram zooming, and print scaling. Powerful inheritance logic is built into ER/1 providing referential integrity throughout your data model. In addition, ER/1 provides you with the following major features to facilitate the creation of both logical and physical designs:

Accurate and Quick Reverse Engineering

ER/1 x-rays your databases and extracts their structure into entity-relationship diagrams capturing the complete definition of your tables, including constraints, primary keys, foreign keys, indexes, table and column comments and all table dependencies.

Automatic Database Builds

ER/1 uses an ODBC connection to create a physical implementation of the logical database design you created in ER/1. This one-step process involves the creation of tables, indexes, triggers, stored procedures, views, defaults, rules and user datatypes and properly orders the creation of these objects to eliminate dependency errors.

Data Dictionary

This feature promotes code-reuse by providing a central repository to store rules, defaults, and user-defined datatypes. Once you establish a business rule as a Data Dictionary object, it is re-usable throughout your diagram. In addition, the Data Dictionary supports global updates of

these objects. Just make the change once in the dictionary and ER/1 automatically propagates these changes throughout your diagram.

Comprehensive Reports

ER/1 offers the most comprehensive reporting of any data modeling tool. It completely documents both your logical and physical designs and generates professionally formatted and structured reports at the summary or detail level.

Code Generation for Team Development

ER/1 can write SQL source code files ready for version control and team development. To facilitate team programming, you can generate separate source code files.

Pricing/Availability:

ER/1 for Windows 95 and Windows NT is priced at $1399 per user. Through April 30, 1996, Embarcadero Technologies is offering a special introductory price of only $899 per user.

About Embarcadero Technologies, Inc.:

Embarcadero Technologies is a software products company specializing in tools to design, create, administer, query, program and monitor Oracle, Sybase, Microsoft, and Informix databases. Embarcadero offers a suite of products marketed to corporate customers and database professionals worldwide and has rapidly become the leading provider of database administration tools for Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server. Embarcadero’s software has been recognized for excellence with outstanding independent product reviews conducted by PC Week, DBMS, Microsoft BackOffice Magazine and Databased Advisor.

Data Modeling Tools are Experienced

One of the reasons why some people find data modeling tools overwhelming is that they’ve been around for more than 20 years.  That’s a long time for these tools to get more customized, more feature-rich, more complex.

I should give a shout out to Greg Keller, who was the product manager during the time I started using ER/Studio.

So happy birthday, Embarcadero…I mean…Idera…ER/1….ER/Studio.  I’m going to have a cupcake in your honor! Maybe twenty.

*Say “ER One”  Then say “ER WIN”.  Yeah, almost a SOUNDEX trademark issue.

The Key to Keys at the North Texas SQL Server User Group – 17 March

Mar 15, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Database, Database Design, DLBlog, Speaking, SQL Server  //  No Comments

I’m visiting Dallas this week to speak at the North Texas SQL Server User Group this Thursday.  I’ll be speaking about keys: primary keys, surrogate keys, clustered keys, GUIDs, SEQUENCEs, alternate keys…well, there’s a lot to cover about such a simple topic.  The reason I put this presentation together is I see a lot of confusion about these topics. Some of it’s about terminology (“I can’t find anything about alternate keys in SQL Server…what the heck is that, anyway”), some of it is misunderstandings (“what do you mean IDENTITIES aren’t unique! of course they are…they are primary keys!”), some of it is just new (“Why the heck would anyone want to use a SEQUENCE?”).

We’ll be chatting about all these questions and more on Thursday, 17 March at the Microsoft venue in Irving, Texas starting at 6PM.

Attendance is free, but you need to register at http://northtexas.sqlpass.org/ to help organizers plan for the event.

Don’t worry if you don’t know about SQL Server or don’t use it: this presentation will focus on some SQL Server specific features, but the discussion is completely portable to other DBMSs.

So many of us have learned database design approaches from working with one database or data technology. We may have used only one data modeling or development tool. That means our vocabularies around identifiers and keys tend to be product specific. Do you know the difference between a unique index and a unique key? What about the difference between RI, FK and AK? These concepts span data activities and it’s important that your team understand each other and where they, their tools and approaches need to support these features. We’ll look at the generic and proprietary terms for these concepts, as well as where they fit in the database design process. We’ll also look at implementation options in SQL Server and other DBMSs.

Hope to see you there!

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