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Category: Cloud

Integrating Azure ML and Power BI

I have a new video:

In this video, I show off how easy it is to integrate Azure ML and Power BI, at least once you get past all of the trouble trying to integrate them.

I expected this to be easy. It turns out that the “make it look easy” depends on having several things in place already and using the correct (by which I mean “old”) deployment type.

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SQL Server on Azure Arc Performance Dashboards

Lance Wright shows off a dashboard:

At Ignite 2023, we announced the public preview of performance dashboards for SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc. With these performance dashbaord, DBAs and IT Admins now get performance monitoring right from within Azure. No need to setup and login to another tool or remotely connect to the SQL Server to run performance queries. Let Azure Arc do the heavy lifting so you can get to your performance metrics faster. 

This is another tool in the toolbox of DBAs, IT admins, and cloud specialists looking to gain better visibility into their hybrid and multi-cloud workloads. If a SQL Server enabled by Azure Arc meets the requirements for data collection (see “How to enable performance dashboards”), Azure Arc will automatically collect the following types of data from the Dynamic Management Views (DMV) datasets oof the SQL Server: 

Click through to see what it includes and how to enable it.

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Replacing the Workspace Summary with Azure Workbooks

Josephine Bush works around a deprecation notice:

I’m saddened that the Workspace Summary is being deprecated in Log Analytics Workspace. I am trying to reproduce it in workbooks. While it isn’t an exact match, workbooks provide me with enough information to use and share with others.

Click through to see what you could get from the Workspace Summary and how to re-implement a fair amount of that in Azure Workbooks.

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Tracking Inaccessible Azure SQL DB Databases and Customer Key Cycling

Rod Edwards is watching:

This is the first follow up post from: Azure SQL TDE and Customer Keys (BYOK). Microsoft?…your name isn’t down, so you aren’t coming in. ( , which explained how to use Customer Keys with Azure SQL DB (and Managed instance), and some of the dangerous pitfalls that you can face. We need to know when there may be trouble on the horizon, so key (pun fully intended) to this is monitoring.

Yes, i’m rambling on again about monitoring…but I like monitoring.

Be seeing you, Number Six.

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Choosing the Right Technology in the Modern Azure Data Warehouse

Josephine Bush has some advice:

Here’s a quick description of the options we explored:

  • Azure Data Factory – Orchestrates and automates data movement and transformation. You can create workflows, pipelines, and ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes using it.
  • Databricks – A unified data science, engineering, and analytics platform based on Apache Spark. It simplifies data exploration, preparation, and machine learning workflows, allowing teams to collaborate efficiently. Interactive notebooks make Databricks a versatile tool for scalable data analysis and processing.
  • Synapse – Integration of big data and data warehousing in the cloud. It facilitates collaborative analytics and AI-driven insights using serverless and provisioned resources across various data sources. Integrated analytics, warehousing, and data integration are part of Synapse’s unified experience.
  • Fabric – An all-in-one analytics solution for enterprises that offers data movement, data lakes, data engineering, data integration, data science, and real-time analytics.

Read on for pros and cons of different options Josephine & crew reviewed, as well as the option they landed on and why.

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Updates to Azure Well-Architected Review Assessments

Stephen Sumner shows off some changes:

Microsoft is excited to announce a significant update to the Azure Well-Architected Review assessment helps you build and optimize workloads. It walks you through a series of questions about your workload. Based on your responses, it generates tailored and prioritized recommendations to improve your workload design. The guidance is actionable and applicable to nearly every workload. It aligns with the latest best practices across the five key pillars of reliability, security, cost optimization, operational excellence, and performance efficiency (see figure 1).

I’m a big fan of the Well-Architected Framework and the assessments Microsoft has put together. An assessment can take teams within a company days to complete because the questions are so thorough, but once you do get through the list, you’ll get some great practical insights on your setup and what you can do to improve performance and save money.

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Extended Events Updates in Azure SQL DB

Dimitri Furman fills us in on recent happenings:

To better support Extended Events in Azure SQL, in recent months we have made several improvements. Now, you can:

  • View event data in SSMS without downloading xel files from Azure Storage
  • Watch live data for an event session
  • Use the XEvent Profiler
  • Use the histogram target
  • Monitor Extended Events performance
  • Use granular Extended Events permissions

Much of this is already available in the box product. Dimitri also notes some performance improvements and other updates as well.

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Power BI Authentication to Synapse via Sharable Cloud Connection

Dan English continues a series:

This is a bit overdue and a follow up to a few other posts I have regarding using Service Principal authentication with Power BI reports Power BI using Service Principal with Synapse SQL Pool and Power BI using Service Principal with Synapse Data Explorer (Kusto) Pool.

With the other two posts I did last year I had to use the SQL Server ODBC driver to get that to work and the big downside to that is that you need to use a gateway with that. Well in this case we are going to take a look at the new Shareable Cloud Connections that were announced earlier this year Streamlining cloud connection management for datasets, paginated reports, and other artifacts | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Click through to see what you need to get it working.

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The Query that Wouldn’t Go Parallel

Reitse Eskens was living in a black-and-white world, smoking at a dilapidated desk in a run-down office in a beat-up city, when she came through the door:

So what’s up this time. Our client has moved to Azure in classic lift and shift scenario. Well, almost. They’ve deployed new VM’s and installed SQL Server 2019 Standard in nice DTAP setting. The VM’s are standard E16-4as-v4 SKU. 4 vcpus and 128 GB memory. The disks are Premium SSD LRS ones with 2300 Max IOPS.

Their on-premises environment was a SQL Server 2016 standard edition running on a virtualisation layer with 128 GB of memory and 8 cores.

In both cases there are 2 numa nodes dividing the amount of cores between them.

Read on to learn more about the problem and what Reitse & co did to resolve it. Also check out the comments—Daniel Hutmacher, in particular, I think has the reason nailed.

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Bring-Your-Own-Key in Azure SQL Database

Rod Edwards shares some hard-earned guidance:

Some organisations are more strict on security than others. Thats just the way of the world, whether it be local policy, industry policy, paranoia or worryingly…just not considering it a priority.

This is why Microsoft have to offer BYOK, no, not the famous Icelandic singer from the 90’s and beyond either. I’m (very) tenuously referring to “Bring Your Own Key” which allows customers to let the encryption key to be handled by Microsoft for their encryption purposes, but create and use one of their own.

Read on to learn more about how it works, as well as a couple of important warnings you should keep in mind.

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