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My PASS Summit 2013 Presentations

PASS_2013_SpeakingButton_180x180-1I had the honor to speak for the first time at this past PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte, NC. It was a great opportunity for me as this is one of the most prestigious nationwide conferences on SQL Server. I delivered 3 different sessions on Business Intelligence related topics. Attendance to my sessions exceeded my expectations and my overall experience as a first-time speaker was very positive. I also need to add that the God’s of the live demos were on my side.

My session titled PowerPivot + Power View = Self-service BI Revolution was full and had about 5 to 8 people standing in the back. Everybody got excited when I did a demo of the nice interactivity in Power View and 3D geographical capabilities of PowerMap.

The Lightning Talk room was packed and people had to be turned away. This room should be bigger next time as these Lightning Talks are very popular. Everybody accepted and agreed with my postulation on the need for Conformed Stored Procedures in addition to Conformed Dimensions and Facts. After the Lightning Talks were over, several attendees came forward to discuss further how Conformed Stored Procedures should be implemented. One attendee in particular, mentioned that he had been thinking about proposing a similar approach to his team and this talk helped him get re-assurance of this approach.

My last session on SSAS Hierarhcies Tips & Tricks was a half-day session on the last day of the summit between 2:00pm and 5:00pm. It was half-full for the first half of the session, and ended up about 1/4 full.  This drop-off is expected towards the end of the Summit as many people fly back home on Friday and usually leave around 4:00pm.

I’m very pleased with the turnout and feedback received. The audience in all of my sessions was very engaged and had a lot of great questions. I definitely look forward to speak at PASS Summit 2014 in Seattle, WA and at PASS BA Conference 2014 in San Jose, CA.

To download my presentations slides click on the links below:

1. Regular Session (75 minutes): 4798 PowerPivot + Power View = Self-Service BI Revolution
2. Lightning Talk Session (10 minutes): 5511 Conformed Stored Procedures
3. Half-Day Session (3 hours): 4803 Fast Performing SSAS Hierarchies Tips and Tricks

Thanks to all the attendees and PASS team for this great opportunity. I hope I met or exceeded everyone’s expectations.

If you attended one of my presentations, please leave your comments and feedback!

IT Pro Camp Tampa 2013

itprocamp

This year I was honored to sponsor and speak at IT Pro Camp Tampa 2013. Like always, it is a great pleasure to give back to the community and get to know people from different technical backgrounds. The event was very well-organized and the venue was great.

This year the entire Agile Bay team spoke at IT Pro Camp delivering 4 sessions in total for Track 2: Business Intelligence & Big Data (SQL Server, Hadoop, etc.). You can download the PowerPoint presentations by clicking on the session links below:

  1. Wes Springob | Introduction To Reporting Services
  2. Jose Chinchilla & Jon Bloom | Introduction to Big Data
  3. Jonathan Bloom | Introduction to T-SQL
  4. Jose Chinchilla |  Introduction to Microsoft BI
Tampa2013_Wes

Wes Springob deliverin Introduction to SSRS

Tampa2013_Attendees

IT Pro Camp Tampa 2013 Attendees

.Net Code Camp Orlando 2013

CodeCamp

This past Saturday March 16th, I had the opportunity to speak once again the .Net Orlando Code Camp.  I presented a session under the SQL Server track titled “Change Data Capture, a developer’s best unknown friend”.  I had better than expected turn-out with about 20 attendees and overall very good participation.

I was glad to hear from more than one attendee that they were planning to use Change Data Capture in their environment and best of all to get rid of triggers!

I had the opportunity to catch-up with some of my friends and fellow SQL-ers from PASS. Also, met some new folks from the App/Dev community. These type of events are always great to expand your network, share your knowledge and learn something new!

Thanks to the organizers, sponsors, volunteers and attendees to make this event a success and for having me once more.

You can download my PowerPoint presentation and demo files at: http://sdrv.ms/15UUX64

SQL Server Upgrade error: It is not possible to change the SQL Server features to be upgraded in this release. Validation errors. There are no features selected for upgrade.

On a recent project I was asked to “upgrade” a licensed SQL Server 2008R2 Standard Edition to SQL Server 2008R2 Enterprise Edition. I have done this multiple times with no issues. The “kicker” was that the upgrade required a 48-hour turnaround time but no installation media for SQL Server Enterprise was going to be available in that same timeframe due to a delay in the procurement process.

In order to meet project requirements and gain some time, a team member suggested we go ahead and do the “upgrade” using a downloaded copy of SQL Server 2008R2 Evaluation Edition since Evaluation Edition contains all the Enterprise features that were required. Once the installation media for SQL Server 2008R2 Enterprise arrived, we were to simply upgrade the Evaluation Edition to Enterprise Edition.

My immediate response was that going from a licensed edition to an evaluation edition was not possible. It is not a “natural” upgrade path and is actually considered a “downgrade” as you are going from a licensed edition to an unlicensed edition. As a professional I had to back this statement up with official Microsoft documentation. As a geek no matter what the documentation said I had to try it myself to see what happened. So I did both.

Documentation
A quick search of Books on Line on SQL Server 2008R2 led me to the following MSDN article titled “Version and Edition Upgrades” (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143393(v=sql.105).aspx) . This article is great as it outlines all the supported upgrade scenarios for all versions and editions of SQL Server. A quick scroll towards the bottom shows that the only two upgrade paths supported for Standard Edition is Enterprise and Datacenter. As a matter of fact this article shows that there is no support going from any other edition to Evaluation Edition.

Additionally, there are a couple of footnotes at the bottom. An important footnote to take a look at is footnote No. 2. Although the statements in footnote No. 2 are within the context of failover clusters, some of them also apply to stand-alone installations. In this footnote it is clearly stated that SQL Server 2008R2 Standard to SQL Server 2008R2 Evaluation upgrade is not supported.

Test

I wanted to see for myself the error message generated if I tried to carry out the upgrade anyways. Of course I did not try to do this on the actual client’s environment. That is a big no no! I decided to spin up my own sandbox virtual environment. The steps I followed on my test were:

  1. Install SQL Server 2008R2 Standard Edition (Database Services, Analysis Services, SSMS, BIDS)
  2. Reboot
  3. Upgrade SQL Server 2008R2 Standard Edition to SQL Server 2008R2 Evaluation Edition using the Upgrade Setup Wizard from Installation Center.

As I went through the Upgrade Setup Wizard I got the following validation error as expected:

In summary, you cannot upgrade from a licensed SQL Server edition to SQL Server Evaluation Edition. It is perfectly possible though, to upgrade from SQL Server Evaluation Edition to other licensed SQL Server editions. For more details on the supported upgrade paths refer to MDSN article: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143393(v=sql.105).aspx.

The affordable self-service BI revolution has started.

I am officially announcing that I have now become an independent consultant and business owner. Becoming independent has always been my dream and I have now decided to follow that dream. I believe it is the right time to do it for my family and myself. It’s time to soar!

Why did I leave Pragmatic Works?

Simple. I wanted to follow my career goals and carve my own path. It was a hard decision to leave Pragmatic Works as I really enjoyed the work environment and had great relationship with the top brass Brian Knight, Adam Jorgensen, and Sam Washburn as well as my co-workers. The folks at Pragmatic Works gave me a lot of opportunities to learn and grow for which I am forever grateful. It is a great company to work for and highly recommend working for them. I would return to work for them in a heartbeat.

What are my plans?

First of all, I have created a corporation, called Agile Bay, Inc. (http://www.agilebay.com) through which I will be providing Business Intelligence consulting services, Software Development, Training and Staffing services. I will also be doing contract work and hiring BI and Software developers to take on some of these jobs.

My plan is to focus on self-service Business Intelligence solutions using the Microsoft toolset, including:

  • SQL Server Database Services
  • Analysis Services
  • Reporting Services
  • Master Data Services
  • Data Quality Services
  • SharePoint
  • Performance Point
  • PowerPivot
  • PowerView
  • & more…

I will continue leading, volunteering and sharing my knowledge in the SQL Server and Business Intelligence community and in PASS.

Enter the affordable self-service BI revolution

The new release of SQL Server 2012 will bring a lot to offer in the BI space. I truly believe it will be a game changer and many companies will embark in new Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence and Master Data Management projects. Some of these projects may have been put on hold due to licensing and development costs. This is where SQL Server 2012 will shine as it introduces lower BI licensing costs with the new SQL Server Business Intelligence Edition. Organizations will no longer require Enterprise Edition to do all the cool things Microsoft has to offer with their BI suite.

Additionally, the shift to the BI Semantic Model and the focus on self-service BI will open a lot of doors to consulting firms with lower overhead like mine. Enter the affordable self-service BI revolution!

Hitting the ground running

I am very grateful to the fact that the word has spread out among my immediate professional network and have already been booked for projects and contract work several months ahead.

I have tried not to market myself or my company too much during this initial phase as I want to manage my growth more organically. I am in the process of hiring BI developers at all levels, so if you are interested feel free to contact me via http://www.agilebay.com/#!contact.

 Mission

My mission is to empower individuals and organizations through the Microsoft Business Intelligence Toolset.

Vision

My vision is to be the catalyst and leader of the affordable self-service Business Intelligence revolution.

Value proposition

There are many alternatives available when chosing a consulting firm to help you achieve a succesful Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse and Master Data Management implementation.  My value proposition is to achieve this same success at an affordable budget and by providing you with the knowledge transfer and mentoring needed to continue your own development efforts.

The sales pitch

 You need an experienced and expert professional to help you with your design and development efforts.  I have experience and expertise. Let’s talk.

You may contact me through my company’s website at http://www.agilebay.com/#!contact or through email: info@agilebay.com

I’m also available for any quick help through email at jchinchilla@sqljoe.com. Make sure to check out my blog at http://www.sqljoe.com as well.

Afterthoughts: IT Pro Camp Orlando 2012

This past Saturday January 21, 2012 I had the opportunity to speak at my first IT Pro Camp in Orlando, FL. This event was put together by Blain Barton ( Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter ), Microsoft Senior IT Pro Evangelist and Chad Miller ( Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter ), Microsfot MVP and Senior Manager of Database Administration at Raymond James Financial.

Event

The event went very smooth and had a good turnaout. Food was amazing. They reallly outdid themselves with good old southern BBQ.

Presentation

I presented a session titled Introduction to Microsoft Business Intelligence (Slides), focusing on the basic concepts of BI and Datawarehousing, the Microsoft toolset and my Top 5 Rules of Wisdom for succesful BI. I had a great turnaout, about 25 attendees. All of the attendees were very engaged and asked excellent questions. I enjoyed presenting to the Orlando crowd.

Picture credits: Russel Faustino. See more pictures of the event here.

Other IT Pro Camps are being added. Check the IT Pro Camp website here to keep up to date.

Click on the picture below to download my Intorduction to Business Intelligence powerpoint presentation.

 

 

SQL Server 2012 Master Data Services Error: The required .svc handler mappings are not installed in IIS.

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate 0 (RC 0) has a confirmed issue with Master Data Services configuration. The following error is raised by the Master Data Services Configuration Manager when launched:

Before creating an MDS web application, you must correct the following errors:
Internet Information Services (IIS) is not configured on this server.
The required .svc handler mappings are not installed in IIS. For more information, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=226284.
For web application requirements, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=215355.
This issue has been communicated to Microsoft via Connect ID: 701993 and is documented in the Technet Article “Troubleshoot Installation and Configuration Issues (Master Data Services in SQL Server 2012)”
The Workaround
After several days trying to figure out the issue, today I received notice from Reagan Templin (LinkedIn | Twitter), technical writer for Microsoft, that the MDS Team has identified the issue. This issue will NOT be fixed in the current RCO but will be fixed in the RTM version. The error can be replicated under the following conditions:
  1. Configuring Master Data Services on a server that is not joined to a Windows domain
  2. Running Master Data Service Configuration Manager with a local account (non-domain user) on a server joined to a Windows domain.

The workaround is simply to join the server to a Windows domain and launch Master Data Services Configuration Manager with a domain account that has administrator privileges. In my case,  after I joined the server to a domain I was able to complete by MDS configuration.

Many thanks to Reagan Templin for her above and beyond customer service. She followed up on this issue directly with the MDS Team after I posted a message on Twitter about the issue I was having and kept me posted with updates towards resolving the issue.

SQL Saturday 86 BI Edition Tampa 2011: Afterthoughts

Wow! Just Wow! That’s all I can say to describe how great SQL Saturday 86 was on November 5th in Tampa, FL . I got so much positive feedback from every attendee, speaker and sponsor. Food was great, sessions were amazing, speakers were first class!  I have to say thanks to everyone for attending, speaking, sponsoring and helping out with these great event put together by the Tampa Bay Business Intelligence User Group officers and volunteers.

Organizing Committee & Volunteers

I cannot take personal credit for this event. It was truly a team effort. Somewhere I read that in order to be successful you need to surround yourself with talented & driven individuals that are committed to your same goals. Maybe I’m paraphrasing or simply making that up, but this has proven to work with running our local Tampa Bay Business Intelligence User Group and the SQL Saturday #86 BI Edition event.

The organizing committee was made up by:

The volunteers that participated in our event included:

  • Randy Borys
  • Gloria Salcedo
  • Chris Richardson
  • William Sanders
  • Pam Shaw
  • Richard Pyra
  • Wes Helton
  • Tom Totten
  • Denis Desault
  • David Greim
  • Lena Pavlyuk
  • Lyn Taylor

Speakers

Our speakers were world class speakers to say the least. The speaker roster included Microsoft MVPs, field engineers and evangelists and other professionals that committed their time and paid for their own travel to support our event. We had just a few speakers that cancelled for personal, health or work-related conflicts. We still want to express our appreciation to them for willing to support our event as well. Thankfully, we managed to secure alternate speakers who did a great job even though it was last minute. Thank your SQL Saturday #86 Speakers!

Sponsors

Our sponsors made our event a quality and epic event by sponsoring with cash, items and swag to giveaway. Thanks to them we were able to sponsor great Cuban food from LATAM restaurant, coffee and donuts throughout the day, swag and raffle prizes and provide our speakers with a thank you dinner.

  • KForce provided their facilities for our event.
  • Convergence Consulting Group (Twitter | Website) did an amazing job with our speaker and event organizers’ shirts.
  • Quest Software (Twitter | Website) raffled an iPad and a $100 Amazon gift card.
  • Redgate Software (Twitter | Website) offered a great variety of books to give away.
  • Pragmatic Works offered a free training voucher for any of their online classes.
  • LaSalle Computer Learning School offered a training voucher for any of their in-person SQL Server certification classes.
  • Fusion-IO raffled an iPad.
  • Idera raffled one their SQL Serve monitoring software suites and gift cards.
  • Soaring Eagle, ElSavier and Wrox each provided SQL Server and Business Intelligence books to raffle.

To all our sponsors thank you for supporting our SQL Server and Business Intelligence Community!

Panel of Experts

In this event I decided to put together a panel of experts to discuss several topics relating to SQL Server and Business Intelligence as well as a discussion of what’s new in the upcoming release of SQL Server 2012. The Panel of Experts took place at LATAM restaurant right after lunch. Our panel of experts included:

We invited our sponsors to briefly talk about their products and services and prizes they were giving away during the event. Following our sponsors I decided to recognize Andy Warren, MVP and PASS (Website) Board of Directors, for his contributions to the SQL Server community, SQL Saturday creation and 100 SQL Saturday milestone.

BI BootCamp pre-conference

Along with our free SQL Saturday #86 event we hosted a paid pre-conference titled “BI BootCamp” presented by SQL Server MVP and SSAS Maestro Instructor Adam Jorgensen. We exceeded our goal with 33 attendees paid attendees, all of which gave very positive feedback of Adam’s presentation. I did a star appearance, helping Adam present a section on SSRS Reports using OLAP cubes as a source.

Thanks to Mike Wells for (Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog) for taking pictures throughout the event. You can see more event pictures at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/116314811362928917852/SQLSat86

The CASE of the missing non-NULL T-SQL Error: None of the result expressions in a CASE specification can be NULL.

Recently, while doing some data scrubbing for a customer I got an interesting error in SSMS with one of my CASE statements. The error received was:

None of the result expressions in a CASE specification can be NULL.

It was a long T-SQL script (and a long night) and could not understand the error message. After a couple minutes BinGling (Google +Bing) around the web, I still could not find the root cause, so I decided to comment out every single CASE statement and run one by one until I pinpointed the offending syntax.

 

To my surprise, the issue was very simple, yet undocumented. The T-SQL syntax I was writing was somewhat as follows:

 

SELECT ProductID,

CASE WHEN SerialNumber like ‘X%’ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘0’ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘-‘ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘Unknown’ THEN NULL

END AS SerialNumber_Clean

FROM tblProduct

 

After executing this script the error mentioned above is raised. The same error is raised even if we rewrite the script as a simple CASE statement:

 

SELECT ProductID,

CASE SerialNumber

WHEN ‘0’ THEN NULL

WHEN  ‘-‘ THEN NULL

WHEN ‘Unknown’ THEN NULL

END AS SerialNumber_Clean

FROM tblProduct

 

So what if we add an ELSE statement as follows:

 

SELECT ProductID,

CASE WHEN SerialNumber like ‘X%’ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘0’ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘-‘ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘Unknown’ THEN NULL

ELSE NULL

END AS SerialNumber_Clean

FROM tblProduct

 

We still get the same error. The issue as the raised error describes can be narrowed down in that you cannot explicitly return NULL for every resulting expression. There must be at least one non-explicit NUL in the resulting expression. For example, we can rewrite the script correctly as follows:

 

SELECT ProductID,

CASE WHEN SerialNumber like ‘X%’ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘0’ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘-‘ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘Unknown’ THEN NULL

ELSE SerialNumber

END AS SerialNumber_Clean

FROM tblProduct

 

As you can observe, adding an ELSE statement that does not return another explicit NULL makes the script work and as a matter of fact, should be the correct syntax. Interestingly, ELSE is not necessary to make the script valid. The script will run even without an ELSE expression, but only if at least one of the resulting values is not an explicit NULL. The following script runs successfully (notice no ELSE):

 

SELECT ProductID,

CASE WHEN SerialNumber like ‘X%’ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘0’ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘-‘ THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘Unknown’  THEN NULL

WHEN SerialNumber = ‘No Serial’ THEN ‘Non-Serialized Product’

END AS SerialNumber_Clean

FROM tblProduct

 

Books on Line should include this caveat on their documentation. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms181765.aspx

 

The following sections should be modified as follows:

THEN result_expression

Is the expression returned when input_expression equals when_expression evaluates to TRUE, or Boolean_expression evaluates to TRUE. result expression is any valid expression. If no else_result_expression is specified or if else_result_expression is set to return an explicit NULL, at least one result_expression has to be specified to return a non-explicit NULL.

 

ELSE else_result_expression

Is the expression returned if no comparison operation evaluates to TRUE. If this argument is omitted and no comparison operation evaluates to TRUE, CASE returns NULL. else_result_expression is any valid expression. The data types of else_result_expression and any result_expression must be the same or must be an implicit conversion and at least one of them should be specified to return a non-explicit NULL.

GiveCamp Tampa 2011

This past weekend I participated at GiveCamp Tampa 2011 (http://www.givecamptampabay.org/) as part as the Worldwide GiveCamp (http://www.givecamp.org) weekend sponsored by Microsoft and other partners. Per GiveCamp’s website:

GiveCamp is a weekend-long event where technology professionals from designers, developers and database administrators to marketers and web strategists donate their time to provide solutions for non-profit organizations. Since its inception in 2007, the GiveCamp program has provided benefits to hundreds of charities, worth millions of dollars of developer and designer time in services!

At GiveCamp Tampa 2011 we chose two non-profits to be the recipients of our development efforts. David Liebman and a group of developers, implemented a content management site for a school. I architected and developed a Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence solution along with 3 other developers for the Florida Children Services Counsel (FCSC) (http://www.floridacsc.org).

About Florida Children Services Council (FCSC)

The Florida Children’s Services Council (Florida CSC) is a non-profit association that represents children’s services councils in counties throughout the state. Florida CSC employs the collective strengths of these public organizations to improve young lives by making strategic investments in the well being of Florida’s children. Its mission is to promote policies that build effective primary prevention and early intervention systems for young children and their families

The GiveCamp Tampa 2011 Business Intelligence Team
(From left to right: Pam Shaw, Terry Brennan, Paul Drumm, Wes Helton, Jose Chinchilla)

Florida CSC Business Intelligence Solution

The scope of our work included the following tasks:

  1. Installation and Configuration of SharePoint 2010 and Performance Point
  2. Installation and Configuration of SQL Server 2008R2
  3. Architecture and Development of a Relational Data Warehouse
  4. Design and Development of ETL framework using SSIS Packages
  5. Design and Development of SSAs OLAP cubes
  6. Design and Development of SSRS Reports and Performance Point Dashboards

The dataset in scope for the FCSC BI solution included Budget Allocation and Participant Demographic data for the 8 different counties participating in the SAMIS Collaborative including Pinellas, Broward, Martin, Duval, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Hillsborough and St. Lucie.

Sample Performance Point dashboard developed:

Afterthoughts

It was overall a great experience being able to dedicate my time to the Florida CSC knowing that the BI solution delivered will serve as starting point to derive insightful analysis to solve the needs of children and families in the State of Florida. More than 90 hours of combined development time was dedicated to this solution. All the team members rocked!

I really enjoyed working with the GiveCamp Tampa 2011 team and look forward to the next GiveCamp event!

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