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The Smiling DBA

Thomas LeBlanc is a Business Intelligence Consultant/Data Warehouse Architect in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He uses his 25+ years in IT to help develop OLTP systems with normalized databases for high-performing T-SQL and end-to-end dimensional data marts using SSIS, SSAS, PPS, and Excel. His SQL Server certifications include MCSA 12, MCITP 08 BI and DBA, MCITP 2005 DBA, and MCDBA 2000. As a PASS volunteer, he is current chair of the Excel BI virtual chapter, past chair of the Data Architecture virtual chapter, and past virtual chapter mentor. He has helped the Baton Rouge SQL Server User Group with SQLSaturdays and speaks at local IT meetings.

VOTE!!! PASS Board of Director Elections

It is voting season again, and there is a great group of individuals running for the Board of Directors of PASS. You can go to the Elections Page of the site and review all the information about the elections. Logging into the site will enable you to vote.

As… Read more

0 comments, 87 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 6 October 2016

Live! 360–Speaking at SQL Server Live Orlando 2016

If you are looking for a great conference to attend, please look at Live! 360. This event combines 6 different areas of IT (including SQL Server) with some of the great experts presenting sessions for 5 days. The sessions are on December 5th thru the 9th in Orlando, FL… Read more

0 comments, 247 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 10 September 2016

Using a Lookup Component in SSIS for Surrogate Keys in a Fact table

There are many suggestions for loading a data warehouse using SQL Server integration Services (SSIS). Once you get started, you find a pattern to repeat for facts and dimensions. This might be because the consistency Dimensional Modeling suggests for the design of fact and dimension tables. The SSIS Lookup component…

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0 comments, 1,779 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 21 July 2016

PASS Summit 2016 – Connect, Share, Learn

Please join me and about 4000+ other technology professionals for the annual PASS Summit in Seattle, WA October 24th – 28th. But before I talk about this year’s event, join me in a trip down memory lane about my path to the PASS Summit. If not, skip to the…

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0 comments, 185 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 24 June 2016

Why use a Date Dimension Table in a Data Warehouse

In the Data Mart, or the Data Warehouse world, there is a date dimension table in all schemas if you are using the Kimball Dimensional Modeling method. In the beginning of Dimensional Modeling, it was called a Time dimension. Since then, the Time dimension has actually been separate from the…

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0 comments, 2,126 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 29 May 2016

SQLSaturday Atlanta #521 May 19th & 20th 2016

SQLSaturday events are a pleasure to be a part of whether it involves speaking or volunteering. Volunteering definitely takes more work and time, but to see someone who is interested in SQL Server as a career take time to learn on a Saturday, makes it all worth the effort. When… Read more

0 comments, 251 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 23 April 2016

Excel BI VC presents Dustin Ryan: New Features of Power BI

Next Meeting

Thu, Mar 24 2016 12:00 Central Daylight Time

Dustin Ryan presents What's New in Power BI



Between the weekly and monthly updates to Power BI, its tough to stay caught up with the latest updates and improvements with Microsoft's newest business intelligence…

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3 comments, 281 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 16 March 2016

Analysis Services: Solving Hierarchy Errors of Uniqueness

Multidimensional Cubes provide speed when it comes to retrieving aggregations that are important to business decisions. Being able to slice or group the measures by dimension attributes helps with a quick analysis and flexible/interactive reporting. Configuring these attributes as hierarchies has some details that are not at first obvious. The…

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0 comments, 221 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 16 March 2016

SQLSaturday Austin – Jan 30th

I will be speaking with other SQL Server experts for SQLSaturday #461 in Austin on Jan 30th, 2016. This is a FREE day of training. FREE!!!
There are also a couple of great Pre-Cons on Friday Jan 29th, 2016 that are very cheap compared to similar training at big conferences.

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1 comments, 213 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 18 January 2016

Idera #SQLChat with John Morehouse

Please join Idera tomorrow for a #SQLChat on Twitter. The December #SQLChat will take place Tuesday, December 9 at 11 a.m. central to 12 noon with John Morehouse (@Sqlrus). We will be discussing how to survive the holidays with SQL Server.

Other Idera ACE’s will be helping with the… Read more

0 comments, 224 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 2 December 2015

Covering Indexes

Microsoft continues to improve indexes and options for additional performance enhancements. One I see frequently is the need for a covering index. Before we look at those options, let’s talk about the need for a covering index.

The term covering index was created probably a decade ago. The idea is… Read more

2 comments, 2,140 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 26 November 2015

Idera Ace

I started using a product called SQL Diagnostic Manager from Idera about 10 years ago at a Home Health company. It was very useful with monitoring a SQL Server instance and helped us estimate the future size of databases based on historical data. The numbers were very accurate for a… Read more

0 comments, 243 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 5 November 2015

PASS Summit 2015

Yes, it is that time of the year again. You know, when all the nut case and normal SQL Server experts collide in Seattle (or wherever the Summit is located) to experience the largest gathering of data experts on this planet. Well, I might be lying a little about the… Read more

0 comments, 277 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 19 October 2015

#ITDevCon15 Conner Cunningham Keynote

On Wednesday morning, Conner Cunningham from Microsoft was the keynote speaker for IT/DevConnections in Las Vegas. His talk focused on SQL Server 2016. To summarize the things he said that got my attention were a Live Query Plan, the Query Store to retrieve a previous query plan and Azure… Read more

0 comments, 246 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 17 September 2015

Dustin Ryan: Power Pivot 101: An Introduction

The PASS Excel Business Intelligence virtual chapter presents Dustin Ryan introducing everybody to Power Pivot in Excel. This chapter has gotten a lot of questions during some of the last couple of sessions that can be directly done in Power Pivot through Excel.

Please join us this Thursday September 10th… Read more

0 comments, 372 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 7 September 2015

DevConnections Sept 14-17th 2015 – Las Vegas

DevConnections is a new conference for me and I am excited about the opportunity to present 2 different sessions. The conference is at ARIA Resort in Las Vegas, NV. There are many great speakers at this event including Grant Fritchey, Itzik Ben-Gan, Denny Cherry and many more. The conference… Read more

0 comments, 380 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 11 August 2015

SQLSaturday #423 Baton Rouge

This is I believe the 7th SQLSaturday in Baton Rouge. Please come out this Saturday at the LSU Business Center to enjoy free training, prizes and networking with over 500 IT professionals.


Here is the schedule.

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0 comments, 396 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 27 July 2015

Power Bi Desktop Release Today

You can download the much hyped up Power BI Desktop (formerly Power BI Designer). There are many blogs about the new features, but I am going to mention one here that I have been waiting for.

It involves connecting to the Analysis Service database as a connection and not an… Read more

0 comments, 642 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 24 July 2015

New Features of SQL Server 2016

The next version of SQL Server looks to add more and more features helpful in database design and administration as well as Business Intelligence.

The first I found interesting is Temporal Tables. This table keeps a history of the changes made to the table over time. This will change… Read more

0 comments, 647 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 16 July 2015

PASS Summit Selection Process

I was thinking today about why I submit sessions to speak at the PASS Summit.

My first summit was in Denver back around 2006 or 2007. We (my boss and me) saw an ad for it on SQL Server Central. We enjoyed every minute of the Summit and… Read more

0 comments, 265 reads

Posted in The Smiling DBA on 26 June 2015

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