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Announcing the 2017 IT/Dev Connections Data and Business Intelligence Workshops

IT/DevConnections 2017 is in San Francisco this October 23 – 26. Over four days of in-depth training across multiple tracks you’ll have opportunities to learn from over 100 professionals who have been in your shoes over the course of their careers and want to share their expertise with their peers. This year’s tracks are:

Cloud & Data Center – The Cloud & Data Center track provides coverage for the various vendor cloud solutions including AWS, Azure, Google, and others. The content provided in this track will give you a firm grip on delivering hybrid, private, and public cloud services to your organization as well as how to manage cross-platform clouds through automation and scripting.

Data Platform & Business Intelligence – The hottest but most misunderstood topics these days include Big data, Machine Learning, Bots, Artificial Intelligence, and others. This track delivers a wealth of deep-technical knowledge designed to allow database administrators and data scientists to deliver on the latest technologies for strategy, awareness, customer service, and business value.

Enterprise Collaboration – Office 365 and related services (Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Skype for Business, etc.) are in high demand in many organizations. This track delivers the specifics for successfully implementing, managing, and servicing these business-critical, hybrid cloud services throughout the company to ensure continuity and an optimum user experience.

Enterprise Management, Mobility, & Security – Most IT Pros are still tasked with implementing, managing, and monitoring on-premises assets while also developing and implementing strategy and deploying services to enable hybrid cloud workloads. This track delivers deep technical knowledge for improving current service levels for management, mobility, and security while also offering real-world knowledge for successful strategy development.

Development & DevOps – The Development and DevOps track is designed to deliver the best training for the developer’s in attendance. Our expert speakers deliver the most current developer technologies through demos and real-world code examples. DevOps-minded attendees appreciate this track because it allows distinct opportunities for cross-training to ensure an agile and adaptive workplace with a primary focus on development.

I’m proud to be serving again this year as the Chair for the Data Platform and Business Intelligence track and I recently finalized our session selections for this year’s event and are making those selections public.

What I want to focus on now are my selections for the four Data Platform and Business Intelligence workshops to be held on the first day of this conference. The format of these workshops allow for in-depth, instructor-led training over the course of 4-8 hours. This year’s selections represent a microcosm of the disciplines Data Professionals need proficiency in to facilitate their continued importance to global enterprises and small businesses alike.

This year’s Data Platform and Business Intelligence Workshops for IT/Dev Connections are:

Grant Fritchey - Using SQL Server 2016 Tools For Query Tuning

Query tuning within SQL Server can be a tough skill to master. The new tooling released with SQL Server 2016 changes how you identify poorly performing queries, troubleshoot their behavior, and tune the queries, all a little easier. This workshop teaches new techniques for tuning queries using all the new tools introduced in SQL Server 2016. You'll be able to put this knowledge to work immediately, not only in your 2016 instances, but also in your Azure SQL Database databases. You will be tuning your queries faster and more accurately using the new tools available.

Grant Fritchey is a SQL Server MVP with over 20 years’ experience in IT, including time spent in support and development. He has worked with SQL Server since 6.0 back in 1995. He has also developed in VB, VB.NET, C#, and Java. Grant has written books for Apress and Simple-Talk. He joined Red Gate Software as a product evangelist in January 2011.


Stacia Varga - Secure Business Intelligence from the Inside Out

How well do your BI development practices protect your data? The Microsoft BI stack contains multiple tools which each have different security configuration options and interdependencies. In this workshop, you see how data can be compromised in this stack, learn where the potential risks of a data breach are lurking in your BI solutions, and leave with specific steps you can take to mitigate those risks. Throughout the day, we explore the anatomy of an attack on your data component by component. As we examine potential security issues, we show you how to build a security action plan for SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS. We explore security in these components by using a multi-tier, multi-layered approach, leaving no stone unturned. By the end of this workshop, you'll understand the relationship across the security settings not only in the BI tools, but also the backend databases and the Windows operating system. Come learn how to preserve and protect your data effectively from the inside out.

Stacia Varga is a consultant, educator, mentor, and author specializing in business intelligence solutions since 1999. During that time, she has authored or coauthored multiple books about BI as Stacia Misner. Her last book was Introducing Exam Ref 70-768 Developing SQL Models (Microsoft Press, 2017). She has also written articles for SQL Server Magazine and Technet and has produced multiple BI video courses available through Pluralsight. In addition, she has been recognized for her contributions to the technical community as a Microsoft Data Platform MVP since 2011. Stacia provides consulting and custom education services through her company, Data Inspirations; speaks frequently at conferences serving the SQL Server community worldwide; and serves as the chapter leader of her local PASS user group, SQL Server Society of Las Vegas. She holds a BA in Social Sciences from Washington State University.

Stacia writes about her experiences with BI at and tweets as @_StaciaV_.


Andrew Kelly - Practical Performance Monitoring

At some point in time every DBA struggles with the concepts and implementation of a proper performance monitoring strategy. This session will cover the fundamental techniques and code snippets that will help you get to the bottom of who or what may be causing you problems. Learn how to use the tools that are readily available to you in order to effectively identify areas where performance may be affecting your SQL Server instance. We will then discuss the proper steps to address or even prevent the issues going forward. You will come away with not only the confidence but the actual code to help monitor your SQL Server instance on a daily basis. Experience will always play a vital role in feeling comfortable with performance monitoring but this session can get you started as soon as you get back home.

Andrew J. Kelly is a Mentor with SolidQ who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He has over 20 years experience with relational databases and application development but his main focus now is SQL Server. In addition to general SQL Server training and Mentoring he specializes in Performance, Scalability and Maintainability of large scale SQL Servers. He is a regular speaker each year at many conferences and user groups. He is a contributing editor and writer for SQL Server Magazine and has been a Microsoft SQL Server MVP since 2001.


Matthew Renze - Practical Data Science with R

Data science is the practice of transforming data into knowledge. R is the most popular programming language used by data scientists. In our data-driven economy, this combination of skills is in extremely high demand, commanding significant increases in salary, as it is revolutionizing the world around us. In this workshop, we'll learn about the practice of data science, the R programming language, and how they can be used to transform data into actionable insight. In addition, we'll learn how to transform and clean our data, create and interpret descriptive statistics, data visualizations, and statistical models. We'll also learn how to handle Big Data, make predictions using machine learning algorithms, and deploy R to production.

Matthew Renze is an independent software and data science consultant with over 17 years of professional experience building large-scale data-driven desktop, server, and cloud-based applications. He is an international public speaker, an author for Pluralsight, a Microsoft MVP, an ASPInsider, and the creator of several open-source software projects including Data Explorer, an interactive data visualization tool.

More information about the sessions, schedule, venue, and history of IT/Dev Connections can be found at the official IT/Dev Connections 2017 website.

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