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  • Blog Post: Azure Data Services for (near) Real Time Scenarios

    Light takes about 8 and half minutes to get from the surface sun to the earth and it can actually take a photon 20,000 years to get form the core of the sun to the surface. On earth that means that if the sun stops shining we wont know about it until eight and a half minutes after and begs the question...
  • Blog Post: Azure Data Services for Business Intelligence

    A little known fact the biggest workload on Azure VM’s (aka IaaS) is .. SQL Server. This might seem odd give that there is a SQL Azure service where you can run SQL Server database without worrying about SQL Server itself. So what’s going on here? There are a few possible options: These VMs might be...
  • Blog Post: Azure Data Services–what are they?

    This might be a recurring theme but worth mentioning again - Azure continues to change and expand at an alarming rate. On the one hand this is simply scale, for example we now have access to bigger compute resources like the G class virtual machines, ever cheaper storage, and higher and higher limits...
  • Blog Post: What kind of data person are you?

    I have been working with data in one form or another since 1991, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a DBA, data scientist or a developer so what am I, and am I alone? I spent ten of those years doing business intelligence and most of that was working with databases, designing systems data marts, and analytical...
  • Blog Post: Machine Learning for the Business Intelligence developer

    Amy (the other half of the data duo in our team) and I have been gate crashing the Data Culture series and other events recently to see who’s interested in Azure Machine Learning (MAML) . It turns out that data scientists are pretty comfortable using their own tools and scripts be that in R and Python...
  • Blog Post: Azure Machine Learning – General Availability

    Today Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (MAML)goes from preview to general availability and it’s also undergone quite a few changes on the way. Before I get into what’s new (and there is quite a lot) I do occasionally get feedback that Azure services are evolving too quickly for everyone to keep up. I...
  • Blog Post: How to train your MAML–Redux

    Since I wrote this series we have taken on two computer science graduates in the evangelism team in the UK, Amy Nicholson and Bianca Furtuna. Both studied machine learning as part of their courses so I introduced them to this series on Azure ML to get them up to speed. They have taken this series apart...
  • Blog Post: How to train your maml – Publishing your work

    Before I get into my next post you may have noticed that ML has changed compared with a few weeks ago -the main page previews experiments differently, and the visualization of data has also changed.. One other problem hit me and that was some of the parts of my demo experiment didn’t work or ran really...
  • Blog Post: Future Decoded – with Data Science

    If you have been following my posts on Microsoft’s approach to data science with things like Machine Learning you’ll realise that it’s capable of making predictions. However to be honest it’s not going to tell you what devices and career you’ll have in five years time. To do that you need expert humans...
  • Blog Post: How to train your MAML

    In this fourth post in my Azure Machine Learning series we are actually going to do the training itself. I have tidied up my experiment from last time to get rid of the modules to export data to SQL Azure as that has now served it’s purpose .. Before we get stuck into training there’s still a bit more...
  • Blog Post: How to train your MAML – Looking at the data in SQL Azure

    In my last post we saw how to clean, transform and join datasets. I also mentioned I had trouble doing the join at all and even now it’s not quite right so how can we look at the data and find out what’s going on. The visualisation option only shows a few rows of the 2 million in the dataset and there...
  • Blog Post: How to Train your MAML–Refining the data

    In my last post we looked at how to load data into Microsoft Azure Machine Learning using the browser based ML Studio. We also started to look at the data around predicting delayed flights and identified some problems with it and this post is all about getting the data into the right shape to ensure...
  • Blog Post: How to train your MAML – Importing data

    In my last post I split the process of using Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (MAML) down to four steps: Import the data Refine the data Build a model Put the model into production. Now I want to go deeper into each of these steps so that you can start to explore and evaluate how this might be useful...
  • Blog Post: Learning Machine Learning using a Jet Engine

    In this post I want to try and explain what machine learning is and put into context with what we used to do when analysing and manipulating data. When I started doing all this the hot phrase was Business Intelligence (BI), but this was preceded by EIS (Executive Information Systems) and DSS (Decision...
  • Blog Post: Query Across the Mersey

    SQL Bits 9 , Adelphi Hotel Liverpool 29th September to 1 October 2011, what else do you need to know? Well possibly a few things if you are now reading the second line of this post or you haven’t been to them before.. It’s the biggest and best SQL event in Europe, I know this because we get people coming...
  • Blog Post: Dear Diary

    Good diary management is career mission critical at Microsoft and may well be the same for you and if it is I have some free stuff for you to try. The Microsoft BI team have issued a calendar analytics spreadsheet that shows you how you are spending your time. It works by connecting to exchange and picks...
  • Blog Post: Installing Denali ctp3–how hard can it be

    l forget sometimes that installing SQL Server isn’t that straightforward, in part because it is now so much more than the database engine, that was SQL Server 7 when I started.  I also think its important that you understand the choices you are making when installing it although many of these can...
  • Blog Post: KPI confusion

    I saw a discussion the other having a go about the fact that it is possible to create KPIs in a number of Microsoft tools and how confusing that can be and I thought it would be good to understand why there is a choice at all.  Firstly the term KPI mans key performance indicator, I mention this...
  • Blog Post: Spatial and OLAP data in Reporting Services

    I spent a very interesting afternoon last week with the IT team at the RSPB to explore what they could do to combine their mapping data with the olap cubes they have in analysis services. The only out of the box solution in SQL Server for spatial data is the map control in reporting Services (in SQL...
  • Blog Post: What’s good in SQL Server 2012 Integration Services

    This is a guest post by Allan Mitchell MVP, and one of the top speakers at SQL Bits   The launch of SQL Server 2012 is not too far away and the SQL Server team have been hard at work adding new functionality and also improving upon existing features.  I am lucky enough to have been working...
  • Blog Post: Does “self service BI” mean more or less work for IT?

    Before I answer that question I want to be clear on what exactly self service BI means as you could argue that users have been doing BI for themselves since the spreadsheet was invented. In those early days users would often have to rekey data into whatever analysis tool they were using as the source...
  • Blog Post: Before I get started with SQL Server Denali ctp3

    I have spent the last couple of days setting up a demo environment for SQL Server “Denali”, and I thought it might be useful to share some of my experiences over the next few days. Before I get into that a short post about the environment I have which will comprise of 7 x virtual machines (VMs) running...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft, and Hadoop for Big Data

    Despite common misconceptions Microsoft now has extensive interoperability with open source technologies for example you can run a php application on Azure, get support from us to run RedHat, SUSE or CentOs on Hyper-V and manage your applications from System Center. ,  So extending this approach...
  • Blog Post: HD Insight

    Despite common misconceptions Microsoft now has extensive interoperability with open source technologies for example you can run a php application on Azure, get support from us to run RedHat, SUSE or CentOs on Hyper-V and manage your applications from System Center . ,  So extending this approach...
  • Blog Post: SQL Relay

    I am in the middle of SQL relay this week, but I just realised that you might like to have a copy of my Denali slide deck, which I have now posted to SkyDrive . You are welcome to have a look at it even if you couldn’t make one of the four venues I am presenting at this week, but there isn’t a lot of...