Delivering Intelligent Data Integration through SSIS in Dallas 31 May 2019!

I am honored to announce I will be delivering Intelligent Data Integration through SSIS – a day-long SQL Saturday 841 – Dallas pre-conference session 31 May 2019!


What is Intelligent Data Integration? SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) packages developed using tried and true design patterns, built to participate in a DevOps enterprise practicing DILM (Data Integration Lifecycle Management), produced using Biml (Business Intelligence Markup Language) and executed using an SSIS Framework.

Attend a day of training focused on intelligent data integration delivered by an experienced SSIS consultant who has also led an enterprise team of several ETL developers during multiple projects that spanned 2.5 years (and delivered).

Attendees will learn:

  • a holistic approach to data integration design.
  • a methodology for enterprise data integration that spans development through operational support.
  • how automation changes everything. Including data integration with SSIS.

Topics include:

  1. SSIS Design Patterns
  2. Executing SSIS in the Enterprise
  3. Custom SSIS Execution Frameworks
  4. DevOps and SSIS
  5. Biml, Biml Frameworks, and Tools

Prerequisites: Familiarity with SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS).

Continental Breakfast, Lunch and Afternoon Snacks are provided.

I hope to see you there!


My Day – Sunday, 22 Jul 2018 – #SQLCareer

6:30-9:00 AM

Awaken. Weigh in, pray, read the Bible, check the burn barrel.
This morning I weigh 200 pounds. Prayer, praise, gratitude, thanking God for another day.
This morning I read Romans 8:31-39. I am teaching our adult Sunday School class this morning and we are making our way through Romans. Powerful.
Coffee. Breakfast. Boy-wrangling. It’s tough to get those boys up some mornings. This morning isn’t too bad. But it isn’t too good either. Apparently it was another late night online. It might be time to adjust the internet availability schedule. Again…

Riley is out-growing clothes weekly, it seems. He’s almost 11 and that happens. We manage to get them fed, watered, medicated, and dressed.

9:00 AM-2:00 PM

We pile into the vans and head to town. Worship starts with breakfast (we had a keto-friendly breakfast already, so we just bring stuff and don’t eat). Each adult Sunday School class is responsible for breakfast one Sunday per month. Our class has 4th Sundays and we pack some goodies Christy has left after the Farmer’s Market yesterday. Praise band rehearsal starts at 9:30. My hands are not cooperating with the guitar this morning. Note to self: No more 3-hour ax-limbing marathons on Saturdays… It’s Vacation Bible School week and Christy has a coordination meeting immediately after the service. We connect with some brothers and sisters for lunch at Pino’s across from Longwood University where good food and fellowship is enjoyed by all!

2:00-3:30 PM

I complete my presentation slides for the Data Platform Summit 2018 and upload all three presentations to the site.

3:30-8:00 PM

I empty the now-cool ash and restart the burn barrel. I’m hoping to get a nice hot fire burning before the threatening storms strike. Once the fire settles into a steady burn deep inside the barrel, Christy, Emma, and I go grocery shopping. We pick up supper from local eateries and head home.

Farmville has two colleges: Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College. One nice thing about living in a college town is we have plenty of restaurants to choose from – and new restaurants open all the time. Some close, it’s true. But overall, the colleges “recession-proof” our small town.

We get home in time to watch the beginning of Shark Week on The Discovery Channel.


So… that’s a peek into four days in my life. I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-series that includes this post plus the previous three:

Could I do things differently? Yep. Could I do things better? Goodness yes! This is what was queued for these four days; the decisions I made, some of the stuff I did with the time.

As I mentioned, this week is Vacation Bible School week so we will be at Heritage Baptist Church each evening helping Farmville-area young people learn more about faith in God. It will be a time when lifelong memories are made for the kids attending (I still remember stuff from VBS in Green Bay Virginia when I was a wee lad). It will also be a time of packing Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, stress, teaching, running around, helping, hard work, learning, hurt-feelings, forgiveness, serving, and of joy in serving.

I didn’t accomplish all my goals for last week. That happens. It’s called “life.” The older I get – and I get even older Tuesday! – the more I’ve learned that life is mostly made up of interruptions. At least, the important stuff is. Things like spilled chocolate milk and scratches and helping and pulled backs and calls and emails.

Work is just stuff I do in between interruptions.
Work is a part of life.
Work is important.
Work is not the most important part of life.

I bumped some work goals into this week and will be back at ’em Monday morning, Lord willing. And life, Lord willing, will go on.


My Day – Saturday, 21 Jul 2018 – #SQLCareer

5:30-9:30 AM

Awaken after hitting snooze thrice.

Weigh in, pray, read the Bible, check the burn barrel.
This morning I weigh 201 pounds.
There’s a bunch to pray about. I start with praise followed by gratitude, thanking God for another day.
This morning I read Psalm 150 again (now reading Psalms from last to first), the second half of Romans 14, and Colossians 1:9-14.

I help Christy and Emma get the van loaded for the Farmer’s Market today. They sell all sorts of goodies.

The fire in the burn barrel is out and a few coals are smoldering. I decide to let is cool down and empty the ashes, then start over.


9:30-11:00 AM

I get the boys up – those boys can sleep. Stevie Ray needs to finish up some laundry and homeschool testing and Riley has some cleaning to do. I clean up the kitchen some and then head to the office.

Slides for the Data Platform Summit 2018 in Bangalore, India are due tomorrow. I’ve delivered each presentation before. But this is the first delivery of the Intelligent Data Integration precon with Azure Data Factory material. Exciting!

11:00 AM-2:30 PM

I head outside for some “pine therapy.” It’s Saturday and I want to get the trunk of this large-ish tree on the ground. That means either finishing or all but finishing the limbing of the tree. To turn it into exercise (well, more exercise) I decide to use the ax instead of the chainsaw. I accomplish my goal. Four large piles of pine brush lie drying in the Farmville sun.

2:30 PM

I call it for the day. I may have overdone it a little. Exercise is a good idea and getting outside for a stretch was awesome. Perhaps the ax wasn’t such a good idea… My hands and elbows are sore.

I do something I rarely do – plop down on the couch and watch some television.


One Solution to Presentation Categories

I’ve shared suggestions for improving presentation categories:

My chief concern is the scalar nature of the selections (the “Naked Scalar”). As I pointed out in both posts, I’ve been delivering presentations to the SQL Server Community for more than a decade and I’ve never – not even once – delivered a presentation that was strictly Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced; or Level 100, 200, 300, 400, or 500.

It’s a mix. Every. Single. Time.

PASS Tracks

That said, I really like the definitions for PASS Tracks. Click that link and read through them. PASS did a good job distinguishing different types of helpful presentations and defining tracks.

As a data person, I get the logic behind the scalar values. Scalars are easier to store and way easier to search.

My post about presentation levels was inspired more by feedback from attendees who shared they thought my session level was incorrect – that it should have been higher or lower (I’ve actually received both complaints – that the session level was advertised as too high and too low for the same delivery of the same presentation…).

As an engineer, I’d like more accuracy:


I’m not sure sharing more accurately would improve the conference attendee experience. Sharing more than a scalar – at least like the chart above – would increase the costs of printed material. It would require more engagement on the part of the attendee and more detail – and management – on the part of the presenter. Why management? My presentations evolve over time (I like to think they get better but I am biased…)

Would it be worth the investment? I think probably not.

So, while I continue to loathe the Naked Scalar wherever I encounter it, perhaps a scalar is the best solution after all.

I will continue to place these charts in my presentations and share them at the beginning of my session, in case someone thinks the presentation will cover more of one topic they wish to learn about. In this way, people have enough information – early enough in the presentation – to vote with their feet and attend a different presentation.


T-SQL Tuesday 102: Giving Back

I enjoy the privilege and honor of participating in the SQL Server Community alongside many who read this blog. And I know from past experience that some reading this post will make the switch from consumers-only in our community to sharers and consumers one day.

For my part, I consume more than I contribute. I am thankful to the many folks who contribute with their blog posts, tweets, social media posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, and other media. I enjoy personal interaction most of all and have thoroughly enjoyed conversations with folks in the community at SQL Saturdays!

I learn way more than I teach.

Beyond the SQL Server Community

Many in the SQL Server Community serve their local communities in civil capacities. Some volunteer as first-responders and fire-fighters, for example. I know one person who serves on the local school board. Several are active in churches, charities, and religious organizations; and many dedicate time to local schools and/or alternative educational activities such as homeschool organizations.

I’m honored to be part of this community and to serve alongside all of you every day. We in the SQL Server Community participate in an awesome community!


Who is Exhibiting at the PASS Summit 2018? Enterprise Data & Analytics, That’s Who!

I am honored and excited to announce that Enterprise Data & Analytics will be an exhibitor at the PASS Summit 2018!

If you browse on over to the PASS Summit Sponsors page and scroll to the Exhibitors section, you’ll find us listed:

Honored and excited – that’s me!

I see – and have lived – this virtuous cycle in the SQL Server and PASS communities:

  • A person discovers the Community and is overwhelmed at our openness and genuine willingness to help others. They realize they are not alone.
  • They learn more and become better at their jobs which, in turn, positively impacts their quality of life.
  • Some desire to give back to the community, so they develop a presentation and submit it to a User Group or SQL Saturday.
  • Some are selected to deliver their presentation.
  • Some presentations are well-received and increase the visibility of the presenter in the community.
  • As presentations are honed over time, some are used as a springboard to develop and deliver other presentations, further increasing the visibility of the presenter.
  • Some presenters achieve enough visibility to become a brand.
  • Some presenters are selected to present at larger events, like the PASS Summit.
  • Some presenters use their newfound greater visibility and brand awareness to join a consultancy practice or to become independent consultants.
  • The continued care and feeding of the brand of some consultants drives business growth.
  • The businesses of some consultants grows to the point where they can become sponsors and exhibitors at events such as User Groups, SQL Saturdays, and – eventually – the PASS Summit.

This cycle can be broken (or quashed) at any point by any number of actions, inactions, missteps, mistakes, and/or competitive overreach. In fact, I promise you will make mistakes and take missteps along the way (ask me how I know), but those mistakes and failures can tear you down or build you into more than you were – and the outcome is 100% your choice.

I advocate for the next generation of presenters. I want to see you engage, learn, share, grow, build their brands, and give back – just like I did.

Go get ’em!


PS – Need some help with your data? Contact us! We are here to help and by hiring Enterprise Data & Analytics you support some great communities!

My Learning Resources for SSIS

People often ask me, “Andy, where can I learn SSIS or learn more about it?” Well, you’re at one such location – my blog! I’ve been blogging about SSIS for about 10 years as I type this. There’s a lot posts here about SSIS – that’s the good news. The bad news is: There’s a lot of posts here about SSIS.

Some other places you can learn about SSIS from me:

I hope to see you at one of these events. If you read this blog, come up and introduce yourself. I’m the fat guy with a braided beard!


My Plans for PASS Summit 2017

I’m looking forward to attending the PASS Summit 2017 next week – especially since I missed last year. If you search, you can find lots of great advice to attendees of the Summit. I agree with almost all of the advice out there and, if you’re a first-time attendee, it would serve you well to search out this advice.


I love the PASS Summit. I wrote about why in Why I Love the PASS Summit. It’s always an honor to present. This year I’m presenting Use Biml to Automate SSIS Design Patterns at the Summit – with demos I’ve been evolving for the past couple years. I like the latest version a lot, and I owe Scott Currie kudos for helping my C# surpass n00b status! I’m also presenting at the Seattle SQL Pro Workshop 2017 on Designing an SSIS Framework – a topic that I plan to write about next year.

My Plans

Other than presenting at the Freecon and the Summit, I hope to meet with Christian brothers and sisters the few mornings I am in town. We will share prayer requests and pray for each other, PASS leadership, and for safety and a positive experience of everyone attending the conference. This is something Mike Walsh (@mike_walsh) started years ago. He calls it PASS Prayers. Although Mike’s efforts predate many newer social-context efforts at the PASS Summit, you won’t find a table for our demographic at the conference nor any official recognition that the group even exists from the PASS organization (other than a sign to a multi-faith prayer room).

That’s not a complaint – I kind of like it that way.

That’s about it for plans.

I’ll likely go to bed late (for me), around 10:00 PM each night. Since it takes me time to unwind each evening, I’ll likely be heading for my room around 9:00 PM. I’m an early riser, so you may find me lurking in the Sheraton lobby or the Daily Grill (I love the smoked salmon for breakfast!) around 6:00 AM each morning.


The rest of the time I’ll be wandering around the Convention Center catching up with old friends and engaging with new friends. I plan to have copies of Building Custom Tasks for SSIS on me as I meander, and I plan to give them away for free. So if you want a copy, hunt me down! I’ll likely be sharing my location by Twitter (@AndyLeonard). I shouldn’t be hard to find – I’m a fat guy with a braided beard.

I’ll try to stop by as many after-hours events as possible. Most require registration and are sold out at this point… perhaps I’ll just walk by and wave.

My Advice

Travel with a friend. If you find yourself stuck somewhere, reach out on Twitter. Our community is filled with helpful people. If you find yourself in danger, call 911. I’m serious.

Take care of yourself. Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of fellow community members and try to be helpful if you believe they need help. Seattle’s a big city (especially if you’re from a place the size of Farmville Virginia). There are many wonderful and cool people there. There are also a handful of non-wonderful and not-cool people there that you should watch out for.

Have a good time. Learn stuff. Engage people – especially people you admire. If you’re shy (I am not shy) or introverted (like me) and need practice engaging someone, I’m an easy engagement-starter-person.

Be kind. Be courteous. Be helpful. Be thoughtful.