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Day: September 14, 2022

Feathr in the Linux Foundation

Hangfei Lin and Jinghui Mo make an announcement:

We’re excited to announce today that Feathr is joining LF AI & Data, the Linux Foundation’s umbrella foundation supporting open source innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) and data. Feathr is a feature store that simplifies machine learning (ML) feature serving and improves developer productivity.

“We’re excited to welcome Feathr to LF AI & Data and for it to be part of our technical project portfolio (41 projects and growing) with a community of over 17K developers,” said Dr. Ibrahim Haddad, Executive Director of LF AI & Data. “We aim to support Feathr to expand its user base, grow its community of developers, become a leader within its own category, and enable collaboration and integration opportunities with other projects. We look forward to the project’s continued growth and success as part of LF AI & Data.”

Alex Woodie has more background:

Feathr was originally developed at LinkedIn to help manage and serve features used in its machine learning applications. Instead of manually working with features as part of an individual data pipeline, Feathr automates and standardizes the interaction with the data type, which is used in both the training and inference stages of machine learning.

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Restoring Azure SQL MI Databases to SQL Server 2022

Garry Bargsley restores a backup:

My post for T-SQL Tuesday #154 is going to be a demo of the new SQL Server feature that allows you to restore an Azure SQL Managed Instance backup to a SQL Server 2022 instance. Actually, I am not sure if this is a feature or just an enhancement that allows for this behavior to work.

Current versions of SQL Server do not allow the restoration of backups taken on Azure SQL Managed Instance.  Managed Instances are considered “vNext” and runs a different version that is beyond anything on-premises could keep up with due to the frequent changes being applied to Managed Instance. There has always been a disconnect with the restorability between the two platforms, so it is good that Microsoft has found a solution to this limitation.

I’d still like to see the ability to fail from SQL MI to on-prem (or VM) SQL Server—you can go from on-prem to Azure SQL MI, though it sounds like right now, failback is a database restore.

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Louis Davidson likes a new operator in SQL Server 2022:

The MOST exciting change from a T-SQL standpoint is: IS NOT DISTINCT FROM. This feature solves an age-old issue for T-SQL programmers and is worth its weight in gold. It is basically an equals comparison operator like =, but treats NULL as an individual value. Unlike =, this new operator returns only TRUE or FALSE, but not UNKNOWN. Writing queries that compare to values that can contain NULL is tedious, mostly because of code like the following:

Louis is quite happy here. I like the fact that the syntax is here, though I’d be concerned about performance—the syntax is nicer but you can run into the same performance issues as you’d have with “NULL or match” type queries.

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Comparing the Dedicated and Serverless SQL Pools

Liliam Leme compares SQL pools in Azure Synapse Analytics:

Two recurring questions I frequently get from customers are: “What is the difference between Synapse dedicated SQL pool (formerly SQL DW) and Serverless SQL pool?” and “Which one should I choose for my Business?”

This post is intended to explain the basic concepts of dedicated SQL pool and Serverless SQL Pool, help you understand how they work, and how to use them based on your business needs.

Click through for the comparison.

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Thoughts on Power BI Datamarts

Marc Lelijveld dives into the topic of Datamarts in Power BI:

The first post after my vacation. I was in doubt for a while whether I should write this one or not… given the preview state. Since one of the customers I work for asked me for advise today about Power BI Datamarts, I thought lets do it! They convinced me that it would be a valuable blog for many. I hope for you too.

What is this blog about? I will explain my first experiences with Power BI Datamarts which is currently in preview state. I will elaborate on my test cases, the value I see in Datamarts but also some open ends and where you can potentially position it in your Power BI solution architecture.

I think Marc ends up pretty far on the positive side of the opinion curve here relative to many early reviews.

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Compacting Window Function Definitions

Rob Farley like a syntax change:

This was fine, but it did start to become a little cumbersome.

Enter SQL Server 2022. Not only do we get the ability to ignore nulls now, making it easy to get the last non-null value from a list, but we also get a WINDOW clause – part of the SELECT query itself, dropping in between the HAVING clause and the ORDER BY clause, allowing us to predefine those OVER clause segments.

Read on for the full scope of Rob’s thoughts.

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Data Virtualization in Azure SQL Managed Instance

Mladen Andzic has an announcement:

We are excited to announce the general availability (GA) of data virtualization capabilities in Azure SQL Managed Instance, with improved query performance and managed identity as a new supported option for authenticating to storage accounts.  

The data virtualization enables you to execute Transact-SQL (T-SQL) queries on files storing data in common data formats in Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 or Azure Blob Storage and combine it with relational data stored locally in the managed instance using logical joins. This way you can transparently access external data while keeping it in its original format and location. There is no data duplication or need to run and maintain ETL processes, which means that you can extract and deliver insights faster. The supported file formats are Parquet, CSV, and JSON.

This is similar to PolyBase in SQL Server 2019 but is a different underlying technology. In SQL Managed Instance, it looks like we only get API-based data virtualization, not the ODBC-based PolyBase we saw in SQL Server 2019.

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