What is ETL

What is ETL?

In my ongoing series on ETL Best Practices, I am illustrating a collection of extract-transform-load design patterns that have proven to be highly effective. In the interest of comprehensive coverage on the topic, I am adding to the list an introductory prequel to address the fundamental question: What is ETL? What Is ETL? ETL is shorthand for the extraction, transformation,…


Side Project

The Side Project

When I first started working as a technologist some 17 years ago, I was doing fairly low-level stuff: moving and reimaging computers, network cabling, and basic desktop support were the extent of my responsibilities. I decided early on that I wanted to move into a more advanced role, but faced a common quandary: I couldn’t get the job I wanted…


ETL Error Handling

ETL Error Handling

In designing a proper ETL architecture, there are two key questions that must be answered. The first is, “What should this process do?” Defining the data start and end points, transformations, filtering, and other steps must be done before any other work can proceed. The second question that must be answered is “What should happen when the process fails?” Too…


It's a Lonely Road

Survey Results: Skipping the Holidays

Last week I posted a brief survey about working the holiday. To those who normally are not required to work the holidays, I asked if they would be willing to do so if the price was right, and if so, what that price would be (relative to what they normally make). There were 46 responses to this survey, and I’ve…


It's a Lonely Road

Survey: Skipping the Holidays?

For a little pre-holiday fun, I’ve got a simple scenario to present to you, and I am interested in your response. Your holiday plans are made. All of your family and friends expect to see you at the annual holiday gathering. Your kids are expecting you there on Christmas morning as they open presents. You unexpectedly get a call from…


SSIS custom logging levels

SSIS Custom Logging Levels

In my ongoing series on ETL best practices, I recently wrote about the importance of logging in extract-transform-load processes. For users of later versions (2012 and beyond) of SQL Server Integration Services, adding logging to those ETL processes is very simple. Since logging is managed by the catalog, adding logging to an ETL process is a one-step process and requires…


KPIs in SSRS

KPIs in SSRS 2016

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are at-a-glance metrics for simple insight into the business. These are each designed to provide a glimpse into one aspect of a measurable business activity. KPIs are present in various implementations in most every reporting tool, including SQL Server Reporting Services. Until recently, KPIs in SSRS were not a native part of the SSRS reporting…


Report Portal in SSRS 2016

Report Portal in SSRS 2016

SQL Server Reporting Services benefits from a major update in SQL Server 2016, which is obvious from the first interaction with the product. The old and bland Report Manager interface has been replaced with a more modern portal that more effectively displays at-a-glance business answers. In this post, I’ll describe some of the improvements in the all-new report portal in…


The Trails We Leave

The Trails We Leave

Over the weekend I got an email from have i been pwned, a website that tracks data breaches and notifies users whose information may have been compromised. The notification I received reported that my email may have been among some 4.9 million accounts whose information was compromised sometime in December of 2015. The email from HIBP indicated that the owner…


SSRS 2016

SSRS 2016: Great and Getting Better

Although I’ve been a regular user of SQL Server Reporting Services since it was released in the mid-2000s, I’ve done very little blogging about it. In fact, a quick search on my blog reveals that it has been almost five years since I wrote an SSRS-specific blog post. But let’s be fair – before this year, it has been a…