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SQLSaturday #59 Speaker Interview Series #6 with Michael Coles

SQLSaturday #59 – Speaker Interview Series #6 with Michael Coles

Today is Tuesday.  And in honor of TSQL Tuesday, we’re bringing you the next in our line-up of SQLSaturday speakers, SQL MVP, Author and XML expert, Michael Coles - otherwise known in the blogosphere as Sergeant SQL. 

So, I want everybody to get down and give me twenty – twenty lines of t-sql code to optimize your packages and data flows in SSIS for dimensional data mart loads.  OK, we’re going to need a few more lines than that, so don’t miss Michael’s presentation on High Performance SSIS Dimensional Datamart Loads.  We went across the Hudson to catch up with one of the Jersey boys, and appreciate Michael’s answers.

RP: Please tell us a little about yourself, your background, your career and your involvement in the SQL Community.

MC: I’ve been a developer for as long as I can remember – I used to specialize in unmanaged C and C++, Assembler, and just about any other procedural language I could get my hands on.  I switched over to SQL database development around 1997 or so, in a SQL Server 6.0/6.5 shop.  Out in the community I enjoy speaking and participating in events like SQLSaturday, PASS virtual chapters, and other events.  I also enjoy occasionally blogging, writing articles and putting together community code samples.

RP: What is your area of expertise?  How did you become a DBA/SQL Professional?

MC: SQL Server development is really my specialty.  I jumped into the SQL world with both feed immediately after my first experience with SQL Server.  Up to that point my database experience had been limited to dBase and occasional projects where I had to create simplistic “custom databases”, usually based on random access flat files.  SQL Server really increased my productivity.

RP: What advice would you give your fellow colleagues who are trying to become more senior professionals?

MC: In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, he estimates that it takes 10,000 hours of doing a thing to become an expert at it.  My best advice would be to pack as much quality into those 10,000 hours as possible.  The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.

RP: As I see the question all the time, what do you tell folks who want to get more involved in the SQL Community?

MC: There are a lot of ways to get involved in the SQL community.  Someone just starting out might want to get involved in the online forums and consider joining a local user group or virtual user group/chapter as a first step.  These are two simple, no-cost ways to start getting involved in the community.

RP: What are 3 of your favorite features in SQL Server 2008/R2?

MC: Although I’ve only done some basic samples with it, I really like the map control in SSRS.  I’m starting to play with PowerPivot and finding it fascinating.  Of course everyone else who answers this question for you probably has these two listed.  My third is a feature that didn’t get a lot of fanfare, but it really is a cool “under-the-hood” feature: Unicode compression.  It’s one of those features where you think to yourself “why didn’t they do this sooner”?  Unicode compression really negates the final excuse for not creating internationalization-ready applications.

RP: What are you working on currently?  (Projects, Books/Articles, Speaking circuit, etc.)

MC: I’ll be presenting to the PASS BI/DW virtual chapter in November, right around the same time as SQLSaturday 59.  I also have submissions in to a handful of other upcoming SQLSaturday events in D.C., Cleveland and Louivsille over the next few months.  Also it looks like I will be attending the PASS Summit this year, and volunteering at the “Ask the Experts” table.


RP: What are some of your other interests, hobbies, etc. when you’re not being a DBA/Engineer/BI professional?

MC: I enjoy playing basketball, reading, and writing.  I live a simple life J

RP: What are you looking forward to, or, what excites you the most about presenting at our SQLSaturday event in the capital of the world, NYC?

MC: (“Capital of the world?”  NYC isn’t even the capital of New York State.  Oh, I forgot I’m talking to a New Yorker hereJ)

      RP: And, I suppose that you will claim that the Statue of Liberty is actually in New Jersey.

MC: I know the Statue of Liberty is surrounded by Jersey water and Jersey land :)  Supreme Court said so a long time ago.

RP:  Well, Mr. Coles, in 1987, The Supreme Court refused to strip the Statue of Liberty of its  status as a New Yorker. The Court, without comment, turned away a move by a two New Jerseyans, apparently, you being one of them: P, to claim jurisdiction over the landmark for their state.

To be fair, A 1997 United States Supreme Court decision involved such riparian rights around nearby Ellis Island.  That means the fully submerged land underwater surrounding the Statue belongs to NJ, and the land above water belongs to NY.  I will take to the air, and you will take to the sea.  Can we agree that as Americans, the Statue belongs to the nation as a whole, and an international symbol of Freedom and Hope?

      Anyway, I digress, aren’t we talking about SQLSaturday#59?

    MC: Yes. I’m really looking forward to meeting new SQL professionals in the Metro area.

RP: Give us a preview of the topic and session you have planned for us at SQLSaturday#59

MC: My topic for SQLSaturday 59 is “high performance SSIS for data marts”.  We’ll be talking about how to optimize your packages and dataflows in SSIS for dimensional data mart loads.  This is really going to be a lessons-learned type session based on my experiences from several different SSIS data mart ETL implementations, most of them for Fortune 500 companies with very large quantities of data.

RP: Anything that you would like to add?

            MC: See you at the next event!

      RP: Indeed, see you there!  Thanks again, Mike for taking time to answer our questions, and taking part in a very  

              interesting and engaging conversation.  From New Yawk, I’m Robert Pearl!



(Note: No New Yorkers or New Jerseyans were hurt during the course of this interview :-)


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