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.


Honored to Present an SSIS and ADF Precon at Data Platform Summit 2018!

I am honored to announce I have been selected to deliver a full-day precon titled A Day of Intelligent Data Integration with SSIS and ADF at the Data Platform Summit 2018 in Bengarulu, India 7 Aug 2018!

This will be my first appearance at the Data Platform Summit and my first visit to India. I am looking forward to the trip and the opportunity – it’s always an honor to present.

You can learn more about my presentation here.

I hope to see you there!


Folks Who Influenced Me (#TSql2sday)

It’s been a while since I wrote a TSql2sday post – too long, in fact. But I saw the topic trending on Twitter in the SQL Server Community and knew I needed to add my 2 cents…

It’s difficult to list all the people who have inspired me. Many continue to inspire me in small and great ways. I will mention as many as I can here, but please know there are dozens of people who inspire me in our awesome community.

Years ago, I wrote – in a post called Things I Know Now – about meeting Ken Henderson and Kalen Delaney (@sqlqueen) at the PASS Summit 2004. They helped me keep my first data-focused job (“Application DBA”) while working to tune my very first data warehouse. Both were inspiring in person and through their training and writing.

I’ve been blessed to work in vocational and community capacities with others who have and continue to inspire me: Scott Currie (@scottcurrie), Steve Jones (@way0utwest), Brian Knight (@brianknight), Andy Warren (@sqlandy), Brian Moran (@briancmoran), Bennett McEwan; all of whom stretched my understanding, all of whom taught me (some continue to teach me). I’ve been honored to work alongside two dozen authors on a dozen book projects. I’m a proud member of the Richmond Technology Community – an eclectic collection of philosophical geeks in .Net, SQL Server, and other technologies. I get to communicate often (and occasionally work with) with people I consider masters of this trade: Brent Ozar (@brento) and Kimberly Tripp (@kimberlyltripp) and Grant Fritchey (@GFritchey) and Kendra Little (@Kendra_Little) and Paul Randal (@paulrandal) and Adam Machanic (@adammachanic) and Andrew Kelly (@GunneyK) and Brian Kelley (@kbriankelley) and Jimmy May (@aspiringgeek) … and so many others.

And, of course, this awesome community inspires me.

Who inspires me today?

Tom Roush (@GEEQL) inspires me each time we interact. I often refer to Tom as “the best unpublished writer I know.” Tom has an inner strength hidden beneath his calm, cool exterior. He’s wise and kind and “in him there is no guile.”

Frank La Vigne (@Tableteer) – my partner in crime at Data Driven. Frank and Brent are tied for the most productive people I know personally. Whenever people ask me how I get so much done, I immediately think, “I’m not Frank or Brent.” Frank is a survivor. He delivers. He gets things done. He’s a voracious reader and learner. I could say the same things about Brent Ozar.

I am surrounded, assisted, and (sometimes) carried by two men at Enterprise Data & Analytics: Kent Bradshaw and Nick Harris. Every day these gentlemen encourage me to be better than Yesterday-Andy.


Presenting Faster SSIS at SQL Saturday 683 – Charlotte 14 Oct

I’m honored and excited to deliver a brand new presentation at SQL Saturday 683 – Charlotte on 14 Oct: Faster SSIS!


Ever wonder why SSIS runs so slow? Watch SSIS author Andy Leonard as he runs test loads using sample and real-world data and shows you how to tune SQL Server 2016 Integration Services (SSIS 2016) packages.

We’ll start by experimenting with SSIS design patterns to improve performance loading AdventureWorks data. We will implement different change detection patterns and compare execution performance for each. Then, we’ll explain a Data Flow Task’s bottleneck when loading binary large objects – or Blobs.

Finally, we’ll demonstrate a design pattern that uses a Script Component in a Data Flow to boost load performance to MySql, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

I hope to see you there!

Register today!


New Article: Help for DBAs Who Support SSIS at SQL Server Central

My latest article, Help for DBAs Who Support SSIS… is now live at SQL Server Central!

In this article I share some tips and tricks for using SSIS Catalog Compare for surfacing SSIS Catalog metadata, comparing SSIS projects deployed to different SSIS Catalog, and Scripting SSIS Catalog configurations metadata (such as Environments, Environment Variables, References, and Reference Mappings).

SSIS Catalog Compare is part of the DILM Suite (or Data Integration Lifecycle Management Suite) which is designed to support data integration automation. Although SSIS Catalog Compare is not free, most of the tools and utilities at DILM Suite are free – and some are open source.

I invite you to check out the tools and utilities at DILM Suite. I’d love your feedback, and please use the Contact page to send us your questions.


Learn More:

Designing an SSIS Framework (recorded webinar, registration required)
Biml in the Enterprise Data Integration Lifecycle (recorded webinar, registration required)
Enterprise SSIS, Biml, and DILM – 18 Jul 1:00 PM EDT – free webinar

Need Help or Training?

Enterprise Data & Analytics is here to help!
We provide SSIS and Biml training, and
SSIS Consulting and Performance Tuning.

New Data Driven Episode: Rimma Nehme on CosmosDB, Planet-Scale Applications, and Selling Door-to-Door


This week on Data Driven, Frank and I are honored to interview Rimma Nehme, CosmosDB Architect at Microsoft. We had a fantastic time chatting about CosmosDB, open-source, reading, and what (or whom, rather) Dr. Nehme finds really important. As always there are movie references: Blues Brothers and Spiderman are quoted this week.

Notable Quotes

Submitting to the PASS Summit 2017 (1:10)
Blues Brothers movie reference (3:50)
Data needs to be Everywhere (11:00)
Planet scale (16:00)
Spiderman reference (17:30)
Is this science fiction? (24:24)
Battle-tested. (25:30)
Open-source software analytics (27:30)
The CosmosDB simulator (32:44)
A little startup inside Microsoft (35:30)
Rimma found query optimization really, really boring. (37:45)
On family… (40:45)
CosmosDB is truly out of this world. (48:00)
On reading… (42:00)
Selling door-to-door (44:45)

The Data Driver weekly newsletter is your only source for future guest information prior to episode release. Sign up today!

Frank posts Data Science Daily each weekday. Check it out!


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