Monday, September 19, 2016

SQL Saturday - Analytics/Machine Learning/R...

I had the opportunity to attend the SQL Saturday Event in Charlotte, NC on September 17, 2016. The event was very organized and hosted by a hard working/talented team of volunteers. There were a variety of topics spread across different aspects of SQL Server, Business Intelligence and Data Analytics. There were 3 sessions which I found very informative and Interesting. The 3 Topics were across Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Master Data Management (Microsoft).
The first topic which i attended was from SQL Server/Data Analytics Expert Jen Underwood (Please visit her excellent blog http://www.jenunderwood.com/ for more information/trends in Analytics), the topic was on trends in the Analytics Industry. The topic covered  the skill sets/domains currently hot/growing in the Data Analytics/Big Data space. There were interesting demos on how certain jobs can be automated,also how robots are beginning to permeate different as aspects of human life and how they are helping out in areas of customer service.here is a link to robot video which has human like expressions and interactions:
Robotics. The interesting aspect of this demo is that rather being just machine like, the robot interacts in a very human like fashion. These type of robots could replace jobs that can be easily automated. There were other aspects covered about the cloud, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics. One of the other interesting area that was mentioned was the area of immersive data visualization. This is where the concept of 3-D visualizations can be used to analyze and understand data. One of the visualizations that was shown was the stock market rise and fall during the past several years, also it showed the crash of the stock market in 2008 in a roller coaster ride simulation. Here is the link for the demo: http://graphics.wsj.com/3d-nasdaq/.This is a  virtual reality guided tour of 21 years of the Nasdaq, very interesting concept. One of the thoughts that went through my mind was that how much of such visualizations would work in certain types of business/organizations. On the whole the topic was very informative with respect to what is coming in the Data Analytics space and how one needs to be prepared.
The second session was on Master Data Management by Rushabh Mehta (SQL Server Expert, Past SQL Pass President, Independent Consultant/CEO). This topic was a presentation on the very important but often ignored topic of data management. In this presentation Rishabh went through why Master Data management is important and discussed one of the projects he did for his client. In this project he explained the process of data Cleansing, how records could de-duplicated and usage of standardized services from Melissa Data Services. Melissa Data Services provides services around Address, Name Standardization, these are very useful when one tries to created a master record for a customer. Here is the link for Melissa and the services they offer: http://www.melissadata.com/. The session also provided insights into how a master record could be created for companies, here services offered by Dun and Bradstreet were used. Overall session was very informative and conveyed the importance of Master Data Management.
The third session which i found very useful was the Session on Machine Learning with R by Paco Gonzalez,Corporate Center of Excellence, Program Manager at SolidQ. The session was very informative and very nicely presented. Paco Touched upon how tweets from twitter can be imported and analyzed to determine the sentiment of a particular topic/product being discussed. He took an example of product that was being sold in a online cloth retailer website and how tweets regarding this particular product can be scanned to understand whether folks are talking good or bad about the product. He mentioned that one would get the feeds from twitter and also request Twitter for data relating to particular has tags. Paco also presented case studies on how Machine learning can be used to determine if a particular would be with a bank or leave the bank. He demonstrated how past patterns can be used to train a model and use test data to determine the accuracy of the bank model. The R integration with SQL Server 2016 seems to be very interesting and exciting, now one has the power of getting predictive results by executing stored procedures.
There was demo of the Microsoft Cognitive Services that can be used for analysis of text, face and emotions:
here is the link: https://www.microsoft.com/cognitive-services.
Overall a very exciting SQL Saturday and a very good information gathering session.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Data Virtualization-Data Conditioning/Masking

These days business are expected to agile and have to deliver solutions quickly and efficiently. This means that while developing products it has to be moved through the different environments efficiently and quickly. There is also a lot of dependency on data in the test and lower level environments. The quality of data in the test environments need to good so that the applications using the data can be tested effectively. Often organizations run into challenges while populating data in Lower level environments either due to space issues and just the time taken to condition data takes a very long time, this thereby affects product delivery. This where products that specialize data virtualization come in. Delphix is one such product which enables organizations to effectively get production type data in test environments.  Here is the website for the product:https://www.delphix.com/. According to the website: "Speed wins. It’s a simple fact. The faster you can deliver new applications, features and upgrades to market, the better your business performs. For that you need faster data. And for faster data, you need Delphix.".  Please refer to the link below which explains the need for having such a product. https://www.delphix.com/why-delphix. As the nature of application development keeps changing, the quality of data needed for testing and other pre-production activities becomes very important and essential.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Data Science - Education

With the rapid growth of Big data technologies , there has been an exponential growth of data science and its related technologies. This has has also led to the demand for data scientists and also the jobs related to data science are very lucrative. Microsoft has been steadily expanding it s cloud based offerings and also getting into big Data related technologies and efforts. Since there is tremendous need for Data science skills, Microsoft has come forward to offer a curriculum  totally devoted to Data Science. This curriculum is offered via edx.org.  There are a total of 9 courses and the price per course ranges from $49-$99. There is also a final project for which around 6-10 hours is required. One can check the link below for all the details:
https://www.edx.org/microsoft-data-science-curriculum
The courses cover from Use Microsoft Excel to explore data to Iimplement a machine learning solution for a given data problem. Each of the course can be done a auditing course or one can upgrade to get a validity certificate on passing the course. Each of the courses have Labs ,Quizzes and discussion forums, the discussion forums can be use to get questions answered related to the concepts being discussed. I hope the courses provide the much needed insights into Data Science.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hadoop, Big Data...

I was provided an opportunity to write an blog article at analytics vidhya about big data related technologies. Analytics vidhya is very well maintained website about big data technologies. All the articles are well researched and presented. Please see the Link below for my article.

http://www.analyticsvidhya.com/blog/2016/06/started-big-data-integration-hdfs-dmexpress/

Hope the readers find the above article interesting and useful...


Thursday, April 21, 2016

SQL BI Conference 2016 - Pass Business Analytics 2016

With the advent of newer technologies and tools ins area of Data Analytics, Data Science, Big Data and Data Visualizations, the Pass Business Analytics 2016 conference to held in San Jose from May 3-4 provides lot of interesting sessions and topics of discussion. Please do check out the web site below for further details:
http://passbaconference.com/2016/Home.aspx
It is a tremendous opportunity to grow your network and skill base, with lot of talented speakers/experts presenting on very interesting topics. There has been a lot of momentum in the Microsoft BI space especially with PowerBI and its related set of tools. There are very useful sessions with Power BI and Power Pivot provided by folks from the company:
 http://www.powerpivotpro.com/. They provide a lot of training in Power BI and PowerPivot, also provide consulting on projects that would need PowerBI and PowerPivot.
When you get a chance, check them out...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Data Services

With increasing amounts of data and information, one of the challenges business face is how to access the data and how the data needs to be stored. One of the concepts that can be used to effective and efficient provisioning of data is the use of  Data Services. One of the requirements to having a good data service is to make sure the underlying data is clean and properly modeled. There is a lot of effort that needs to going to making sure the data is properly cleansed and correctly modeled in the data store/data marts. Once this is accomplished, using data services provides advantages to the consuming application. The concept of data service brings in the notion that the Data quality is done in a central place which includes cleansing and enriching data. The advantages of Data services include 1)Agility - This allows customer to access data quickly and also doesn't place the burden of having knowledge of the underlying data. 2)Cost Effectiveness - Data analyst/providers can build the foundation of quality/modeled data and the presentation layer can be determined by the consumers.
Different applications/consumers could use the standard web services and access the underlying data.
3) Data Quality - Data Access is controlled data services, which in turn allows data quality to improve at the central location. 4)Consistency - Using data services could drive consistency in accessing data from the data store and eliminate different data provisioning approaches.
There are vendors who provide data service tools, they can be categorized into
1. Volume Based Approach
2. Data Type Based Approach.
Hope this blog post provides an insight into Data Services.

Monday, April 4, 2016

SQL Server 2016 - Query Store

Performance tuning is a constant topic of discussion, also one of the top priority items when it comes to good code development, better performing queries provide quicker response times, users/customers are satisfied. There have been constant improvements in the area of performance tuning features in SQL Server, also in the later releases of SQL Server, the execution plans were greatly improved. It is very important for developers to understand execution plans so that they improve queries that cause bottlenecks in the application. One of challenges have been to effectively store execution plans and queries so that they could be reviewed for bottlenecks and improve them. In SQL Server 2016 the concept of query store has been introduced. This Query store feature helps one to gain insight into the query plans and statistics.
In order to enable query store feature in SQL Server 2016, one can use Transact-SQL:

ALTER DATABASE AdventureWorks2012 SET QUERY_STORE = ON;

The query store feature in SQL Server 2016 can also be enabled through SQL Server Management Studio, by choosing the database properties/query store page.
Quoting from Microsoft MSDN Page: I am listing a couple of scenarios for using query store feature:
  • Quickly find and fix a plan performance regression by forcing the previous query plan. Fix queries that have recently regressed in performance due to execution plan changes.
  • Determine the number of times a query was executed in a given time window, assisting a DBA in troubleshooting performance resource problems.
The MSDN link for Query Store is listed below: The page below provides a more completion explanation of query store.