Is SQL PaaS Right for You?

By | Azure
With the arrival of the new year, you might be considering how SQL Server can better fit your company’s growth in 2019.  SQL Platform as a Service (PaaS) could be a viable option for managing essential database operations. With PaaS, your SQL Server workloads would run as a hosted service in the cloud with most database management functions maintained by the cloud service provider instead of your IT team. Top Reasons to Consider PaaS Operates completely within the cloud. PaaS provides developers with an environment to develop and deploy applications entirely within the cloud. This includes complex enterprise applications your company may need to solve business problems and simple cloud-based applications. Scaling is easy. You can pay-as-you-go. Service providers allow you to take advantage of advanced development tools as you need them, giving you more value at an affordable rate. Your bottom line increases. You no longer need to purchase software licenses, application infrastructure, or development tools. Finally, your development team can have the opportunity to focus on managing the applications and services they create while the cloud service provider manages the rest. Decrease coding time. The development tools PaaS can provide include some pre-coded application components (i.e., security features, directory services, workflow, etc.) (more…)

Understanding Blockchain, the Trending New Tool

By | Database Technology Trends
There’s been an increasing amount of buzz around blockchain technology lately, and people are more interested than ever before. “A new technology that functions as a distributed ledger within a decentralized network and promises greater security, lower transaction costs, etc.” is usually how it’s described. But what does all of this really mean? What is Blockchain? In its simplest form, Blockchain is a digital ledger (consider the general ledger your organization’s finance/accounting teams use) that stores information across a network of computers. It stores information in batches called “blocks,” that are linked together in a chronological fashion, similar to a chain of blocks. This information can be virtually anything, but try imagining it in terms of a financial transaction, since that’s probably the easiest to visualize. To illustrate, here’s what happens when you make a purchase: Imagine purchasing new software online from Microsoft (for illustrative purposes only). The block would store the date, time, and dollar amount of your purchase. It would also log information about who is making the transaction. For security purposes, your name would be recorded as a unique “digital signature,” more like a username instead of your actual name. Once your block has been verified and (more…)
Database Consulting

What are Data Clusters and What Can They do For You?

By | Azure, SQL Server
Learning to effectively manage large datasets is key to optimizing your data analytics. Using data clusters can help optimize your data management. It involves grouping data points with similar characteristics into the same cluster to speed up processing time and improve analysis. Consider starting an analysis project on customer spending habits by gender in different regions. Your time on the project would be maximized if you’re able to use statistical techniques to automatically organize the data into logical groups prior to analyzing. How do data clusters work? Data clustering allows you to partition large volumes of structured and unstructured data/observations into logical groupings. One way it does this is by analyzing all of the data in the data warehouse and comparing each data point with clusters created. You rely upon the clustering algorithms to sort and cluster the data in a logical way. In a perfect world, all data points in the same group should be highly similar in nature, while data points in different groups should be dissimilar. There are several different models and algorithms that guide the clustering process. Here are a few: Hierarchical Method: This method creates separate successive clusters using specific criteria. Partitioning Method: This method (more…)

What’s New in Management Studio Version 17.6

By | SQL Server
Microsoft continues to make great strides in improving SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Version 17.6 comes with some impressive new features and bug fixes that enhance your user experience. Azure SQL Database Managed Instance Users If you’re using the newly developed Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, a new model of Azure SQL Database, you should definitely consider upgrading to SSMS v 17.6. One of the most notable changes is the added support for some of its most common management scenarios. After you complete the upgrade, you can expect a much more efficient support process if you encounter issues with the following: Databases – Creating, altering, backing up, and restoring databases are all fairly common tasks in database management, which makes their processes easy to support. Object Explorer – All technical issues that arise while using Object Explorer to manage objects in each SQL Server instance are eligible for support. SQL Linked Servers – You can relax when using Linked Servers to connect to other database instances on a remote server, same server, or an entirely different machine. The SQL Tools Team has you covered. SQL Agent Jobs – Your automated execution jobs/tasks usually consist of several steps. Any disruption can (more…)

How to Make Power BI Work for You

By | Database Technology Trends, SQL Server
If you’re searching for software that will enhance your analytics process while making it simpler and more flexible, Power BI is worth looking at. It provides tools that the non-technical users on your team can use to perform analytics with minimal help from the IT team. You can create intuitive models, data visualizations, and dashboards and share them with whoever you want. What is Power BI? –Power BI is a cloud-based analytics software service consisting of a combination of tools (i.e., visualization, self-service data analysis, etc.) that allows users to connect to multiple data sources—no matter where the data resides— and create customized, coherent insights. It’s not exactly new since many of its components were in the market prior to its 2015 release. For instance, Microsoft released Power Pivot as an Excel add-on in 2010. This tool alone is a game changer as it gives analysts the tools to import large volumes of data, create relationships between the data, and perform powerful analysis using PivotTables and Pivot Charts. Using Power BI, you can further manipulate these datasets to perform more complex analyses. Utilize All Components of Power BI – Power BI consists of many components. Users find some more useful (more…)

Make the Most of Microsoft SQL Server with Management Studio

By | SQL Server
Microsoft SQL Servers are an industry leading choice for your workloads, but if you are not using Management Studio you may be making things harder for yourself. The additional service is designed to integrate with your SQL database engine and improve object management, database queries, and other management functionality. What is Management Studio? – SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) was originally released with SQL 2005 and helps users access and manage their SQL instances. It is an integrated management interface that allows you to access your SQL Server, manage objects, write scripts and perform queries with a number of tools and features. It combines tools from Enterprise Manger, Query Analyzer, and Analysis Manager to get this job done. SSMS is easy to use with an intuitive User Interface (UI) and familiar design built on Visual Studio and will help improve your team’s management of SQL Server objects and elements Object Explorer – The interface is intuitive and makes accessing and managing your databases simple and efficient. The Object Explorer is a hierarchical navigation tree that allows you to locate and act upon objects in your environment. These objects can be databases, tables, etc. You can click through the tree to (more…)

What is Azure Stack and Why Do You Need It?

By | Azure
Whether you are using Azure or not, I am sure you are familiar with the term. The Azure Cloud is the fastest growing cloud computing service out there and is quickly edging out AWS for the market. It is a powerful and expansive service that fully supports hybrid infrastructures for robust data management. You may not know quite as much about Azure Stack, so we wanted to shed some light on this Azure extension. What is Azure Stack? – This service is an addition to your Azure Cloud network that enables offline operations on your edge computing machines. It allows your on-site users to manage data, perform analyses, and even design queries using little bandwidth. Actions can be performed in an offline environment and then reserved for specific connection windows and deployed to the cloud. Let’s Talk About Edge Computing – Your network is a complicated series of user APIs and core network processing capabilities. Think of this overall structure as a web of interconnected strings leading back to the central data hub. Edge computing refers to the processes that take place farther away from your centralized network, literally at the edge of your web. We will discuss this in (more…)

We’re Excited About SQL Server 2019, Here’s Why

By | Azure
Microsoft SQL Server 2019 is out in preview and it’s got some exciting new features. When Microsoft announced the release at their Ignite 2018 conference on Sept 24th, we couldn’t wait to see what was in store. This newest offering will continue to build on the solid foundation of SQL servers while expanding offerings of flexibility and further embracing big data by adding support for Kubernetes, Apache Spark, and Hadoop clusters. Embraces Big Data – Probably the biggest change to SQL 2019 is the ability to manage big data clusters. Big data has always been a bit of a gap in the arsenal of Microsoft’s SQL servers, but not anymore. With SQL 2019, Microsoft is fully embracing big data with Kubernetes. Kubernetes is an open-source container-based platform that represents exciting new possibilities for this SQL engine. With SQL on Kubernetes you will be able to can create high availability solutions with Linux containers and manage multiple data sources all in one place. Manage Relational and Non-Relational Data – The new engine can query data from a number of different sources, including relational and non-relational data storage. Microsoft has built in native support of Apache Spark and Hadoop Distributed File System (more…)

3 Top Analytics Tools To Boost Your Productivity

By | Azure, Database Technology Trends, Oracle, SQL Server
Data analytics have become a major focus for companies determined to be competitive in the market. Leaders need to be able to access and analyze timely data quickly to help drive business decisions that will sustain their companies’ competitive advantage. Thankfully, the growing technology market continues to make this possible. Companies already have numerous analytics tools to choose from, and the options will continue to grow. We will now discuss three of the top analytics tools you should consider before making your next strategic move. 1. Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) – SSAS is an innovative processing and data mining tool within the Microsoft SQL Server. It analyzes large amounts of data, provides business intelligence reports, and can be used to create business models to support business decisions. All data is stored within a data warehouse, and users can access to create cubes that allow faster analysis. These cubes are multi-dimensional and can be viewed in various ways. Imagine the data as a pivot table that can be modified using certain dimensions and attributes. Multi-dimensional expression (MDX) is the language used to query a cube. Compared to other leading analytics tools, Microsoft SSAS is less complex and much easier (more…)
Backup Recovery

Improving your Database Security with Microsoft Azure

By | Azure
If you are interested in migrating to a cloud database but concerned about security issues, look no further. Hybrid and cloud native databases do have their own set of security concerns, but if you go with a trusted company and maintain it appropriately, you have nothing to fear. In fact, cloud databases can be more secure since they have access to the most advanced security protocols and automatic updates. Cloud native databases, or DBaaS (Database as a Service) platforms are databases hosted and maintained by third party providers. Operating a DBaaS means that your company will access data through the internet instead of through your internal network. DBaaS solutions offer great benefits for organizations in today’s “Big Data” arena. DBaaS is more scalable and flexible than traditional VM databases. It also eliminates the hardware requirements of maintain a database system. It is crucial to understand and trust the security protocols of your cloud provider before making the switch. Microsoft Azure is at the top of the list when it comes to cloud database offerings. It is a particularly good choice for the security conscious client. Microsoft in general, and particularly Azure, have a long history of prioritizing security for its (more…)