Using mssql-scripter

David Alcock looks at a new Python-based command line tool, mssql-scripter:

Earlier today two new command line tools were announced for SQL Server, one an experimental Linux tools DBFS which enables access to live DMVs without using a UI like SSMS and secondly a tool that enables script generation of objects within SQL rather like the Generate SQL Scripts option in SSMS.

In this post I’m going to run through the installation of the script generator tool and provide a very quick demo. The reason I’m going through this is because in order to install the tool we need to use something called PIP. PIP is a package management system that enables us install and use packages written in Python. Yeah, Python again!

I’m pretty interested in DBFS, as it seems well-placed to make crusty Linux sysadmins happier with SQL Server, and that’s a big positive in my book.

R And Python Support In VS 2017

David Smith announces that Visual Studio 2017 now supports R Tools for Visual Studio and Python Tools for Visual Studio:

The new Visual Studio 2017 has built-in support for programming in R and Python. For older versions of Visual Studio, support for these languages has been available via the RTVS and PTVS add-ins, but the new Data Science Workloads in Visual Studio 2017 make them available without a separate add-in. Just choose the “Data Science and analytical applications” option during installation to install everything you need, including Microsoft R Client and the Anaconda Python distribution.

I’m personally going to wait a little bit before jumping onto Visual Studio 2017, but I’m glad that RTVS is now available.

Jupyter + Pandas On Azure Data Lake Store

Amit Kulkarni demonstrates how to access data in Azure Data Lake Store within a Jupyter notebook:

For the rest of this post, I assume that you have some basic familiarity with Python, Pandas and Jupyter.

On your machine, you will need all of the following installed:

  1. Python 2 or 3 with Pip

  2. Pandas

  3. Jupyter

Amit shows two separate methods for retrieving data, so check it out.

Installing Anaconda

Max Trinidad shows how to install Anaconda in Windows and Ubuntu:

Installing Anaconda in Windows

In Windows the installation is simply done through the SQL Server 2017 setup process. During the SQL Server installation process, select the “Machine Learning Services (In-Database)” option and this will automatically install both “R” and *”Anaconda” on your system.

Max also shows some Python with SQL Server 2017 basics.

PySpark Persistence

David Crook shows how to save data to disk from PySpark:

This is working on HDInsight v3.5 w/Spark 2.0 and Azure Data Lake Storage as the underlying storage system.  What is nice about this is that my cluster only has access to its cluster section of the folder structure.  I have the structure root/clusters/dasciencecluster.  This particular cluster starts at dasciencecluster, while other clusters may start somewhere else.  Therefor my data is saved to root/clusters/dasciencecluster/data/open_data/RF_Model.txt

It’s pretty easy to do, and the Scala code would look suspiciously similar.  The Java version of the code would be seven pages long.

SQL Server ML Services

SQL Server R Services is now SQL Server Machine Learning Services and supports Python.  First, Nagesh Pabbisetty and Sumit Kumar talk about Python support:

The addition of Python builds on the foundation laid for R Services in SQL Server 2016 and extends that mechanism to include Python support for in-database analytics and machine learning. We are renaming R Services to Machine Learning Services, and R and Python are two options under this feature.

The Python integration in SQL Server provides several advantages:

  • Elimination of data movement: You no longer need to move data from the database to your Python application or model. Instead, you can build Python applications in the database. This eliminates barriers of security, compliance, governance, integrity, and a host of similar issues related to moving vast amounts of data around. This new capability brings Python to the data and runs code inside secure SQL Server using the proven extensibility mechanism built in SQL Server 2016.

  • Easy deployment: Once you have the Python model ready, deploying it in production is now as easy as embedding it in a T-SQL script, and then any SQL client application can take advantage of Python-based models and intelligence by a simple stored procedure call.

  • Enterprise-grade performance and scale: You can use SQL Server’s advanced capabilities like in-memory table and column store indexes with the high-performance scalable APIs in RevoScalePy package. RevoScalePy is modeled after RevoScaleR package in SQL Server R Services. Using these with the latest innovations in the open source Python world allows you to bring unparalleled selection, performance, and scale to your SQL Python applications.

  • Rich extensibility: You can install and run any of the latest open source Python packages in SQL Server to build deep learning and AI applications on huge amounts of data in SQL Server. Installing a Python package in SQL Server is as simple as installing a Python package on your local machine.

  • Wide availability at no additional costs: Python integration is available in all editions of SQL Server 2017, including the Express edition.

Nagesh Pabbisetty also announces Microsoft R Server 9.1:

We took the first step with Microsoft R Server 9.0, and this follow on release includes significant innovations such as:

  • New machine learning enhancements and inclusion of pre-trained cognitive models such as sentiment analysis & image featurizers

  • SQL Server Machine Learning Services with integrated Python in Preview

  • Enterprise grade operationalization with real-time scoring and dynamic scaling of VMs

  • Deep customer & ISV partnerships to deliver the right solutions to customers

  • A panoply of sources to help you get started with ease

And Joseph Sirosh indicates that AI is where the money is:

So today it’s my pleasure to announce the first RDBMS with built-in AIa production-quality Community Technology Preview (CTP 2.0) of SQL Server 2017. In this preview release, we are introducing in-database support for a rich library of machine learning functions, and now for the first time Python support (in addition to R). SQL Server can also leverage NVIDIA GPU-accelerated computing through the Python/R interface to power even the most intensive deep-learning jobs on images, text, and other unstructured data. Developers can implement NVIDIA GPU-accelerated analytics and very sophisticated AI directly in the database server as stored procedures and gain orders of magnitude higher throughput. In addition, developers can use all the rich features of the database management system for concurrency, high-availability, encryption, security, and compliance to build and deploy robust enterprise-grade AI applications.

There’s a lot to digest here.

Using On HDInsight

Xiaoyong Zhu shows how to set up on Azure HDInsight:

H2O Flow is an interactive web-based computational user interface where you can combine code execution, text, mathematics, plots and rich media into a single document, much like Jupyter Notebooks. With H2O Flow, you can capture, rerun, annotate, present, and share your workflow. H2O Flow allows you to use H2O interactively to import files, build models, and iteratively improve them. Based on your models, you can make predictions and add rich text to create vignettes of your work – all within Flow’s browser-based environment. In this blog, we will only focus on its visualization part.

H2O FLOW web service lives in the Spark driver and is routed through the HDInsight gateway, so it can only be accessed when the spark application/Notebook is running

You can click the available link in the Jupyter Notebook, or you can directly access this URL:

Setup is pretty easy.


John Mount is a bit jazzed when it comes to a new package:

I recently got back from Strata West 2017 (where I ran a very well received workshop on R and Spark). One thing that really stood out for me at the exhibition hall was Bokeh plus datashader from Continuum Analytics.

I had the privilege of having Peter Wang himself demonstrate datashaderfor me and answer a few of my questions.

I am so excited about datashader capabilities I literally will not wait for the functionality to be exposed in R through rbokeh. I am going to leave my usual knitr/rmarkdown world and dust off Jupyter Notebook just to use datashader plotting. This is worth trying, even for diehard R users.

For the moment, it looks like datashader is only available for Python, but it’s coming to R.

U-SQL Custom Python Libraries

Saveen Reddy explains how to build a custom Python library and use it with U-SQL:

First, let’s talk about “zipimport”. Thanks to the adoption of PEP 273 – Python had the ability to import modules from ZIP files since Python 2.3. This ability is called “zipimport” and is a built-in feature of the Python’s existing import statement. Read the zipimport documentation now.

To review the basics.

  • You create a module (a .py file, etc.)

  • ZIP up the module into a .zip file

  • Add the path to the .zip file to sys.path

  • Then import the module

Read on for the step-by-step process.

Building A Python Project Template

Henk Griffioen shows how to create a standardized project in Python, focusing on data science scenarios:

Project structures often organically grow to suit people’s needs, leading to different project structures within a team. You can consider yourself lucky if at some point in time you find, or someone in your team finds, a obscure blog post with a somewhat sane structure and enforces it in your team.

Many years ago I stumbled upon ProjectTemplate for R. Since then I’ve tried to get people to use a good project structure. More recently DrivenData (what’s in a name?) released their more generic Cookiecutter Data Science.

The main philosophies of those projects are:

  • A consistent and well-organized structure allows people to collaborate more easily.

  • Your analyses should be reproducible and your structure should enable that.

  • A projects starts from raw data that should never be edited; consider raw data immutable and only edit derived sources.

This is a set of prescriptions and focuses on the phase before the project actually kicks off.


May 2017
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