Solving A Problem In TensorFlow Using SoftMax

Kiran Gutha gives us a fairly simple solution to the MNIST digit data set using the SoftMax algorithm:

In this tutorial, we will train a machine learning model for predicting numbers in pictures. Our goal is not to design a world-class complex model (although we will give you the source code to implement first-rate predictive models later). Rather, this tutorial is to introduce how to use TensorFlow. So, we start here with a very simple mathematical model called Softmax Regression.

The implementation code for this tutorial is short, and the really interesting content is only contained in three lines of code. However, it is very important to understand the design ideas contained in these codes: the basic concepts of TensorFlow workflow and machine learning. Therefore, this tutorial will explain in detail the implementation of these codes.

This is about as easy as it gets with neural networks, but easy doesn’t mean wrong.

Executing SSIS From Azure Data Factory

Andy Leonard shows us how to execute an SSIS package from Azure Data Factory:

The good people who work on Azure Data Factory recently added an Execute SSIS Package activity. It’s pretty cool. Let’s tinker with it some, shall we?

First, you will need to create an Azure Data Factory SSIS Integration Runtime. If you don’t know how, that’s ok – I’ve written a post titled Lift and Shift SSIS Part 0: Creating the ADF Integration Runtime that describes one way to set up ADFIR.

Read on for an example.

Automatic Seeding In Availability Groups

Frank Gill explains one method of building out data in an Availability Group, automatic seeding:

Microsoft released Availability Groups (AG) as a feature in SQL Server 2012. Prior to SQL Server 2016, there were two methods of adding a database to a new AG replica.

  1. You could provide the Add Database to Availability Group wizard a file share accessible by the primary and secondary replicas.  SQL Server would run FULL and LOG backups of each database to the share and use them to restore the database(s) to each replica.
  2. You could manually run a FULL and LOG backup of each database, copy the backup files to each replica, and restore the databases WITH NORECOVERY.

With SQL Server 2016. Microsoft has provided a third option, Automatic Seeding.  With Automatic Seeding, you specify the databases and the replicas and SQL Server will begin transferring data to each replica.  The duration of the seeding process depends on the size of the database and the network bandwidth available between primary and secondary replica.

Automatic seeding isn’t perfect, but it’s quite useful.

Scripting Maintenance Mode Tasks

Jamie Wick shares some hard-earned knowledge regarding scripting out maintenance tasks using Powershell:

Given that we have several hundred servers (and growing), this process is taking an increasing amount of time each month. Over the years we’ve implemented various automated patching systems (WSUS, IBM BigFix, etc.) and they’ve worked reasonably well for managing the Download & Install step. The pain point lately has become the first two steps (snapshots and maintenance mode). Both processes are simple to complete using the VCenter web-based user interface and SCOM console. The problem is the volume of button clicks it takes to complete the process for ALL of the servers. Using the standard (web) user interfaces, over an hour of the monthly maintenance window can be lost to just getting the snapshots and maintenance mode tasks completed. Extrapolate that out over a year and we’re looking at over 1.5 DAYS of work-time lost to getting the servers ready to START applying updates. That’s not a statistic we want to publish to senior management. So, how to fix (or minimize) the problem? The answer to which is: Script It.

Let’s take a look at how to use PowerShell to automate the snapshot and maintenance mode tasks.

Read on for sample scripts.

Resetting SSMS Window Layout

Wayne Sheffield clues us in on a nice Management Studio feature:

SSMS is a wonderful tool. You can drag Windows around, grouped with others, split, docked, undocked, hidden… it seems endless what you can do with them. You can even change what columns you see. Invariably, with all of this customization, things go wonky. I’ve even seen windows opened up on invisible monitors. Sometimes you can’t find the windows that you need. Conversely, windows that you don’t need are open all over the place. Sometimes, you just need to reset everything and start over. Short of reinstalling SSMS, how do you do this? You just reset the window layout.

It’s one of those options which stares you in the face but you can easily miss.

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