T-SQL Tuesday #131 : Columnstore is to ____ as Rowstore is to a phone book

T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community. This month’s party is hosted by Rob Volk (b|t), who has asked us to share some analogies that help explain databases in simple terms or as he puts it, “explain databases like I’m five.”

Recently I’ve been doing more with Apache Spark and Databricks and as a result using Parquet files which store data in columnar format. Because of this I have needed an analogy to explain how columnar databases store information and why this might be better for querying large amounts of data.

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T-SQL Tuesday #130 : Automating the Stress Away

T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community. This month’s party is hosted by Elizabeth Noble (b|t), who has asked us to write about automating our stress away with a story about something we automated to make our lives easier.

Maybe I was influenced by the DevOps example that Elizabeth gave in her invitation post, but the first thing I thought of was a project I worked on a few years back using Amazon’s Redshift data warehouse. For most of the project there were three of us and we all came from a more Microsoft centric background. Part of the project involved a SQL Server database and we had an excellent deployment pipeline designed. We aimed to release about once a week and the SQL portion could be done in minutes, but we had not found any good CI/CD tools for Redshift and our release often used up most of the workday. Usually with rollbacks and some investigation to determine why the Dev, QA, and Prod environments differed.

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What is Cosmos DB?

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Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft’s globally distributed, multi-model database service.


If you are curious about Cosmos DB the link above is a good place to start. The current definition of the service is much longer than that one sentence, but I like the simplicity of it. I think for many of the developers that Cosmos is targeted towards, this is really enough to know. Cosmos is a database service that you can use for the backend of your application. It works anywhere in the world that you can connect to Azure services, it works relatively quickly, and allows you to use a variety of API models to connect to it. Some of the more common ones are the SQL Core API (which grew out of Azure DocumentDB), MongoDB, and a graph API using Gremlin.

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The End of the Beginning


It is the last week of Code Chrysalis and the last two weeks have been spent working on our final team project. In addition to all of the things we learned during the first half of the course we learned several new things to complete our project including the Facebook Graph API, NYT Developer API, Python Requests-HTML library, and AWS Lambda functions. We also stretched some CSS and design muscles a bit.

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Uncomfortable Being Comfortable


For week nine and ten of Code Chrysalis the pace and focus have changed. I am now working on a final project with two of my classmates and we are using everything we learned in the course (and then some) to create an amazing web application which we will demo in two weeks. The experience has changed from an intensive learning environment and now feels more like going in to a job every day. A job that you really like.

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JavaScript As a Second Language


Week eight at Code Chrysalis was a little different.

Until this week, Javascript was the language we used to learn software engineering. It was picked for several reasons, but there has always been the understanding that we are learning how to program, not how to program in JavaScript. At the beginning of last week we were asked to pick a programming language other than JavaScript and create something. Until the day we picked our language I thought I might explore a language like Rust or Go, mostly because I knew very little about them, but in the end I went with PHP.

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