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Month: July 2021

Data Mesh and Ownership Strategies

James Serra aims to clear up some confusion:

I have done a ton of research lately on Data Mesh (see the excellent Building a successful Data Mesh – More than just a technology initiative for more details), and have some concerns about the paradigm shift it requires. My last blog tackled the one about Centralized vs decentralized data architecture. In this one I want to talk about centralized ownership vs decentralized ownership, along with another paradigm shift (or core principle) closely related to it, siloed data engineering teams vs cross-functional data domain teams.

First I wanted to mention there is a Data Mesh Learning slack channel that I have spent a lot of time reading and what is apparent is there is a lot of confusion on exactly what a data mesh is and how to build it. I see this as a major problem as the more difficult it is to explain a concept the more difficult it will be for companies to successfully build that concept, so the promise of a data mesh improving the failure rates for big data projects will be difficult to achieve if we can’t all agree exactly what a data mesh is. What’s more is the core principles of the data mesh sound great in theory but will have challenges in implementing them, hence my thoughts in this blog on centralized ownership vs decentralized ownership.

Read on for James’s take on the matter.

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Connecting to Azure Blob Storage from Power BI

Kristyna Hughes links Power BI to a data source:

The step-by-step process below walks through connecting to data housed in Azure Blob Storage from Power BI using a SAS token. There are many ways to grab your data from Blob Storage, but this is the most efficient, scalable, and secure way that I found (with some security restrictions from watchful DBAs).

Click through for the solution, which is based on using SAS tokens.

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Issue with SQL Server and High Availability in Kubernetes

Andrew Pruski has a problem:

I’ve been running a proof of concept for SQL Server on Kubernetes over the last year or so (ok, probably longer than that…hey, I’m a busy guy 🙂 ) and have come across an issue that has been sort of a show stopper.

There are currently no HA solutions for SQL Server running on plain K8s (not discussing Azure Arc here) so my tests have been relying on the in-built HA that Kubernetes provides but there’s a problem.

Be sure to check it out because it is a doozy.

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Deploying Azure Policies via Terraform

Jonathan D’Aloia shows how you can use Terraform to work with Azure Policies:

As you may all know Terraform serves a great purpose in deploying resources and infrastructure into your Azure environment, however, Terraform can also be used to automate and consistently deploy Azure Policies which can be defined prior to any resources being generated. In this blog, I will cover how you can import policies into your Terraform State to then deploy into an Azure Resource Group in order to secure your landing zone prior to deploying any resources.

Click through for an example.

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Minimizing PAGELATCH_EX Waits in SQL Server 2019

Aaron Bertrand has some advice for us:

There is a common problem in SQL Server where contention when writing to a single page can lead to excessive waiting. This waiting comes in the form of the wait type PAGELATCH_EX, and often happens when the clustering key is a monotonically increasing value – like an IDENTITY or date/time column. Pedro Lopes has highlighted some non-trivial workarounds in his post, “PAGELATCH_EX waits and heavy inserts,” and there is some official guidance in the Microsoft Docs article, “Resolve last-page insert PAGELATCH_EX contention in SQL Server.” But are there any ways to address this issue without intrusive changes?

Read on to see what Aaron has in mind.

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The Benefits of Instant File Initialization

Greg Larsen explains how instant file initialization works:

Instant file initialization is a SQL Server setup option that keeps SQL Server from writing binary zeroes to data files when a database is first created, expanded, or restored. By avoiding the writing of binary zeroes, there is a lower performance impact when disk space is allocated for several database operations.

By default, when SQL Server creates a database, increases the size of a database, or restores a database, it needs to initialize the disk space prior to allocating the space. This initialization process writes binary zeroes (“0”) across all the bits and bytes of space being allocated. By writing binary zeroes across the disk space, the SQL Server engine makes sure that data previously stored in the unused disk space is completely overwritten before the disk space is allocated to a database.

Read on for more details, as well as why this can be worth enabling.

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Digital Forensics with Apache Kafka

Kai Waehner continues a series on using Apache Kafka as the backbone for computer security:

Storing data long-term in Kafka is possible since the beginning. Each Kafka topic gets a retention time. Many use cases use a retention time of a few hours or days as the data is only processed and stored in another system (like a database or data warehouse). However, more and more projects use a retention time of a few years or even -1 (= forever) for some Kafka topics (e.g., due to compliance reasons or to store transactional data).

The drawback of using Kafka for forensics is the huge volume of historical data and its related high cost and scalability issues. This gets pretty expensive as Kafka uses regular HDDs or SDDS as the disk storage. Additionally, data rebalancing between brokers (e.g., if a new broker is added to a cluster) takes a long time for huge volumes of data sets. Hence, rebalancing takes hours can impact scalability and reliability.

But there is a solution to these challenges: Tiered Storage.

Click through to learn more.

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Detecting a Fraud: Power BI Edition

Brett Powell has an interesting post on determining a Power BI consultant’s chops:

This post discusses the forms, origins, and indications of fraud and misrepresentation in the context of Power BI consulting and contract engagements. The intent of this content is to help the reader determine whether a fraud or misrepresentation has occurred and identify characteristics that suggest the potential for a significant variance between expectations and deliverables.

Brett comes at this from the viewpoint of an expert sharing information on the types of things you should expect to see from a qualified consultant. Incidentally, this also works to give you an idea of the types of skills necessary to become a Power BI consultant so if that’s your goal, study this and you’ll be in a solid mindset—especially because this isn’t just a knowledge quiz.

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