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Day: April 4, 2022

Emphasizing One Data Point in Excel

Elizabeth Ricks makes a point:

Today’s post is a tactical one: how to highlight a data point in Excel. 

When we craft visualizations for explanatory purposes—that is, when there’s a specific finding or recommendation that we want to communicate to someone specific—our goal is to drive action. In those cases,  our visuals should emphasize what’s interesting in the data and what requires attention. Highlighting key points in our graph is an important step in creating successful explanatory communications.

Read on for examples as well as how to do this.

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Creating a Generic SSRS Report

Tim Mitchell breaks out the black print on white cardboard:

When a simple presentation of data is needed, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a common tool of choice. Creating simple tabular, row-and-column type reports can be done relatively quickly and easily in SSRS. But what happens if you need a lot of these reports? If you need to present dozens or even hundreds of reports to end users, building even a simple report for each one can take time. Unfortunately there’s no Biml-like automation tool for SSRS, so this work must typically be done by hand.

However, it is possible to create a generic report in SSRS that can dynamically present information from tables or views. In this post, I’ll share my implementation of this.

Looking at Tim’s solution, I’d be a bit concerned about longer-term maintenance. In particular, my worry would be that what you gain in ease of development, you give away in making troubleshooting and report maintenance harder.

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Monitoring Kubernetes in Production

Samir Behara provides some guidance:

Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration system for automating the deployment and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes provides capabilities like service discovery, horizontal autoscaling, and load balancing, while ensuring that application configurations are declarative and that systems are self-healing.

In this article, I will explain how to monitor your Kubernetes cluster and implement automated health checks, and discuss the various monitoring tools available.

Read on for some thoughts. In addition to Samir’s links and ideas, I’d also throw in some tools like Rancher to make management a little easier.

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PRECEDING and FOLLOWING in Window Functions

Reitse Eskens looks at a couple of useful window operators:

I was teaching a class today on more advanced SQL queries and we were discussing if you could use preceding and following in a single windowing function.

Windowing Functions

If you’re not familiar with windowing functions, they’re really cool. You can perform all kinds of trickery and magic with them. Let’s start with a simple example.
The dataset I’m using has flight data from the early 2000’s.

Read on for the example and for the answer to Reitse’s question.

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An Overview of Azure IoT Central

James Serra looks at IoT Central:

This is a short blog to give you a high-level overview on a product called Azure IoT Central. I saw this fairly new Azure product (GA Sept 2018) in use for the first time at a large manufacturing company who was using it at their manufacturing facility (see Grupo Bimbo takes a bite out of production costs with Azure IoT throughout factories). They have thousands of sensors that are collecting data for all the machines used in producing their products. In short, think of it as an “Application Platform as a Service (aPaas)” for quickly building IoT solutions. It’s boxing up IoT hub, Device Provisioning Service (DPS), Stream Analytics, Data Explorer, SQL Database, Time Series Intelligence and Cosmos DB to make it easy to quickly build a solution and get value out of the IoT data. To get an idea of the what this solution would look like, check out the IoT Central sample for calculating Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of industrial equipment.

I haven’t seen much use of this service, as generally any use case I’ve seen around IoT quickly turns into using IoT Hub and IoT Edge to develop custom code.

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Synonyms in SQL Server

Chad Callihan looks at synonyms in SQL Server:

Are you familiar with synonyms as they relate to SQL Server? I haven’t seen them used too much out in the wild but understand they can have benefits. Let’s take a look at what synonyms are in SQL Server and some common reasons for implementing them.

My recollection is that synonyms have some limitations which make them not as useful as they’d first appear. But the bigger reason I think we don’t see synonyms used very often is that they obscure information and make it tougher to understand what’s really happening. In that respect, it’s a bit similar to a trigger: useful but sometimes painful to debug because it obscures relevant information.

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