My Favorite Data Platform Feature

At SQL Bits a few weeks back there was a community keynote on Friday. Ben Weissman and Rob Sewell put this together as a fun way of involving others. They invited a number of people to each take 5 minutes and talk about their favorite part of the data platform, which encompasses a wide variety of technologies and products. There were a few people who chose Purview, Azure networking, and quite a few ways of using Power BI.

Me? I choose the Create button in Azure. Really, Azure itself because of the amazing array of things that you can deploy in minutes. It’s stunning to me to think back to the mid-2000s, when I first saw the Azure platform at TechEd and a Microsoft employee demo’d a key-value table, literally a two-column table. They were trying to sell this as a great way to deploy lookup data to mobile sales applications at scale. I was less than impressed.

This year I deployed a Synapse workspace in less than 10 minutes. Maybe less than 5. I know little about Synapse, and the idea of building a data warehouse and analytics platform, loading data, and running queries isn’t something I’d think I could do in 10 minutes, but I did it. I’ve found containers to be similarly useful in quickly getting something up and running, but even they require Docker or some other software installed and configured. In Azure, I can set things up in minutes.

In the last year I’ve set up numerable resources, from databases to web apps to a Kubernetes install. All in minutes, which is quicker than I could do something on my local system except for creating databases. If I had prepped things or had more knowledge that might not be the case, but the lack of needing to prep or learn a lot to get something set up is amazing in and of itself. This is especially true when I want to experiment with a technology or a new solution. I can quickly build an array of systems with much less effort than on-premises.

I don’t know how many of you use the cloud at work, but I find it amazing. It’s one part of the data platform from Microsoft that I really appreciate, especially as I’ve tried to work with MongoDB, Redis, and other technologies at home. The cloud makes things easier, even with databases.

Today, I’m wondering what your favorite part of the data platform might be. Is it something in SQL Server? Maybe a related technology? Perhaps something else that helps you work with data these days. Let us know what data platform thing is exciting to your career.

Steve Jones

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