Stuart Moore

Musings of a Data professional

Stuart Moore

Month: April 2018

PsConf.Eu – a quick review

This was my second trip to Hannover for PsConf.EU, a 4 day conference covering every corner of PowerShell.

Sessions

Let’s start with the most important part of a conference, the content. Just a quick scan of the Agenda gave a hint of the quality lined up. With sessions from the PowerShell Dev team, and deep dives from community maestros there was plenty of highly technical content, but mixed up with some easier intros to new topics.

For me some of the highlights were getting a first view of some of the new features coming out from the DSC team for the LCM previews straight from the horse’s mouth (well, <a href=’https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/profile/Michael+Greene>Michael Greene the team leader), more details here. And the look at Pester internals from Jakub Jares (b | t) was good as well, now feel I know a lot more about the underpinning, and the reasons behind some of the ways you have to use it make much more sense.

No bad sessions from my point of view. A few issues with demos. Just from my point as a speaker, if you’re going to run a fragile multi machine demo, record a good version ahead of time. While it’s always good to do a demo live, with those setups once it’s gone wrong its’s very hard to recover.

The days run long, 08:30 – 20:00 on the wednesday with the 3 hour workshops at the end. For me this a bonus. When I’m at a conference I like to concentrate on the learning. Some conferences I’ve been to it’s felt as those you spend almost as much time at lunch or coffee breaks as you do in the sessions. So while there were long days it felt worth it.

The venue is well lit, the AV is great, even from the back of the room the screens were clear and the PA carrried the speaker right back. The rooms were closer together this year, and easier to navigate between. And despite the temperature being a step up from the UK the rooms were kept a pleasant but not overly cold temperature. Plenty of food and drink, the lunch menus weren’t holding anything back.

Community

I’m lucky enough to know quite a few PowerShell community members already, but met plenty more at PSConf.EU. Everyone’s there for the same reason so it was always easy to spark up a conversation with someone, whether sat next to them waiting for a session or in the queue for lunch. Was good to see the number of PS UserGroups that were teased out over a lunchtime breakout session, hopefully it’ll be up on the web shortly.

Party

Tuesday night was party night this year. Back to the Hannover Zoo for an evening of catching up and making new friends. The boat is pushed out with the venue, the demonstration from the Zoo (this year Polar Bear feeding), free food and beer. Don’t think anyone went hungry or thirsty that night.

Logistics

From the UK this is a pretty easy conference to get to. From Nottingham I took the train down to Heathrow, a 1 hour hop over with British Airways and a 20 minute train journey saw me in the centre of Hannover. Taxis are about ยข12 from the station to the Conference hotel, but as I’d spent a lot of time sitting down I decided to take the 25 minute walk across.

Accomodation

This year I stayed in the conference hotel the Congress Hotel Am StadtPark next door to the main conference venue. Good hotel, room was a decent size and had all the usual features. The bar was reasonably priced and usually full of PowerShell geeks if you wanted a chat over beers. Restaurant was good, but not cheap. The only downside was flaky WiFi, but that improved on Saturday once all the phones, tablets and laptops from the conference had left for some reason…..

Another great year from Tobias and his team. They’ve announced the dates for next year, 4th-7th June 2019 and they’ve been written into the calendar with ink as I’ll definitely be heading back.

Bulk uploading CSVs to Azure SQL Database with dbatools

PowerShellLike most people we’re busy moving ourselves over to Azure, and like a lot of people (even though they won’t admit it) we’ve got years of data stashed away in CSV files. Go on, own up there’s years worth of department membership stashed away in a HR csv folder somewhere in your organisation ๐Ÿ˜‰

To get some of this data usable for reporting we’re importing it into Azure SQL Database so people can start working their way through it, and we can fix up errors before we push it through into Azure Data Lake for mining. Being a fan of dbatools it was my first port of call for automating something like this.

Just to make life interesting, I want to add a time of creation field to the data to make tracking trends easier. As this information doesn’t actually exist in the CSV columns, I’m going to use LastWriteTime as a proxy for the creationtime.

$Files = Get-ChildItem \\server\HR\HandSTraining\Archive -Filter *.Csv
$SqlCredential = Get-Credential

ForEach ($File in $Files | Where-Object {$_.Length -gt 0}) {
    $InputObject = ConvertFrom-Csv -InputObject (Get-Content $File.fullname -raw) -Header UserName, StatusName
    $InputObject | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Value $File.LastWriteTime -Name DateAdded
    $DataTable = $InputObject | Out-DbaDataTable
    Write-DbaDataTable -SqlInstance superduper.database.windows.net -Database PreventPBI -Table Training -InputObject $DataTable -Schema dbo -SqlCredential $SqlCredential -RegularUser
    Remove-Variable InputObject
}

Working our way through that, we have:

$Files = Gci \\server\HR\HandSTraining\Archive -Filter *.Csv
$SqlCredential = Get-Credential

Setup the basics we’re going to need throughout. Grab all the csv files off of our network share. I prefer grabbing credentials with Get-Credential, but if you’d prefer to embed them in the script you can use:


We then ForEach through all the files, having filterer out the empty ones

    $InputObject = ConvertFrom-Csv -InputObject (Get-Content $File.fullname -raw) -Header UserName, StatusName
    $InputObject | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Value $File.LastWriteTime -Name DateAdded

Load the file contents into a object with ConverTo-Csv. These csv files don’t contain a header row so I’m use the -Header parameter to force them in. This also helps with Write-DbaDataTable as I can ensure that the object names match with the Sql column names for the upload

Then we add a new property to our Input Object. Doing it this way we add it to every ‘row’ in the object at once. If you want to add multiple new properties just keep doing this for each one.

    $DataTable = $InputObject | Out-DbaDataTable
    Write-DbaDataTable -SqlInstance superduperdb.database.windows.net -Database HealthAndSafety -Table Training -InputObject $DataTable -Schema dbo -SqlCredential $SqlCredential -RegularUser

Convert our InputObject into a datatable, which is the format Write-DbaDataTable needs for input.

And then the command that does the loading, Write-DbaDataTable. There are only things here that you have to do differently for loading to an Azure SQL database as opposed to a normal SQL Server instance. For Azure SQL Databases you have to use a SQL Credential as the underlying dlls don’t work (yet) with the various Integrate Authentication options. You need to use the RegularUser switch. Normally dbatools will assume you have sysadmin rights on your SQL Server instance as they are needed for many of the tasks. In an Azure SQL Database you can’t have those rights as they don’t exists, so without Regular user you’ll get a nice error message. Just something to look out for, I’ve tripped myself up in the past when repointing load scripts.

Then we drop InputObject and go round the loop again until we’re finished.

Easy and very quick, and now I can just point PowerBI at it and let the users and analysts work out what they want to do with it.

Changes to SQL Relay session selection process 2018

This year the SQL Relay committee has decided to make a couple of changes to our session selection procedure.

Our aim this year is to be as inclusive and transparent on our process as we can manage. To this end, this post is going to lay out our aims and how we plan to achieve them.

We want everyone to feel they can submit without worrying that their submission will be overlooked due to Gender, Disability, Availability to do the whole tour or any other reason you may be concerned about.

To do this we are moving to a blind selection process. I (Stuart) will be the only member of the committee who can see the list of submissions. At the end of the Call for Sessions I will release only the session abstracts to the rest of the committee members, who will then choose the sessions based only on the abstracts.

Then, should we have openings due to people’s availability we will go through again to fill in any holes in the agenda.

If you require any special requirements then please add them to your submission. They won’t be used during the selection process, but will allow us and our venues to ensure we cover them
The Call for Papers is available here – SQL Relay 2018 CfP

If you are worried about any other reasons you may feel that your submission may be overlooked and want to talk them through, then please contact me (comments, Contact Form or on Twitter (@napalmgram). Anything you ask will be treated in confidence.

If you would like some help with or an independent review your abstract then please get in touch with Speaking Mentors where some of the best SQL Session submitters can help you out.

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