Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shutting Down BI Polar

Hi faithful[1] readers!

After a series of ongoing frustrations[2] I've decided to shut down my BI Polar blog and move away from the Blogger platform.

I'm starting up a new blog on Wordpress, and have migrated away the content from this blog. I'll leave this site up for a while[3] but there won't be any new content. I'd love to say that I will be posting more frequently on the new blog, but you and I both know how well this has been working for me recently. Keep your fingers crossed...

[1] Given how infrequently I've been posting lately, you must be pretty darned faithful to still be here.
[2] None worth mentioning individually, but in aggregate they are making me less and less pleased.
[3] Probably until I remember to delete it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So You Want to Work at Microsoft?

I love SQL Server. [1]

I love working for Microsoft. [2]

For me, these two loves are two things that go well together.

I also love competition.

If you love SQL Server as much as I do (and if you don’t mind competition) you could have the opportunity to see if you love working for Microsoft as well, and have a fun experience while making it happen, by participating in the “Be the Next Microsoft Employee” show. I won’t go into the details – you can click on the link for that – but these are the highlights that leap out at me as being particularly cool:

  • The show is focused on real-world SQL Server professionals
  • Finalists get to attend TechEd North America in Orlando (to get introduced to the public audience as a finalist) and to Microsoft campus in Redmond (for job interviews) with Microsoft picking up the tab
  • The winner has a shot[3] at a Service Engineer position with Microsoft’s internal IT organization, MSIT[4]
  • There are many foodie tie-ins to the show: Not only does the theme remind me of one of my family’s favorite TV shows – The Next Iron Chef[5] – but finalists will get to eat at Elemental while they’re in town for their interviews[6]

Are you interested yet?

If so, follow the instructions to enter, and post a comment to let me know.


[1] This should surprise no one.

[2] Hopefully this won’t surprise too many people either.

[3] Since this is a real job for the real Microsoft, there’s no guarantee that anyone will get a job offer, just like with any interview.

[4] MSIT is one of biggest IT organizations in the world, and they work on some of the coolest projects I’ve seen. They’re often early adopters of Microsoft products and technologies, participating in TAP/”dogfood” programs and regularly deploy pre-release versions of products like SQL Server into production environments. Speaking of a member of the SQL Server team this is super valuable, because it provides us with real-world feedback that makes the RTM versions of the product better. Speaking as an ex-BI consultant this is super exciting, because how many clients or projects let you stay at the cutting edge of technology and make a real difference in the products you use and love.

[5] Not unlike the Iron Architect competition from way back in 2007, for those who remember back that far.

[6] They should feel free to invite me along, especially if the show organizers are paying for dinner ;-)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bring the Special Ops Tour to YOUR City

Calling all SQL professionals!

Oh yeah, we used that in the last video, didn’t we…

We’re just getting started.

Yes we did, and SQL Server fans from across the country have visited www.specialopstour.com and voted for the cities where they want the tour to visit. As of today the most voted cities are:

  1. San Diego, CA
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Minneapolis, MN
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. Atlanta, GA
  7. Dallas, TX
  8. Cleveland, OH
  9. New York, NY
  10. Detroit, MI
  11. Phoenix, AZ
  12. Los Angeles, CA

There are only a few more days remaining before the survey closes, so if you want to get your city on the list[1] the time to strike is now. Be sure to cast your vote before the next mission begins…

[1] Or, conversely, to keep your city from being bumped off the list.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

5 Tips for a Smooth SSIS Upgrade to SQL Server 2012

The SSIS team has just released a white paper on upgrading to SSIS in SQL Server 2012:

Summary: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Integration Services (SSIS) provides significant improvements in both the developer and administration experience. This article provides tips that can help to make the upgrade to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Integration Services successful. The tips address editing package configurations and specifically connection strings, converting configurations to parameters, converting packages to the project deployment model, updating Execute Package tasks to use project references and parameterizing the PackageName property.

If you’ve been using SSIS in versions prior to 2012[1] please take a moment to check it out. The evenings you save may be your own…

Direct link: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh667275(d=lightweight).aspx

[1] And if you read this blog, odds are this is a safe bet.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Setting up a SQL Server 2012 RC0 VM

I ran across this excellent article last week, but forgot to share it before I went offline for the Thanksgiving holiday. Fortunately it was waiting for me in a browser tab this morning to remind me.

How to Build a SQL Server 2012 RC0 Hyper-V Virtual Machine

Setting up a new development[1] environment for a new product is often complex. When the new product is something as diverse as SQL Server 2012, and when you want to explore integration with other products like Visual Studio, SharePoint and Exchange, the setup process can be positively daunting.

In this wiki page, Richard Davis presents a step-by-step approach for building a SQL Server 2012 RC0 VM. I haven’t gone through the whole thing myself, but when I need to build out a comprehensive demo machine, this is where I’ll start.


[1] Or demo, or play, or whatever.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


If you’ve been following the pre-release versions SQL Server 2012 (previously code-named “Denali”) you’ve probably been using the Community Technology Preview (CTP3) that Microsoft released back in July. You probably have already seen the Release Candidate (RC0) that was made available last week.

But what you may not know is how SSIS is changed between CTP3 and RC0. RC0 is a big leap forward for SSIS, and includes some significant new functionality, such as:

  • Script Component debugging
  • Attunity Change Data Capture components
  • Change Data Capture for Oracle
  • ODBC Source and Destination components
  • Externalize parameter values in Visual Studio configurations
  • New REPLACENULL expression function
  • UI for Pivot and Row Count transforms
  • Tons of minor fixes and improvements based on CTP feedback

SSIS developer Matt Masson has a more in-depth look at these changes on the SSIS team blog[1], but I wanted to call them out here as well.

The final bullet[2] is also worth stressing. You may not notice these improvements directly, but the SSIS team have made a significant “fit and polish” for RC0, improving functionality that was delivered in (and before) CTP3. If you’ve been using SSIS in CTP3, be sure to download RC0 today and give it a try.


[1] And to give credit where credit is due, the “what’s new” list in this post was blatantly copied from an email from Matt as well.

[2] Which I added to Matt’s list.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

SQL Server Special Ops Tour

If you’ve been following recent SQL Server news, you know that the next version of SQL Server has lost its “Denali” code name[1] and has been officially named SQL Server 2012.[0] This is actually sort of old news, but I’m mentioning it here because it segues so nicely into the main topic of this post: the upcoming Special Ops tour.

The SQL Server Special Ops tour is a 12-city[2] tour being organized by the SQL Server team. You’ve probably seen tours like this before, with technical experts providing deep insight into the features and capabilities of a new software release. But this is a tour with a twist, and the difference is you.[3] To be more specific, it’s members of the SQL Server community who will select the cities for the tour, and who will help select the topics. You can go to www.specialopstour.com today to cast your votes. There will be even more ways to participate, so check out the site today and watch for more news.

And while you’re there, you may also want to check out just what it is that members of the SQL Server team get up to when they’re not at the office…

Do you see any familiar faces?

[0] You also know that SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate 0 is now available for download, as of this morning.

[1] Although I expect most people on the SQL Server team will be calling it “Denali” for many years to come. After joining the SSIS team this summer I had to dredge through my long-term memory to recall what “Yukon” and “Katmai” and “Kilimanjaro” were.

[2] See the clever tie-in there? SQL Server 2012. 12 cities? Ahhh…

[3] Yes, I’m playing this up a little bit. I’m home sick today (which is probably the only reason why I have time to blog during business hours) and am feeling a bit punchy…