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James Serra's Blog

James is a big data and data warehousing technology specialist at Microsoft. He is a thought leader in the use and application of Big Data technologies, including MPP solutions involving hybrid technologies of relational data, Hadoop, and private and public cloud. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 30 years of IT experience. James is a popular blogger (JamesSerra.com) and speaker, having presented at dozens of PASS events including the PASS Business Analytics conference and the PASS Summit. He is the author of the book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Archives: August 2013

Resume hoarders

Unfortunately in my line of work as a consultant, I am contacted far too often by resume hoarders, who are “recruiters” who sole job is to collect resumes, with no attempt at all to try to match the right person with the position that is open.  It’s just a matter… Read more

0 comments, 1,477 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 29 August 2013

Winner of the worst recruiter of the year!

Every week I get a bunch of emails from recruiters about jobs that I am not qualified for (see Low-rate recruiters – The bane of my existence).  Some obviously use keyword searches and just spam any person who has that keyword in their profile (i.e. I have Microsoft Dynamics… Read more

19 comments, 1,133 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 27 August 2013

Recruiters, pay rates, and client budgets

If a recruiter sends me a job description, the first question I ask is, “What is the pay rate”.  If it is not in the ballpark of what I make, I shut the conversation down as continuing would just be a waste of everyone’s time.  Better to do that then… Read more

2 comments, 1,031 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 22 August 2013

A placement firm’s “guaranteed” replacement

I have heard large placement firms say they are better than smaller firms because “They offer the client a guaranteed replacement in case the resource doesn’t work out or leaves project early “.  I asked my recruiter friend about this.  His response:

You can look at it that statement two… Read more

0 comments, 616 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 20 August 2013

SQL Server 2014: AlwaysOn

AlwaysOn was introduced in SQL Server 2012, and there are some enhancements in SQL Server 2014:

  • Now support up to 8 secondary replicas that remain available for reads at all times, even in the presence of network failures.  Failover Cluster Instances now support Windows Cluster Shared Volumes, improving the utilization…

Read more

1 comments, 2,121 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 15 August 2013

Dear recruiter: I will not help you do your job for free

I literally get 10-15 calls and emails a week from recruiters asking if I can help them to find a data warehouse or business intelligence person for an opening at a client they have.  And another 10-15 emails for positions not even close to my skill-set (many coming from keyword… Read more

9 comments, 1,094 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 13 August 2013

Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions

If your company is planning to build a data warehouse or BI solution (see Why you need Business Intelligence), you need to be aware that BI projects have high failure rates.  Gartner says between 70% to 80% of corporate business intelligence projects fail (see Poor communication to blame for… Read more

1 comments, 1,497 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 8 August 2013

Presentations slides for Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions” for Pragmatic Works.  The abstract for my session is below and the recording will be available soon here.  I hope I provided some good info for you.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation: Best Practices to… Read more

0 comments, 653 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 7 August 2013

Why use a SSAS cube?

What are the advantages of using SSAS Cubes over a regular data warehouse for reporting?  Note I’m not asking why report on a data warehouse instead of a OLTP database. which is covered at Why You Need a Data Warehouse.  Think of it as if I have a reporting… Read more

5 comments, 1,566 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 6 August 2013

Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions Presentation

I will be presenting a brand new session entitled “Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions” tomorrow, August 6th, at 11am EST for Pragmatic Works.  You can register here.  The abstract for my session is below.  I hope you can make it!

Best Practices to Deliver BI Solutions

If… Read more

2 comments, 825 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 5 August 2013

Presentation Slides for Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” for 24 hours of PASS, PASS Summit Preview.  The abstract is below and the recording of the session is available here.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Here is the PowerPoint presentation: Building an Effective Data… Read more

0 comments, 739 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 2 August 2013

PerformancePoint: Show Details greyed out

In PerformancePoint, when using a analytic grid or chart or a scorecard, if you are not able to use the “Show Details” option (a drillthrough action) because it is grayed out, one or more of the following could be the reason:

  • In Dashboard Designer, in the “Background” section of the…

Read more

0 comments, 934 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 1 August 2013