Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"SSIS Packet Componentization" Article on Simple-Talk

Ok, so I'm pretty sure they mean "Package" and not "Packet" but there is a great article by David Leibowitz (the SQL guy, not the pastry chef) on designing modular SSIS packages on the Simple-Talk web site - check it out here:

I've long been a proponent of the "one table per package" design pattern[1] in SSIS, but I've never seen such a coherent and comprehensive writeup online that covers both what to do and why to do it. I don't know if I agree with everything that David has to say, but all in all it's a good read with downloadable code as well. Make sure you check it out.


[1] Yeah, it's not much as design patterns go, but I do think that it qualifies.

Monday, April 28, 2008

RunAs Radio

I grew up listening to the .Net Rocks! podcast series. I remember huddling around the Internet radio on those cold winter nights, wishing that we had more coal for the fire, and so grateful that I had those pearls of developer wisdom to help keep me warm.

Ok, so that's not exactly true. I never did grow up, you know...

In any event, I have been a fan of .Net Rocks! for many years. I don't listen to every show (Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell are way too prolific for me now that I have a 20 ft commute) but I listen whenever I have the chance. And odds are, if you're a .NET developer, you probably do too.

Of course, SSIS isn't just for developers. Lots of DBAs and other IT Professionals use SSIS too. And the fine folks who produce .Net Rocks! also produce a weekly talk show for that IT Pro audience, called RunAs Radio.

Why do I know this, and why do you care?

Next week I will be recording an episode of RunAs Radio with hosts Richard Campbell and Glen Hughes, talking about SSIS with a focus on the IT Professional. I don't yet have details on when this show will air, but as soon as I know, you'll know too - I'll keep you posted.

More Details on TechEd

As I posted earlier in the month, I'll be presenting a pre-conference/post-conference Train the Trainer (TTT) session on Saturday June 7th between the Developer Week and IT Pro Week of the Microsoft TechEd 2008 conference. Although not everything has been finalized, there is more information to share, and if you're a Microsoft Certified Trainer who is planning to attend either week of TechEd, hopefully this will help convince you to come.

Here's the deal:

Bill Chapman, the MCT Readiness Manager[1] at Microsoft has a new blog, and he's posted the schedule for the TTT events here: Take a look and you'll see that I'll have just under three hours to cover SSIS topics. Other trainers (names not yet posted) will be covering the SSAS and SSRS content, so I'll be able to focus on what I love the best: SSIS.

Here's the working agenda for this TTT session:
Moving Beyond the MOC and Into Real World ETL with SQL Server Integration Services
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a true enterprise-scale Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) platform with unparalleled performance and extensibility. But despite its capabilities, SSIS includes an incomplete and complex set of tools, and can sometimes be unintuitive to use and difficult to master. This complexity can be both a blessing and a curse for Microsoft Certified Trainers who deliver the MOC courses on SSIS and the SQL Server BI product suite – a blessing because more people see the need for training, and a curse because the MOC courses fall short of preparing students for the painful realities of SSIS development projects.

This 2 hour 45 minute session is designed for MCTs who deliver (or plan on delivering) the SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 SSIS MOC courses and who want to better understand the real-world problems their students face – and the right solutions for those problems. This session will include:

· Coverage of SSIS in both SQL Server 2005 and 2008
· Package development best practices
· Package deployment best practices
· SSIS Architecture and performance tuning
· Online and offline resources for post-session continued learning
· Lots of interactivity and Q&A throughout the session

SSIS is the cornerstone of any SQL Server BI application. As an MCT you strive to prepare your students for their projects to the best of your ability. This session will go far beyond the MOC courseware and will help prepare you to face the most challenging classes with confidence.
Sound like fun?

Of course it does.

And remember, it only gets better - if you're an active MCT, these TTT sessions are absolutely free. Contact Bill Chapman (the details are on his blog) and get registered for the sessions you're interested in. I'm sure they're going to fill up quickly, so don't delay.

Also, if there is any specific SSIS content that you'd like to see covered, please post a comment here. I can't guarantee that I'll be able to cover everything in this session, but the more I know about what you'd like to see and hear, the more likely it is that I'll make you happy.

[1] Yep - we MCTs have so much trouble getting ready that we need a dedicated manager just to help.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

SQL Server Connections Wrap-Up

Wow - what a great show!

Today was the last day of the SQL Server Connections conference in Orlando, Florida. I've been in Orlando since Sunday and am ready to go home, but wow, what a week it's been.

First of all, I've had the opportunity to meet tons of people, including people who have been instrumental in shaping my skills over the years - people like Itzik Ben-Gan and Bob Beauchemin. As you likely know, Itzik is the Godfather of Transact-SQL, and knows more about T-SQL than I will ever forget.[1] Bob was the lead author on one of my favorite SQL Server 2005 development books and is a leading expert in his field. It was awfully exciting.

But I also had a very exciting time during my "SQL Server Integration Services Deployment Best Practices" session as well. My session was scheduled at the same time as sessions by Bob Beauchemin and Kimberly Tripp and Paul Randall. I figured my session would be empty, scheduled on the last day of the conference, and coming up against such well-known heavy hitters. Instead, I presented to a packed room, with people sitting in the aisle and standing against the walls. I guess I'm not the only one who has felt the pain of building a repeatable deployment process for SSIS solutions. ;-) There were lots of great questions during the session, and quite a few people followed up with me afterward. It was a great crowd and an incredible experience for me - I just wish there could have been more time.

With that said, there will definitely more time in June in Orlando for the Microsoft TechEd IT Professionals conference. I'll be delivering two breakout sessions (including an updated and refined version of the session I delivered today - thanks for the great feedback everyone!) on SSIS. If you're going to be at the conference (and you should be) make sure you attend my sessions.

And now, it's time to catch my flight home...

[1] Or something like that.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Calling All Trainers - Return of the BI Guy

If you are a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and are going to be attending either week of Microsoft's TechEd conference this year, be sure to block off the day of June 7th, the Saturday between the Developer and IT Pro weeks of the conference.

Why block off this date?

It's because I'm going to be delivering a full-day pre-conference (or post-conference if you're talking about the developer show) Train the Trainer (TTT) session on the new SQL Server 2008 BI courseware that's coming soon from Microsoft Learning. That's right - a complete day filled with SSIS, SSAS, SSIS, SSRS and SSIS! (Not that I'm biased or anything.)

The full details are still being worked out, so stand by for more information, but if you're an MCT who teaches (or would like to teach) the SQL Server BI courses you will definitely want to attend. We'll plan on moving beyond what's in the courseware, focusing on technical depth and real-world examples so you'll have lots of "value adds" to take back to your classroom after the event.

If you have any questions, just let me know!