NomCom official response regarding 2015 PASS Board Elections Campaign

September 18, 2015 - The 2015 PASS Nominations Committee has issued the following statement in relation the use of Chapter mailing lists during the 2015 PASS Board of Directors Election:

“The PASS Nominations Committee has reviewed an issue related to an email being sent from a PASS VC mailing list where a candidate is a leader.  The campaign rules section of our election overview contains the following: “Candidates who are Chapter leaders can use the Chapter email list for campaigning if they also provide list access to all other candidates.”  As there is no evidence that any other candidate was denied access to the email list the current policies haven’t been violated.  The Nominations Committee will review the policy following the elections.”

The full 2015 Elections Policies can be found at 2015 PASS Board of Directors Election Overview. Specifically, campaign rules (#3, #4 and #5) applicable to the above noted statement can be found below:

3. The candidate may ask a Chapter leader to send their candidate information to the Chapter’s email list. Doing so is at the discretion of the Chapter leader. The Chapter leader must accept responsibility for member feedback if they choose to send the information.

4. Candidates who hold leadership positions within PASS (Board members, Chapter leaders, etc.) may not use the email lists held by PASS for personal campaigning. This allows all candidates equal ground by eliminating such an advantage that those in a leadership position would have over other candidates. Rule 5 below provides an exception for candidates who are also Chapter leaders.
 
5. In order to not penalize candidates who are Chapter leaders, the exception for using email lists held by PASS are as follows: Candidates who are Chapter leaders can use the Chapter email list for campaigning if they also provide list access to all other candidates. Each Chapter leader understands their chapter’s tolerance for email, and it is up to their discretion as to how to implement this access. The PASS NomCom believes that the candidates who hold leadership positions within PASS have achieved this position by serving the community. We expect they will honor the spirit of this rule. 


Bill Graziano
2015 PASS Nominations Committee Chair

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Mickey Stuewe

September 15, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Mickey Stuewe takes us inside her session, “Sophisticated Techniques to Use in SSRS”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Mickey: When I was a young girl in the 80s, Wonder Woman was on TV. She was my favorite super-hero. She could spin in circles and turn from an ordinary and plain woman into an amazing and beautiful woman. Her lasso could capture anyone. I hope to give my attendees the same ability: to lasso their end users with amazingly sophisticated reports.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Mickey: I started my programming career as an application developer. I mostly spent my time in the business layer of applications, working with data and Visual Basic. But I wasn't happy. I left the IT world twice, but I always came back. The last time was 6 years ago. I didn't go back into the application development space, though; I came back to the SQL Server space as an SSRS Developer. I then converted 300 reports to 75 useful reports. About three years ago, I wanted to expand my knowledge and understand more about the SQL Server engine. I started attending SQLSaturday events and user groups. Then I attended my first PASS Summit—and the rest, as they say, is history. I'm always getting my learn on. Sometimes it's by books, sometimes it's through my network … but I am always learning.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Mickey: Execution plans. The ones you can generate in SQL Server Manager and the ones you can find in the Cache Plan. There is so much useful information in them about the performance and lack of performance of your queries. You can find little things, like implicit conversions, and big things, like full table scans on wide tables.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Mickey: The biggest mistake I see is that data professionals don’t get involved in team projects soon enough. They need to advocate for themselves to save themselves from headaches later on. I have found time and time again that application code is developed without much thought to the database design until it's too late and too costly to fix. I've seen database designs with unnecessary VARCHAR(max)s, missing foreign keys, and even missing primary keys. These lead to issues from bad data to the inability to replicate the database.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Mickey: In the BI world, I'm still excited about the data. Where will the data take us? What new insights will we find? Does the data support our hypothesis? How can I show the data in a way that will convey my excitement? In the SQL Server world, I'm still excited about tuning that nasty query and modeling tables to store new data that needs to be captured so that the BI team can analyze it.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Mickey: I think every data professional should know how to tune queries. Sophisticated reports are not impressive if they are slow. Learning how to read execution plans and act on the findings is a learned talent, and it's a talent worth pursuing.

Find Mickey on her blog at mickeystuewe.com or on Twitter @SQLMickey , and check out ourother Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Paul Turley

September 15, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Paul Turley takes us inside his pre-conference session “Upgrade, Migration, and Bacon Planning for SQL Server 2014 and 2016”, general session “Datazen Technical Deep Dive”, and half-day session “Power BI Hands-On Mini Workshop”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Paul: I aspired to be the Adam West version of Batman from age 3—and still do. Batman was just a regular (albeit suave rich) guy who could do anything when he put on tights and a cape. I achieve the same result by donning a PASS speaker or SQLSaturday polo and my utility belt of BI tools.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Paul: After mastering a few development skills, I was compelled to share. I’m an out-of-the-box thinker, and figuring out how to devise a creative solution for a tough problem can only make the world a better place when sharing and learning from others. My career has been a balance between the classroom and the consulting field. Both help me maintain a healthy perspective and keep my skills sharp.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Paul: Oh, gosh, there’s so much … T-SQL, DAX, MDX, SSIS, and Power Query are all so powerful in their own way. I think knowing when to use the right tool in the right way is far more powerful than doing screwy things with any one tool.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Paul: Data quality problems suck but are a reality in every project and always will be. Patching and covering up these issues rather than meeting them head-on will inevitably get someone in trouble. Acknowledge and understand the issue, find a quick win if you can, but in the end, address the core issue and build a bridge to solve it in the long term.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Paul: I keep convincing myself that I’m getting better at some things and then relearning lessons. I choose my technology battles. In the ever-expanding world of technology, you can’t master it all, but you can stay on the cutting edge in areas that matter to you. I try to be honest with myself and others, share what I learn, and ask for help when I need it.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Paul: Use it right away and then teach someone else. Go find a manageable problem to solve in your space so that you can apply what you learn. I’m presenting sessions on upgrading SQL Server BI projects, Power BI, and Datazen, so … install SQL Server in a sandbox and play with it. Create a Power BI subscription, download my workshop project and get your hands dirty. Install the Datazen Publisher and explore. My passion is BI and visualizing data to make a difference. Go, find your passion.

Find Paul on his blog at SqlServerBiBlog.com or on Twitter @paul_turley, and check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Niko Neugebauer

September 15, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Niko Neugebauer takes us inside his session, “Understanding and Solving Common Columstore Problems”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Niko: My all-time favourite super-hero is Batman, because he is definitely a geek—using a lot of cool IT stuff and gadgets. The most important part, naturally, is that he is a regular human with his highs and lows, wins and losses, suffering to make a difference, to make a better world.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Niko: My first database experience started with Clipper in 1996; that was one of the first and took off around 1998 with a dive into SQL language and then MySQL and Oracle databases. Working as a developer and maintaining a number of web applications developed into a full-fledged interest in “making it run faster,” from which my original interest in learning the databases was born.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Niko: Data tells a story—about the company, the business, and the people that are involved in this data project.

Understanding and using the existing data before expanding and improving the solution is the key to building better solutions. Care about the data quality, and it will give you tremendous value back.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis—the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Niko: Not caring about database design, not trying to understand the way that the engine works. Every application starts with just a couple of rows, until it gets big and important. If you fail at the initial schema design, it might be very difficult and costly to correct.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Niko: The ability to build a better world, in which people can make better and more precise decisions. There are so many amazing opportunities to help people build better businesses. I am extremely excited about it.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Niko: Starting to experiment with Columnstore indexes and trying different ways of understanding and solving their problems. Columnar technology is one of the stars in the SQL Server engine!

Find Niko online at http://www.nikoport.com or on Twitter @NikoNeugebauer, and check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Edward Pollack

September 2, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Edward Pollack takes us inside his session, “My Favorite DMVs”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Edward: While there is much to be said for superheroes who don’t have actual super powers, such as Batman or Daredevil, I’ve always found myself drawn to those who had to face immense, daunting tasks that were well beyond what we’d expect any one person to be able to take care of. Growing up, I loved Superman, and found that the stronger and smarter he got, the tougher the competition become. Even though he seemed invincible, he was often in danger of getting killed or being unable to solve the problems facing him, despite his powers. He had to get ahead of the competition to have a chance of winning.

Getting ahead in SQL Server means continuing to get stronger so that you can deal with unforeseen problems or those that come about as a result of new software changes, features, or unexpected growth. Dynamic Management Views are a key to efficient monitoring and allow us to identify bad situations before they become 2am wake-up calls. With them, we can improve efficiency, save time and money, and respond quickly if emergencies arrive. They are our x-ray vision or super hearing for SQL Server!

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Edward: Like many in the world of data, my story did not begin in databases or data science, but in hardware. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering, I spent many years working in systems administration, building and upgrading server hardware, and supporting a majority of the backend functionality for small companies. One day the DBA left, without a plan to replace him. I began looking into his job, seeing what he did, and what it was all about. Needless to say, I broke quite a few things early on. Despite any misadventures, I found this to be a fascinating, quickly evolving area where my skill set fit well. Data challenges were exciting, and there was always more to learn, more to see, and new foes to vanquish!

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Edward: SQL Server provides a ton of tools that we can use to troubleshoot, monitor, debug, and fix problems as they arise. Many are documented, but not all are documented meaningfully enough to be usable out of the box. Extended events, dynamic management views, and server metrics can provide immense knowledge about a database environment. While many excellent software suites will manage your environment for you, understanding the internals of where their data comes from can allow for the ability to monitor more specific use cases. Applications often have their own special quirks, and the ability to tailor your own monitoring to them can increase uptime and provide better insight into your software while offering chances to improve it as new weaknesses are discovered.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Edward: Fear of change. We are in a rapidly evolving field where new versions of our core software are released frequently. New hardware and software technologies are popular now that were unheard of only a few years ago. Doing the best for our software environments requires that we research and learn new technologies regularly and stand prepared to test and implement them. As our data grows quickly, we need newer and more powerful tools to keep up. SSD SANs? In-Memory OLTP? Hybrid environments? Columnstore indexes?

Tools like these could be game-changers for many companies and organizations, but only those that are willing to learn about and consider them. It is very easy to fall into a conservative, change-phobic mindset where we eschew all risk in favor of stability and the status quo. Upgrades can seem expensive, time-consuming, and risky, but the resources we spend now to get ahead are dwarfed by what we will pay in the future if we are forced to maintain an outdated infrastructure. Bring forced to upgrade, rather than being able to do so on our own terms, is disruptive and expensive, and distracts from all the other important tasks that we should be worrying about. Evil villains are evolving their strategies every day. Only with new tools and ideas can we keep up and hope to defeat them!

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Edward: SQL Server is such a vast product, with so many features and tools, that we often become more proficient in one area at the expense of another. I’ve personally spent so much time researching and working in optimization, database design, and with new, related features that when problems came along relating to replication, I was not as well-prepared as I’d like to have been. This is a source of both excitement and frustration, as I love learning new things, but hate being caught flat-footed when time is of the essence. The fact that there is, and always will be, more makes the future bright for us, but will ensure we are never short on challenges and late nights.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Edward: Attendees will be provided with a whole host of queries that come directly from the demos during the session. Test, alter, and play with them! Customize these tools to be useful in your own database environments, and then use the principles behind them to build your own! Once you have this set of indispensable tools, work on automating them so that you can focus on other projects and not be distracted by the deluge of charts, graphs, and messages that we often “keep an eye on” in production. There’s always more to do, but the further ahead we can get now, the easier our jobs will be in the future, no matter where we end up!

See Edward at PASS Summit 2015, and check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Jes Borlund

September 2, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Jes Borlund takes us inside her session, “Minimize Data Loss with Advanced Restore Methods”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Jes: Those who know me won't be at all surprised: It's Wonder Woman. She embodies truth, justice, strength, and wisdom. She is always helping those who are in need—the same thing DBAs do day in and day out! After attending my session, "Minimize Data Loss with Advanced Restore Methods", DBAs will be even more prepared to help. I'll give them the "lasso of truth" for recovering data when there's been corruption!

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Jes: I took a Structured Query Language class in college. The DBA then handed me a stack of report requests, showed me how to open SSRS, and said, "Have fun." I loved making the data tell a story. After the DBA left, I became the "accidental" DBA, and realized I liked that, too—so much so that I became a purposeful DBA. I've spent years learning how SQL Server works, and how to work with it, so I can help businesses make the most of their data.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Jes: SQL Server is a powerhouse of features. One of the most under-utilized tools in it is the SQL Server Agent. Most DBAs will set up jobs to run backups, but beyond that they don't tap into the power of jobs that can have multiple steps or run PowerShell scripts, Alerts based on Performance Monitor counters, or have an Alert kick off a job. I suggest DBAs dig into it more!

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Jes: Not knowing how to restore data. The business's data is the business. Without proper backups, companies have gone out of business. But if the wrong type or schedule of backups is being taken, or no one knows how to restore the backups, or there's corruption within a backup, the business is still vulnerable. The best skill a database professional can have is a working knowledge of restoring data.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Jes: I really enjoy creating high-availability and disaster-recovery solutions for businesses. When I've built a system, and I hear that there was a problem over a weekend, but no data was lost and there was no business interruption because of what I built, I'm happy. It shows that SQL Server is an enterprise-level RDBMS, and the data is safe.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Jes: I have instructions and resources for all the attendees to create a VM, download a sample database, create corruption, and fix it. I want everyone that attends to spend an hour the following week practicing what they learned. It's much easier to learn to fix corruption when it's a test database than when the business data is really in trouble!

Find Jes at PASS Summit 2015, and check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Dmitri Korotkevitch

September 1, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Dmitri Korotkevitch takes us inside his general session “Thinking Outside the In-Memory Box” and full-day Pre-Conference Session “SQL Server Internals: The Practical Angle”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Dmitri: As you can guess by my name, I grew up in a culture that had very little knowledge of super-heroes, and I missed an opportunity to pick my favorite one. Nevertheless, I think that concept is overrated. Every one of us can obtain superpowers by motivating ourselves and working hard toward our goals. It is a long, challenging, and often painful process, but the results are well worth it.

In my Pre-Con, I will help soon-to-become SQL Server super-heroes to better understand their super-powers and use them in the most advantageous way. As a bonus, I will teach people how to knowledgeably answer, "It depends," to any SQL Server-related question.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Dmitri: I started my career in IT as an application developer, slowly migrating towards backend and database development. I quickly discovered that it was impossible to write efficient code without understanding how SQL Server executes it and decided to learn SQL Server Internals. Since then, my life has never been the same.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage? What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Dmitri: I will try to kill two birds with one stone and answer both these questions together. I think the biggest mistake people make is following the separation of duties in the industry. Database professionals limit themselves to either a DBA or DB Developer role and live within those artificial boundaries. I believe it is impossible to succeed in either of those roles unless you step up and look at the entire product. Strong database professionals need to know how SQL Server works, in order to properly design database schema, write and optimize queries and T-SQL code, create sound HA/DR strategies, and so on.

Obviously, I am not advocating a “jack of all trades, master of none” approach. Rather, I view successful database professionals as the “jack of all trades, master of many” type. People like that are the most successful professionals in the industry.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Dmitri: We are living in an interesting time. The amount of data and systems complexity are growing at an extremely fast pace. It is challenging but also exciting and makes you proud of your work. There are also plenty of new and promising technologies appearing on the market. In-Memory OLTP, Azure SQL Databases and PaaS stack, Power BI, Query Store and many others—they are changing how we design, implement, and manage the solutions and open the possibilities we were afraid to even consider before. It is a good time to be on the data side of the house!

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Dmitri: I do not want to promise that people will become SQL Server Internals experts just by attending the Pre-Con. It is a broad subject and impossible to learn in one day. My goal is to help lay a foundation upon which people can build their knowledge. I would encourage students to download and play with the demo scripts, read my and Kalen Delaney’s books, watch MCM Readiness Videos—do whatever it takes to continue learning. I will also answer any questions in person at PASS Summit or over email thereafter.

Find Dmitri on his blog at http://aboutsqlserver.com or on Twitter @aboutsqlserver, and check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

Recap: Inside the PASS Board's July 2015 Meeting

August 20, 2015 — The Board of Directors met via teleconference on July 9, 2015 and were joined by new Board advisors Diego Nogare and Eduardo Castro. Here are the highlights of the meeting:

    • Adam Jorgensen introduced the Board to Diego and Eduardo, PASS’s new Latin America (LATAM) Board advisors.
    • We had an in-depth discussion of PASS’s strategy for growing and supporting the BA community and providing true value for the PASS membership across both new and existing communities, as well as a potential future collaboration with Microsoft. Adam shared feedback that he had collected from the Board, Microsoft Board representative Jennifer Moser, and the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) planning committee.
    • We voted to re-establish the PASS Business Analytics Conference (BAC) planning committee as a Steering Committee through June 30, 2016. The committee, chaired by Jen Stirrup, will help drive the continued growth and strategic development for business analytics focused events and members.
    • We discussed the process for filling the upcoming off-term seat, as explained in an earlier post.

As we head into the Board of Directors election season, I encourage all PASS members to keep an eye on our Elections page for upcoming events and information.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding any of these topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thomas LaRock
PASS President

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Ryan Adams

August 19, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Ryan Adams, President of the PASS Performance Virtual Chapter, takes us inside his general session, “Install an AlwaysOn Failover Cluster and Availability Group”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Ryan: My favorite would be Thor. It would be cool to summon lightening every time you see a bad practice and lay the hammer smack down when management wants to cut corners without fully understanding the true cost to the business. I hope people walk away with the power to design solid HA and DR architectures and to understand how they can increase resiliency by tweaking a few things.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Ryan: Years ago, when I was supporting servers, we had a fire-drill patching situation. Back then, automated tools for patching were just coming out, and most patching was done manually. We had a couple of SQL Server2000 boxes and we needed to check the current version to see whether they required the patch. I went to Help…About and got a whole lot of nothing. I was intrigued by this application that hid its version and required a query in Query Analyzer—remember that old friend?—to get the version information. Once I started playing and learning, I was hooked.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Ryan: Policy Based Management. This is a fantastic tool for managing large environments to enforce standards and consistency. Not only can you manage all your best practice settings, but you can enforce naming standards for tables, views, stored procedures, and more.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Ryan: The biggest mistake I see is lack of a proper backup plan.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Ryan: I get excited meeting new DBAs. They are often overwhelmed and have a thirst for learning the technology; that rejuvenates me.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Ryan: In my session, I will deploy a Failover Cluster and an Availability Group across a 5-node Windows cluster. The next step for attendees will be learning more about Windows Clustering.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.

PASS Summit 2015 Speaker Q&A: Reza Rad

August 19, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Reza Rad takes us inside his general session, “SSIS vs. Azure Data Factory”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Reza: I am a fan of Batman, especially the incarnation of Bruce Wayne in the newest movie series. Batman is not superhuman; he is mortal, but he has the willingness and substantial willpower to make things right. My favourite character in these Batman movies is Lucius Fox, who provides tools, such as the Batmobile, that Batman can leverage in his missions.

In my session, I will play role of Fox: I’ll explain great tools for data transformation—Azure Data Factory for cloud and SSIS for on-premises—so the audience can use these tools in their missions. The super-power that audience will gain after my session is knowing when and where to use which tool or service.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Reza: I was an intern in a software consulting company in 1999. Those days helped me become familiar with the database world, especially SQL Server 6.5. I soon understood that I enjoyed working with data, building data models, writing queries, and all the cool stuff about data.

I got much of my learning as a self-learner through books, websites, and forums. I also was interested in sharing whatever I learned by posting answers in forums. This helped me to become more expert in data-related fields. In about 2009, I started my blog with technical articles about SSIS, T-SQL, and other data aspects. Now, I speak around the world and write books on SQL Server, Azure, Power BI, and the data analysis field.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Reza: I am a big fan of data transformation and consolidation. I’ve spent many years working with data-transformation tools, from T-SQL code to great tools such as SSIS, Azure Data Factory, and Power Query. I believe that there are many secrets and hidden powers in these tools that can help developers and data professionals. I spend a lot of time sharing my experience and knowledge in these fields so others can benefit from it.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Reza: High tech is great, but it is not the whole story. Creating a fancy chart is not BI; there are many aspects and components. Many BI professionals overlook the backend of data. To have a great BI solution (and any data-related solution), you need to design and implement the backend carefully. The backend can be your database design, performance tuning, SSIS package tuning, data-transfer principals, and so on.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Reza: The world of technology never stops! I like this. There are always new features, new components. There are always new methods of doing things more easily with better performance and more reliable solutions. In this fast-paced career, I enjoy working with best practices of existing tools and services as well as experiencing new features and components.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Reza: I believe that after my session, the audience will have a clear understanding of the similarities and differences between Azure Data Factory and SSIS. They will understand when and where to use which tool and service. I recommend that attendees use these technologies in their real-world solutions to truly understand their awesome power.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.