Browsing articles in "Data"

Canadian IT Pros: Win a 3D Movie Pack

Want to do some learning AND have a chance at winning one of 200 3D Cineplex Movie Prize Packs?

Just register and complete 2 Microsoft Virtual Academy courses about Windows 10, the cloud, and more.

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So get registered, take two modules or more, and tell me what film you see with your winnings.

Your Master Data is a Graph: Are You Ready? Whitepaper, Webinar

Apr 27, 2015   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Database, Events, NoSQL, Speaking  //  1 Comment

Neo4j White Paper: Your Master Data Is a Graph: Are You Ready?I recently wrote a whitepaper, sponsored by Neo4j, on how your master data (think cross-application data like CUSTOMER, PRODUCT, ORGANIZATION, etc.) is much more valuable to your organization if you can leverage the relationships between the data.  You might think that relational databases are all about relationships, but they aren’t.  The relational in relational database comes from the fact that data is a relation (a table-like structure of columns and rows).

The best thing we have for describing relationships in a relational database is a foreign key (FK).  An FK is a constraint between two tables.  In a relational database, FKs enforce integrity between exactly two tables.  But in the real world, relationships are more than constraints.  They are implied, inferred and, maybe even just plausible.  That’s not a constraint; that’s a relationship.  And these relationships often exist because they span multiple tables.  Think about CUSTOMERs that are related because they live at ADDRESSes near each other, they have TRANSACTIONs at the same RETAIL STORE and they buy the same PRODUCTs and SERVICEs.  That’s a specific relationship, one that has nothing to do with foreign keys.

You can download my whitepaper at http://neo4j.com/resources/wp-master-data-graph/

Note that while Neo Technology sponsored this paper, they had no editorial control over its content.


 

This week I’m also doing a webinar about some of the content of the paper.  Kamile Nixon of Neo Technology will join me in this discussion.  You can register at http://info.neo4j.com/0430-register.html

I think this one will be a lot of fun. Kamile and I have worked together on many things over the years. She and I share the same sort of sense of humour. You have been warned.

 

Webinar: Your Master Data is a Graph: Are You Ready?

Thursday, April 30 at 09:00 PDT | 18:00 CEST

REGISTER NOW

As you tackle your ongoing Master Data Management challenges, it’s important to keep a few things in mind: Hierarchies don’t really exist Relational isn’t about relationships Foreign keys aren’t relationships, but constraints It’s crazy, isn’t it?

Join Master Data Management expert Karen Lopez and Neo Technology’s Kami Nixon as they discuss today’s MDM requirements and explore the companies that are getting MDM right.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Why hierarchies aren’t real
  • How to choose the right technology for the stories your data wants to tell, so your business can use data in ways it couldn’t do before
  • Why relationships are just as important as the things they relate
  • What foreign keys really do to your architecture
  • How companies like Cisco and Polyvore use graphs to get real business value from Master Data

Karen LopezKaren Lopez, Data Evangelist, InfoAdvisors

Karen Lopez has more than 20 years of data architecture and database design experience. She specializes in the practical application of design approaches, balancing development time frames with the need to deliver solutions that will support business agility and data quality needs. Known for her practical and sometimes snarky views on the data world, Karen works to find the right tools for the job, even if it means learning something new. She wants you to love your data.

 

Kami NixonKami Nixon, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Neo Technology

A recipient of the 2012 “Graphie”, Kamille was a fan of Neo4j for several years before she happily joined the team. Kamille has helped several successful database companies (DataStax, Comindware and Embarcadero Technologies) to identify and execute on market trends so they could pull ahead of the pack. Her efforts have led to doubled vertical bookings, increases by 30% to 100% in year-over-year revenue, and several awards. In addition to the Graphie, Kamille has received several other commendations, including co-authoring with Karen Lopez story #5 in Information Management’s Top 10 for 2011, and Best Investigative Journalism in a national competition.

Imagining the Power of Data

Mar 12, 2015   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Analytics, Blog, Data, DLBlog  //  No Comments

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Tim Berners-Lee, in a 2007 Bloomberg Business interview, discusses his vision of enterprise data and how organizations would bring together varied sets of data.

“When you use the word “silos,” that’s the word we hear when somebody in the enterprise talks about the stovepipe problem. Different words for the same problem: that business information inside the company is managed by different sorts of software, and you have to go to a different person and learn a different program to see it. Any enterprise CEO really ought to be able to ask a question that involves connecting data across the organization, be able to run a company effectively, and especially to be able to respond to unexpected events. Most organizations are missing this ability to connect all the data together.

“Anybody making real decisions uses data from many sources, produced by many sorts of organizations, and we’re stymied. We tend to have to use backs of envelopes to do this and people have to put data in spreadsheets, which they painfully prepare. In a way, the Semantic Web is a bit like having all the databases out there as one big database. It’s difficult to imagine the power that you’re going to have when so many different sorts of data are available.”

Regardless of whether or not you are using Semantic technologies, I think you can see that we are making progress towards understanding that silo-ed data is still here and that we need ways to bring the power of external data together to make it useful.  New technologies & approaches such as analytics and machine learning require that we understand the data, its provenance and its freshness to get decent result.

Imagine the power. Indeed.

7 Databases in 70 Minutes

Mar 10, 2015   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Database, Database Design, DLBlog, NoSQL, Speaking  //  No Comments

Lara Rubbelke (@sqlgal ) and I recently presented 7 Databases in 70 Minutes, a sort of homage to the book 7 Databases in 7 Weeks.  The event was SQLBits, a UK-based SQL Server event.  We first gave this talk at the PASS Summit last year.

We don’t talk about the same databases as the book, but the concepts are the same.  We cover relational, column family, graph, key value, Hadoop, and document database technologies, focusing mostly on the reasons why you would want to consider these and what a typical create and query statement might look like.

And then we end with 7 reasons why you should start exploring them.

It’s a blast talking about so many things in such a short time frame and it’s fun watching light bulbs go off as people realize these aren’t just silly open source projects, but real, enterprise class solutions for common enterprise processes.

Check out our slide deck.

Have you been looking at non-relational technologies to tell your data stories, too?

Data Stories….

Feb 26, 2015   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Analytics, Blog, Data, Data Visualization  //  1 Comment

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I prefer to think of it is trying to decipher the stories data is already saying.  So more listening, less torture.

Join us at #SQLBits: Designing for Performance Training, with Video and Snark

Jan 6, 2015   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Database, Database Design, DLBlog, SQL Server  //  No Comments
At SQLBits

I’m excited to announce that Thomas LaRock (@sqlrockstar | blog) and I will be presenting a full-day Training Day (PreCon) at SQLBIts XIV in London, UK.

Our session, Designing For Performance: Myths and Misunderstandings, is going to feature hands-on labs, exercises and lots of challenges to help you master your own SQL Server superpowers. It will be held on Thursday, 5 March 2015. Registration is open NOW.

 


 

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Everyone agrees that great database performance starts with great database design. So why do so many poorly designed databases exist in the world? Attend this session to understand why bad designs will always exist, what you can do to avoid them, and how best to work with them when needed.
Discussion topics will include:

  • Server/Infrastructure design
    • VM/Server configuration
    • Physical file layouts
    • HA/DR options
    • Archiving
  • Database/Table design
    • Table design
    • PK/FK choices
    • Index strategies
  • Benchmarking
    • Monitoring for performance
    • Control reports

Attendees will leave this session with an understanding of the following:

  • Why common issues are so common
  • How to better anticipate issues before they happen 
  • How to deploy and implement design choices that benefit everyone
  • Proper performance benchmarking and control reports

 


SQLBits Superheroes

 

This will be my 3rd SQLBits conference,  They are a lot of fun and jam-packed full of learning and networking.  As you can see from the video above, Tom and I will also ensure that you aren’t just sitting through 8 hours of bullet points and sparse slides with funny pictures.  We’ll be talking about what design approaches work in what situations and all the myths and misunderstandings out there about database design and configurations.

Register now and engage your own superpowers. Or just stand there looking pretty.  It’s up to you.

Your #1 Job….

Jan 6, 2015   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Governance, Data Modeling, Database Design, DLBlog  //  3 Comments

Tim Berners-Le Quote on CEO connect data

I hear frequently, especially from the DBA groups, that our number one job as a data professional is performance.  That typically includes making sure database queries run fast, that systems have expected uptimes, and that developers/DBAs can do their jobs as fast as possible without slowing down to consider whether or not they are doing the right thing for the data. In fact, I’ve been told many times that data quality is Job NULL, meaning that we shouldn’t care as much about data quality as we do about performance.  The crazy things I’ve read: query running slow? Delete some rows and see if anyone notices.  Assign numeric datatypes to number-like columns so they will be smaller (and missing leading zeros).  Make columns small, even if it means losing data. Shove data in a column with comma delimiters so that you don’t have to change the database.  Re-use a column for something it was never intended for.

Developers and DBAs start thinking this way, for the most part, because they are measured and rewarded based on all kinds of factors other than data quality.  And yet management expects systems to support exactly what Tim Berners-Lee says in this quote.  Sure, making systems purr is one part of allowing data to be connected across sources.  But misleading data, mis-understoood data and plain old bad data means that CEOs can’t run a company effectively. 

Any enterprise CEO really ought to be able to ask a question that involves connecting data across the organization, be able to run a company effectively, and especially to be able to respond to unexpected events.

Most organizations are missing this ability to connect all the data together.

There are all kinds of presentations and blog posts about how to make systems run fast.  There are so few about how to love your data so that the CEO can rely on it. The first person that needs to fix this mismatch of incentives and actions is the CEO.  She needs to ensure that IT professionals are properly evaluated and motivated to produce both fast data and correct data.  And to stop providing incentives for IT professionals to work against data quality.

DBAs and Developers want to do the right thing. It’s just that we are paying them to do the wrong things over the right things.  

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