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Creating a Custom .NET Activity Pipeline for Azure Data Factory

Azure Data Factory provides a radical new cloud-based way of collecting and preparing data in preparation for its storage and analysis. How do you get started with it to explore the possibilities it provides? Feodor Georgiev shows the practicalities of how to go about the task of preparing a pipeline for use, from preparing the Azure environment to downloading a file from a FTP to a blob storage in the Azure environment… Read more

Predictive Analysis Basics

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Statistics holds out the promise of teasing out significant relationships and to determine cause and effect. Now that so much data is easily available, does that mean that we can at last harness these techniques to predict future trends and outcomes? Feodor gives an introduction to some simple techniques of predictive analytics, and explains the 'whys', 'hows' and 'wherefores'. … Read more
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SQL Server Security Audit Basics

SQL Server Server Audit has grown in functionality over the years but it can be tricky to maintain and use because it lacks centralization and analysis tools. It can do a fast and lightweight audit of many different activities including DML and DDL at both Instance and Database Levels - even the work of the DBAs. How do you check logins and permissions? How do you script an enterprise-wide audit solution? How can you hope to analyse the log data you get? Feodor gets you started.… Read more

Getting to know your customers better – cohort analysis and RFM segmentation in R

It often pays to use a tool like R, in conjunction with a relational database, to quickly perform a range of analyses, and graphs, in order to ensure that you're answering the right question, to explore alternative hypotheses, or to provide insight into a problem. Feodor demonstrates how to quickly, and interactively, explore the ways that customers purchase goods and services using cohort analysis.… Read more

Making Data Analytics Simpler: SQL Server and R

R and SQL Server are a match made in heaven. You don't need anything special to get started beyond the basic instructions. Once you have jumped the hurdle of reliably and quickly transferring data between R and SQL Server you are ready to discover the power of a relational database when when combined with statistical computing and graphics.… Read more

How to get ETL Horribly Wrong

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ETL ( Extract, transform, load) doesn't have to be like a spell on hell. To make a success of ETL systems, you need the freedom and ability to make graceful U-turns when you detect a mistake in architecture or configuration: to fix the root problem rather than to merely tackle the symptoms. Feodor lists the eight most common root causes of failure in ETL systems, and how to fix them.… Read more
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Data Cleaning in SQL 2012 with Data Quality Services

For data to be usefully analyzed, it must be consistent, accurate, and trustworthy. When incoming data is non-uniform, duplicated records are created and the data starts losing its value. In order counteract this issue, SQL Server's Data Quality Services (DQS) helps monitor and maintain incoming data, and deduplicates existing data using rules-based matching. Feodor Georgiev provides a thorough walkthrough on setting up DQS and creating the rules it uses to function as a first step towards data cleansing.… Read more

SSIS 2012 Projects: Deployment Configurations and Monitoring

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The Project Deployment Model introduced in SSIS 2012, which was explained in the first part of this series, speeds up the deployment of database projects in which there may be hundreds of SSIS packages per project. Not only that, but deployments can be configured differently for each environments such as test and staging, and there are now ways of monitoring the status and performance of packages and of versioning the SSIS Catalog.… Read more
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SSIS 2012 Projects: Setup, Project Creation and Deployment

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It used to be that SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) packages had to be deployed individually. Now, they can be all deployed together from a single file by means of the Project Deployment Model introduced in SSIS 2012. Where there are tens or even hundreds of SSIS packages to deploy, this system is essential. Feodor Georgiev talks us through the basics in the first of a three-part series.… Read more
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Collect Your SQL Server Auditing and Troubleshooting Information Automatically

If you have a number of SQL Server instances with versions ranging from 2005 upwards, with a whole host of databases, and you want to be alerted about a number of diverse events that are useful for first-line problem-diagnosis and auditing, then Feodor's homebrew solution, using SSIS and Robocopy is likely to be what you're looking for.… Read more

Collecting the Information in the Default Trace

The default trace is still the best way of getting important information to provide a security audit of SQL Server, since it records such information as logins, changes to users and roles, changes in object permissions, error events and changes to both database settings and schemas. The only trouble is that the information is volatile. Feodor shows how to squirrel the information away to provide reports, check for unauthorised changes and provide forensic evidence.… Read more

Disaster Recovery in the Enterprise – Paying the Price to Avoid Extra Costs

Data Protection and Disaster Recovery (DR) are IT tasks that seldom get the same level of attention as development... until disaster strikes. Only if planning is adequate can an organisation be resilient in the face of unexpected problems. There are several steps that are needed to achieve an adequate DR process and the ability to restore business operations after a disaster.… Read more

How come the Hourglass? Why database applications slow down

It is frustrating when you hit 'submit' and you get the hourglass big-time. Is it the database to blame? It could be, but there are other suspects that should be considered. Feodor describes where, in the long route, to and fro', that a data request makes before returning, that things can get snarled up.… Read more

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