Browsing articles tagged with " Portland"

Sessions a Data Architect Can Love at #SQLSat92 Portland (Including Mine)

Sep 28, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Professional Development, Speaking  //  No Comments

SQLSaturday 92 Logo

I’m speaking at the Portland, OR SQLSaturday on 8 October.  I’ll be giving my Database Design Contentious Issues Presentation, one of my favourites and most popular presentations.

Database Design Contentious Issues

A highly interactive and popular session where attendees evaluate the options and best practices of common and advanced design issues, such as:

* Natural vs. Surrogate keys

* Classwords and other Naming Standards

* Varchar Minimums

*Identity Crisis

* Who Calls the Shots and Who Does What?

…and others. Bring your votes, your debates, and your opinions.

Session Level: Intermediate

I so love giving this presentation because it is driven by audience members.  Not a lecture by me, but a moderated, sometimes referred debate about issues in database design and data modeling.

But I’m betting you data architects are thinking "Why would I attend an event about SQL Server? I’m DBMS-agnostic." I think it’s great that we modelers and designers have skills that cross multiple vendor products.  But I sometimes wonder if some of us pride our agnosticism so much that we have actually become DBMS-illiterates. I know that most of us don’t work hands on with databases as often and DBAs and Developers, but it is important that we understand and have a firm foundation on the platforms upon which our designs will be built.

SQL Saturdays are free events hosted by other data professionals and sponsored by vendors in the data community (that’s what keeps them free).  Sometimes there is a small charge for lunch, but that’s it.  For the Portland event, it appears that even lunch is free.  You must pre-register, but it’s free.  Did I mention it’s free?

So you can come to my session but what about the others?  Here are ones that I’ve picked out the schedule that would be of value to those of us wearing the modeling/design hat on a project:

Database Development: Keep It Agile, Not Fragile

Does your company use agile development? It can deliver more value to customers with lower project risk. However, it can also make the system design change rapidly, and require frequent software rollouts. This session will focus on best practices for DBAs and developers to make design, testing and deployments easier. Keep your systems agile, not fragile!

Session Level: Intermediate

Data Warehousing Best Practises

This session will describe the best practises for designing a data warehouse to get the most out of SQL Server. Doug has worked in data warehousing for 12 years and will blend experience, with best practises and recommendations from Microsoft’s Fast Track program. Each version of SQL Server introduces new features specifically for data warehousing – by applying the correct technique, feature, hint, modelling approach and layout the data warehouse will be faster and more scalable.

Session Level: Advanced

No More Bad Dates: Working With Dates and Times

Dates and times seem simple at first. Kendra Little will show you there’s more to it than you think. She’ll give you five best practices that will help you select the right temporal data type, avoid common issues, and use the most effective techniques to aggregate data. She’ll also explain painful problems with query performance and how to avoid them. Choose wisely: the correct types and high performing data access logic will scale well and save development and administrative time.

Session Level: Intermediate

Want a promotion? It’s up to you!

Self-promotion is often times the best promotion you can get. In this session, we will talk about how to promote yourself, your brand and your career without looking like “That Guy”. We will discuss Social Medias, communities, volunteering and other ways to get your name out… What are the first steps? Come find out.


Bad Indexes

I’m sure you’ve been told seeks are better than scans. I’m sure you’ve been told that a covering index is ideal. I’m sure you’ve been told small arrows are better than thick ones. Get the whole story.

Session Level: Intermediate

Models, Cubes & Marts: how & why to choose

Microsoft offers three distinct platforms for data analysis and a variety of related reporting tools. When should you use BI Semantic Models, PowerPivot, tabular column storage, SSAS cubes or relational data marts? Learn about the right fit for each of these choices and what you need to know to use the next generation of BI reporting tools like Project Crescent, SSRS and SharePoint BI.


Analyze and map spatial data with SQL Server 2008

With the widespread availability of location and spatial data to both consumers and corporations (such as smartphone GPS data), there is a need to manage and analyze all this data as well. SQL Server 2008 introduces new standards-based spatial data types and associated functionality to the relational engine. Spatial data can be stored in the cloud using SQL Azure. And SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services allows spatial data to be visualized as Maps. In this session, we’ll explore both the SQL spatial data types and SSRS maps, using demos to show this functionality in action. We’ll also cover enhancements to spatial functionality in the forthcoming "Denali" version of SQL Server.



Why these sessions?  I believe that even if we aren’t responsible for finalizing a physical data model prior to implementation, it’s still a responsibility of ours to understand the above concepts so that we can work with models that include these design-time decisions. We may not be responsible for choosing all the indexes, but it’s important that our models have them.  We need to understand the trade-offs around datatype choices, data warehouse architectures and newer DBMS features such as spatial datatypes, XML columns and others.

The line of responsibility between DBA, developer, and DA is constantly moving and may vary based on your project’s environment and culture.  We must understand more about the target environments we are modeling for.

I hope to see you at the Portland SQL Saturday.  The SQL community is great at sharing knowledge and we data architects need to be part of that sharing.  It’s free, there will be prizes, and it’s fun.  Be there.

#SQLRun Support Rob and Karen in the Portland Half Marathon

May 31, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Fun, Need Your Help, Travel  //  1 Comment

Click To Sponsor us

Rob and I will be running the Portland Half Marathon (that’s 13.1 miles) on 9 October 2011.  We’ve even created a hashtag, #SQLRun , to help follow our plans and races. Other #SQLRun participants will be using it, too.  You can help us by donating and being part of our scream team.



As part of our entry, we must raise at least $1500 for a charity, Ray of Hope.  We chose this charity because:

  1. It’s a small charity.  No multi-million dollar advertising campaign, no lawsuits to enforce their alleged trademark on certain colours, no primetime commercials. 
  2. They are program-oriented. There are no spew of pink/green/bluewashing third party products in weak fund raising schemes, no celebrity endorsements, no product deals with companies hoping to make their products look better.   They don’t pay any salaries at all, just a tiny budget for office supplies and marketing.
  3. They need our help.  With such a tiny budget, I imagine that our data community could make a huge difference in what programs they are able to deliver.  With almost all your donation going to programs (see below), you personally can make a big difference in someone’s life.
  4. Let’s just say that Kenya is well-known for their running expertise.  We will be drawing upon our inner Kenyans to complete this race.

A great fit for us in that we I love fund raising for causes where the charity meets those requirements and they sound as if they could use some help getting more of their programs in the field.  I’d love to blow the top off our fundraising goal for them.

From the Ray of Hope website:

What does your contribution to Ray of Hope provide for our programs in Kenya?

  • $20 Gives labor support and nourishment to a woman delivering at the Bware Maternity Center
  • $25 Water for one week at the ROH Clinic and Learning Center in Kawangware
  • $50 School supplies for one primary school classroom per term
  • $100 Monthly salary for an HIV/AIDS Outreach worker in Kawangware
  • $250 Cost of a Girls Empowerment Seminar for 100 girls in a rural community
  • $750 Full year sponsorship for one student at a secondary boarding school
  • $1200 Cost of a 6,000 L water harvesting tank and roof gutters at a primary school

You can see how even a small donation can make a difference.

Click To Sponsor us

Be on our Scream Team

What if you aren’t able to donate at this time?  We’ll, we’d love to have you on our scream team, either in person or virtually.  As we get ready for this race, we’ll be training and running local races to help whip us into shape…at least in shape enough to finish the race upright and smiling.  Your virtual shout outs on Twitter and Facebook will mean a lot to us and the other #SQLRun participants.  So when you see our Fitbit, Runkeeper, Runmeter, Nike+ , Garmin or other data collection/reporting status updates "cluttering" our timelines, remember that we are training for a very long run as well as raising money for a great cause.  Tell your community members running #SQLRun that you support them in their efforts.

If you are going to be in Portland the weekend of 8-9 Octobers (remember, there’s a Portland SQLSaturday on 8 October), you can come downtown Portland to cheer us on.  The race has a cut off of 8 hours, but we don’t expect to take nearly that long Smile.  All the #SQLRun participants would LOVE to see you on the side the course, cheering them on.

You can be part of our team by running, walking, fund raising, donating, cheering our training or cheering for us during the race.  Just do it. (Apologies to Nike).

I’m Speaking: DAMA PDX – 24 Feb – Industry Standard Data Models + Career Success

Feb 24, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //    //  1 Comment
Don Valley Golf Course

Image by Karen Lopez via Flickr

I’m going to be doing TWO presentations at DAMA Portland (OR) on Thursday, 24 February.  I so very much love visiting Portland and the members of this DAMA group are great for engaging and inspiring conversations during the presentations.

The topics I’m covering:

Career Success in Data Management during Turbulent Times

A workshop on issues and ideas that today’s data architects and modelers can do to build their careers and networking skills with other data management professionals.

Workshop topics will include:
• Demonstrating your expertise
• Building a portfolio of your success stories
• Getting others to sell your skills and business value
• Building & extending your data management skill set
• 10 Steps to highlighting you and your work

Bring your thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

This presentation talks about how to get others to help sell your skills, how networking (talking to people, not passing out business cards) can help you advance your project and your skills, and how to having a portfolio of great career data can help you demonstrate your professional abilities.

Starting with More than a Blank Page: Modeling with an Industry Standard Data Model

Have you ever considered using pre-existing pattern models to jump start your data modeling projects?  Have you considered purchasing proprietary models? Did you know that there are hundreds of models available to you for free or for minimal cost?

Many industry trade associations publish industry standard data models (ISDMs).  These models focus on the core and supporting business functions associated with retailing, health care, criminal justice and other industry sectors.  They may be provided free to the public or for just the cost of joining a trade association.

In this presentation, Karen discusses some of the benefits and gotchas of working with acquired models – industry standard models, patterns, and other universal model concepts.   This session includes topics such as:

  • The costs, benefits, and risks of working with industry standard data models
  • The benefits of using industry standards in your package acquisition projects
  • Choosing the right process
  • Myths in working with pattern models
  • 10 Tips for successfully working with third party models
  • What you should know before committing to project plans and estimates
  • Lessons Learned
  • Resources

Find out what other organizations are doing with industry standard data models — how vendors and industry organizations are partnering to set standards that your organization will want to leverage for better meet the business needs of your solutions.

I’ve added some more live examples of industry standard data models (ARTS and NIEM) to this presentation to help demonstrate typical data models that are prepared for industry-specific examples.

I hope you can join me in Portland.


Free for members!
$15 for non-members.
See the list of corporate members.


at DAMA-PDX website by noon Friday, February 22, 2011

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