Microsoft Fabric: Today It’s GA, Now What?

Microsoft Fabric: Today It’s GA, Now What?

At their Microsoft Build conference in May 2023, Microsoft announced the company’s new unified analytics solution, Microsoft Fabric. As with any major product launch from a major cloud provider, a tremendous amount of noise and smoke accompanied the debut.

After all, when a company the size of Microsoft invests significantly in a product, you can be assured that the marketing blitz will be significant, too – and that was certainly the case with Fabric. The blitz will ramp up even further now that Microsoft announced at Microsoft Ignite that Fabric is already generally available (GA).

Behind that noise and smoke, though, all many of our customers and partners want to know is: Should I care? And if so, why? Let’s dive into this topic together from the perspective of a few key personas found at many companies.

If you’re a CTO, should you care about Microsoft Fabric? After all, your data people are telling you this has just now become GA, only six months after its launch, and they’re skeptical about its stability. If your data people are skittish about it, is it worthy of being on your radar?

As a CTO, you are a key part of setting the technology strategy for your company. While your data people are largely tasked with executing in the here and now, you need to position the company for success on the road from “here and now” to “there and later.”

That said, they are correct – Fabric is newly GA, so a little skepticism is healthy. However, Fabric has been under development and internal and external testing for much longer than its short trip from launch to general availability would suggest.

Moreover, Microsoft is bringing products with very strong brand equity under the Fabric umbrella. The company would not make such a bold move with brands like Synapse and Power BI if they were not confident of Fabric’s capabilities or longevity.

In short, Microsoft clearly views Fabric as its path to “there and later.” And as its name suggests, Fabric will likely be woven into every aspect of the Microsoft ecosystem in the future. Any organization that stores, analyzes, or visualizes data in the Microsoft ecosystem should pay attention to it, try to understand it, and possibly invest some resources in kicking its tires, as well.

Action Plan: Make sure that your data team or teams keep an eye on the Fabric announcements, currently happening monthly but possibly becoming more frequent now that Fabric is GA. If current resource levels allow, have your team do some R&D work to see if Fabric’s new features may improve your team’s ability to work as its features mature.

VP/Team Lead
At first glance, you may look at the combination of titles in the heading to this section and wonder why VP and Team Lead appear together. While roles can vary by organization, they often need to blend tactical and strategic duties. If your role straddles the strategic and tactical, your interest in Fabric (and the reasons for it) may differ from your colleagues who are one rung (or a few) above you on the org chart.

In these types of roles, oftentimes you are measured on tactical metrics while being asked to supplement those critical day-to-day decisions and duties with a strategic view of what tools best fit where your organization needs to go – and if you have the right people to make the most out of those tools and achieve your vision. While the strategic value of Fabric seems clear, based on Microsoft’s investment and confidence in it discussed above, your reasons to apply it tactically may be less clear.

For example, you know that you likely can’t dedicate your entire department or team to Fabric-related work. After all, the product has just become GA, and you know the CTO wouldn’t approve that level of commitment even if you were 100 percent sure Microsoft Fabric is the very best analytics solution for your company – and you’re not.

One way to measure Fabric’s tactical value for your organization is to take a look around your department/team and see what tools they are using currently for data engineering, analysis, and visualization (EAV). Are they using Power BI, Azure Data Factory, or even Databricks for any part of that EAV work? If they are, now might be an ideal time for a small skunkworks-type project to see what parts of Fabric may enhance their experience – and the data consumer/user experience as well.

Remember that Databricks and OneLake (Fabric’s data lake) can now share a common file storage format. Demonstrating your team’s ability to use both Databricks and Fabric may demonstrate not only help your team’s talent, but your keen technical leadership, as well. Applying some resources to a research and demo effort may pay off smartly in the medium to long term.

Action Plan: While Fabric may not meet your team’s immediate, tactical needs, remember that it is likely to touch nearly every part of the Microsoft data ecosystem when all is said and done. Take the time to know what’s coming in the world of Fabric and ensure that your team has the time and resources to seek out and consume the community training content around it. They will then be ready to execute projects as the features that will benefit you and your company mature.

Data Developer, Data Engineer, Report Developer
You are a member of that critical component of any successful data organization – the people doing the day-to-day data work that makes everybody in the organization look good! So, what angle should you take on Microsoft Fabric?

Put simply, Fabric is quite likely to change not only the tools you use to do your job, but also even the approach you and your company take to storing data, querying data, and so on. As products like Power BI and Synapse begin to operate within Fabric’s gravitational pull, it’s easy to see Fabric expanding its influence across Microsoft’s cloud data ecosystem.

If your job depends on navigating and executing within that ecosystem, there’s no time like now to start that learning journey. Thankfully, the Microsoft data community has a robust in-person and online presence. Find an Azure Data Tech group, SQL Saturday, or Data Saturday near you and start exploring the plethora of community resources at your disposal to stay up to date on this technology. Even if your managers don’t see the wisdom in it, you will realize the benefits – whether at your current company or somewhere else.

Finally, Microsoft Fabric is likely to influence however and wherever you work with data in Microsoft’s cloud data ecosystem. While your ability (and need) to engage with Fabric may vary by role, it’s wise to stay aware of its evolution, lest you risk falling behind a competitor who has leveraged more modern technology than your company possesses to create insights that your current data platform is not capable of – or takes too long to create. Ignore the marketing and dig into the learning material to ensure your company’s data estate is positioned for success.

Action Plan: The Microsoft data platform community does a great job of generating high-quality community training content (i.e,. not marketing-speak). Microsoft MVPs, data engineering enthusiasts, and others have already created hours of audio, video, and in-person presentation content. Use the Azure Data Community site here to find your local user group and virtual user groups. They are great ways to learn about Fabric and anything else in the Microsoft data ecosystem.

The Year That Was That Wasn’t

The Year That Was That Wasn’t

Trigger warning: suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety

In the spring of 2019 I was inches and seconds away from jumping off a bridge in New York City. In fact, were it not for Jason Isbell’s “Hope the High Road” playing in my earbuds at a very fortuitous moment, there is a very good chance you would not be reading this post. This is not where the story begins (or ends) but it sets important context for the rest of this post.

“But wherever you are I hope the high road leads you home again…”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, “Hope the High Road”

There are many negative things about the blurring of the work/life boundary for people that work in technology. That blurring had been building for a while but COVID accelerated it (due to a massive shift towards working at home) and brought with it a mountain of additional stressors as well. If there is one semi-positive thing from all of this, it’s that so many in our industry have been much more open about the mental health struggles they are experiencing. It is in that spirit that I share my experiences in this post.

By most outside measures, I have nothing to be unhappy about. I’ve co-authored two books in the last two years, I’ve been awarded a Microsoft MVP designation five years running, my health is reasonably good, and I occasionally get to drive race cars and live out a childhood dream. I’ve been fortunate to have good jobs I liked with teams I liked and, when those became detrimental to my health due to their pace and hours, I’ve been fortunate to find new jobs (with no interruption) that were better suited to my career goals and personal health yet were still at great companies with people I liked. Despite that, my mental health has been a significant struggle for years. I never made time for understanding or treating it and, as a result, that struggle has grown more intense in the last three years since that night on that bridge.

I started taking meaningful steps to address those struggles in the middle of 2021 by looking for a therapist via my insurance company’s provider portal. This launched a frustrating series of phone calls to offices that didn’t exist, were no longer on that insurance plan, or no longer employed that provider. I eventually found one provider who would take my insurance and was reasonably close to my house but, in those few visits, I learned that not only did he not keep good notes on my situation and the things I was telling him but he was accidentally telling me things about other patients because he thought I was them. The office was dreadfully disorganized. I stopped seeing him but they certainly did not stop sending the bills for the visits. I was back at square one.

That time back at square one was marked by increased depression and continuing (and increasing) anxiety attacks that made it a struggle to even convince myself to get out of bed some days. During many of those I couldn’t summon the strength or calm needed to drive a car (and those with even a cursory knowledge of me publicly know how much I love driving cars) or do basic tasks around the house. I could often successfully suppress this to perform at work (turns out even my topsy-turvy brain thinks getting fired is a pretty bad idea) but had stretches of days where I accomplished nothing outside of my professional obligations because I simply couldn’t will myself to do anything else.

I restarted therapy in late 2021 with a local friend that I have known for years in other contexts. She takes a more holistic approach to identifying triggers, conditioning, and deep-seated beliefs that may manifest in things like depression, anxiety, and other issues. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made and I encourage all my readers to pursue the types of treatments that they feel best suit them, holistic or otherwise, if you are experiencing issues similar to mine. Don’t give up if your initial attempts prove fruitless and frustrating.

I also took to heart Eugene Meidinger’s (b | t) wonderful “How I Deal with Depression” presentation from SQLBits 2022. Among many helpful bits of advice was a discussion of how he uses the app Daylio as a bit of a daily mood tracker that provides data to analyze over the months and years. I haven’t missed a day since downloading it after SQLBits and it’s proved valuable and complementary to the work I’ve been doing with my therapist.

You may be reaching the end of this post and wondering what the title, “The Year That Was That Wasn’t”, means. When I look around parts of my house, it looks like I’m stuck in a time warp. There are projects and gadgets and things that haven’t moved all year because I’ve been struggling with my mental health and taking care of myself. Despite some wonderful professional and personal moments in the last year, in many ways it feels like I’ve done nothing and I’m surrounded by the casualties of my chaotic mind.

But, as my therapist says, I am “still showing up for myself”. I am still here. You’re still here too. That’s not nothing. If you’re reading this and experiencing nothing like what I’ve described, I’m grateful for that. Hopefully you can use this post as motivation to check in on your friends, even the ones who “seem fine”. If you’re reading this and it is resonating with you, feel free to reach out to me and connect. I wish you peace and strength and whatever you need to make each day a little better than the last.

With that, I’m closing the book on 2022 with a renewed commitment to help myself and help others in 2023. Thanks for reading – maybe this year will be better than the last.

Shaking Hands and Broken Demos – My First Presentation

Shaking Hands and Broken Demos – My First Presentation

When I got into consulting in late 2015 I was fortunate to have Brad Ball (@sqlballs on Twitter) as my first manager. At the time, our company required their consultants to do at least one presentation (webinar or in-person) per quarter to get the company’s name (and the consultant’s name) out there to help drive business. While I was thrilled to get into consulting, I was terrified to begin public speaking. I stuttered when I was younger (and sometimes as an adult) and that had led me to avoid any remote possibility of having to speak to a room full of people. While I now give a session about that part of my journey, the speaking requirement was terrifying to me at that point in time. Were it not for Brad’s kind and patient guidance as I put together that first session I likely would never have gone through with it and gone to find a different job. I am so glad I did not.

When that first presentation (on Always On Availability Groups in SQL Server) was completed and delivered via company webinar, it then came time to find in-person opportunities to deliver the session. The Louisville, KY user group was a natural first option as I live about an hour east in Lexington. At the time, if memory serves, the user group was run by Chris Yates (@yatessql on Twitter) and John Morehouse (@sqlrus on Twitter). If memory doesn’t serve and I’m wrong about that, it is because of the abject terror I was experiencing as presentation day crept closer! What I’m definitely not wrong about is what Chris and John have given back to the community and, ultimately, how helpful they were to me on presentation day and ever since.

If you are not familiar with Always On Availability Groups, it’s fair to say that demoing them from a laptop is quite complicated. There is a Windows cluster involved, some intricate networking, and a few VMs running SQL Server. In addition, there were some resources that needed to be spun up in a very particular order. I had practiced my demos over and over again and they were working flawlessly. I was still terrified but knew at least the demos would be sound even if I bungled my presentation. I pointed the car west to Louisville and started on my way.

During my presentation, I think I may have broken every rule of public speaking. My hands were shaking so, except for a bit of typing, I gripped the sides of the podium so tightly I’m surprised I didn’t tear them off. I’m pretty sure I looked down at my computer or back at the screen (or both) to see my slides. I don’t think I read them verbatim but my memory of that is blurry to say the least. I knew I could rely on the soundness of my demos but, with all my nerves, I hadn’t spun up the various VMs in the correct order, which broke one of the network links, which broke all my demos. I figured out what I did on the ride home – but that was far too late.

I tell this story to say this to new speakers – I messed up in almost every conceivable way. I broke a lot of “the rules” of public speaking and technical speaking. Were it not for kind people encouraging me and pointing out that people still learned about a topic they didn’t know much about, my speaking career may have ended there. But there are many of us who owe a debt of gratitude to people like Brad, Chris, and John (and so many others in our community). We’re here to help, we’re here to encourage, and we’re walking proof of how getting involved in the data platform community can change your career arc and your life. If you’re interested in speaking, an event like New Stars of Data (run by the incomparable Ben Weissman and William Durkin) is the perfect way to start speaking. If you’re nervous – it’s ok! So many of us are here to help. Happy holidays, readers, and take care of yourself.

People Aren’t Highly Available

People Aren’t Highly Available

I had a great opportunity to present two sessions at #SQLSatJax (SQL Saturday Jacksonville for those who don’t hashtag) on Saturday, May 14. Both of my sessions talked about high availability as it relates to both on-premises SQL Server and all varieties of Azure SQL. Jeff Taylor (t) and his team did a fantastic job and it was wonderful to be at an event with so many familiar faces but, even better, many new ones! I enjoyed both of my sessions, received some complimentary and constructive feedback, and learned things from the hallway/outdoor courtyard conversations as well.

In fact, it is conversations like those at past events that led me to put a slight twist in at the end of both of my sessions. Make no mistake, both of these sessions (“HA/DR Fails and Fun: I Broke It So You Don’t Have To” and “This Is Fine: Firefighting for the DBA”) are technical. Topics covered run the gamut from Always On Availability Groups to replication, from fault domains in Azure to other gaps in the cloud’s “magic” and how to fill those to keep your data and applications highly available. We delved into‘s cloud migration journey and how making the decision to migrate to the cloud (as we have) can play into the evolving high availability and disaster recovery needs of an organization.

The twist I added, though, was some slides and discussion at the end of each session about the mental toll that being on-call and responsible for highly available environments can take on the individuals and teams involved in supporting them. I speak from personal experience here. I have triggered personal medical issues because of this. I have left jobs because of this. I have made mistakes that could have cost a company money had our customer decided to punish us (thankfully, they did not).

As I was preparing these sessions in late 2021, it occurred to me that, in all of the Azure SQL/SQL Server high availability sessions I have presented over the years, it never occurred to me to counsel people about the personal toll that it can take. I am glad I started doing this in Jacksonville and look forward to presenting these sessions at other events. They triggered some wonderful post-session discussions about ways to deal with the stress of positions like this and I look forward to having those in-person and virtually as the year goes on.

I write this sitting at the airport waiting to leave on a much-needed vacation. I’m grateful to work at an organization like with leaders in technology who understand that people need to rest and recharge and I look forward to doing just that. If you find that your current role (and the technical leadership there) isn’t prioritizing your wellbeing, my DMs are open @sqlatspeed or you can email me at I’m happy to chat about some tips and tricks that have helped me through the years or make connections via #sqlfamily to help find you a new opportunity. Be well – remember that you are not highly available even if you think you are.

T-SQL Tuesday 148: Just Keep Swimming

T-SQL Tuesday 148: Just Keep Swimming

Thanks to Rie Merritt (b | t) for the idea behind this edition of T-SQL Tuesday. The official title is “Advice on Running a User Group”. I do lead the Lexington (Kentucky, USA) Data Technology Group (t) so, in theory, I have some advice to offer on how to run a user group that will be coming up on its fifth anniversary this fall, right?

The truth is that I don’t have any tips that are guaranteed to get you more attendees, more and better sponsors, or a fantastic blend of local and well-known speakers. All those things are good and, based on the posts from earlier today (I’m getting this in just under the gun), there are many people with excellent tips and tricks to offer in these areas. Please be sure to read all of the posts this month to learn all the useful information being shared by fellow members of #sqlfamily.

My advice is simple and I have the one and only Bob Ward (t) to thank for this bit of advice, although he is likely only realizing this if/when he finds out about this post. I do not recall the specific SQL Saturday (it may have been Atlanta or Dallas?) but I was in the speaker room with a few folks talking about the schedule that day. We were all lightly joking about who would and wouldn’t have people in their session because some of us were up against “SQL famous” people. Bob overheard us and said, in a friendly way, something along the lines of “if you’ve helped one person today, you’ve done a good thing”. That may not be an exact quote given that I can’t remember the specific event, but that was the gist and it has stuck with me.

When COVID-19 impacted the world it threw many, many things into disarray. Many people lost family, we lost #sqlfamily (bless you @GarethSwan, for the impact you had on me and so many others), and the rhythm of data community events that we had come to know vanished. Organizers, speakers, and volunteers lost some or all motivation to assist with events, user groups, conferences, etc. This hit me hard and affected many others as well. Much appreciation to all who shared those struggles publicly.

But, through all of this, those somewhat off-handed words that Bob offered in that speaker room in days gone by have continually popped up in my brain. If you’ve seen me helping out, it’s because of those words. If you see me at SQLBits this week, it’s largely because of those words (and somewhat because my wife thought I should leave the house sometimes!). As a wise fish in a movie once said, just keep swimming. Keep doing good. Keep helping people. Whatever your role in a user group is, do it as well as you can. If you’ve helped one person, you’ve done a good thing. It’s good advice for your day, your life, and your interactions with #sqlfamily. Thanks to each of you for everything you do and feel free to reach out if you’d like to chat. Thanks for reading.

Data Platform Discovery Day Is Back!

Data Platform Discovery Day Is Back!

We are very happy to announce that Data Platform Discovery Day is back! We were pleased to receive a lot of positive feedback about the first edition in late April 2020 and are thrilled to be able to present its second edition on September 21, 2021.

Based on the feedback from our first edition, we have made some changes that we are excited to share. First, we will have a single day event with six 45-minute sessions spread across US and EU timezones. We are calling these “anchor” sessions as we’d like them to be on key data platform topics for people early in their data journey. We are also hoping that these sessions may help guide the panel discussions that follow.

That’s right, we have added six panel discussions to this year’s event! At both in-person and virtual events it’s likely not a coincidence that some of the highest rated sessions feedback-wise are panel discussions. They’re more free-flowing, often more welcoming to questions, and present the opportunity to hear from diverse perspectives as well.

With this second edition of Data Platform Discovery Day, we want to not only welcome and encourage people on their data career journey but we also want to present them the opportunity to hear diverse perspectives on a variety of topics. Panel discussions also give people the opportunity to speak when they’re perhaps not comfortable with the prospect of being the sole focus of attention as a presenter for an hour. We want to hear from them as well!

Does this sound like a great event to attend? Head over to and register!

Would you like to submit a session to be one of our six “anchor sessions”? The Call for Speakers is accessible here:

Finally, would you like to volunteer to be on one of our six panel discussions? Check out the panel descriptions here (DPDD 2021 panel descriptions) and, if you see one or more in which you’d like to participate, go to the Call for Speakers page, submit a “session” using the name of the panel you’d like to be a part of, and use the abstract field to tell us why you’d love to share your perspective on that topic with the community.

We can’t wait! Hope to see you there is some form or fashion and, most importantly, please spread the word to friends and colleagues early in their career journey.

Migrating SQL Server to the Cloud: Start Slowly

Migrating SQL Server to the Cloud: Start Slowly

Contrary to popular opinion, migrating your SQL Server data to the cloud does not begin when the weather turns colder and your servers take off and fly south for the winter. (Apologies – that will be the first and hopefully last lame joke in this blog!) This migration journey truly starts when the decision is made to migrate your data. As data professionals, we should be a part of that decision but, if we’re not, it is incumbent on us to understand the factors that went into that decision so we best position the migration project for success.

My intention is for this blog series to walk you through every step of the migration process, from the initial decision all the way to validating the success of the migration. I’m also hoping that by publishing the first one I’m publicly committing myself to the entire series – check back in a few months to see if that turned out to be correct or not!

Given my experience as a consultant, there seem to be three main motivating factors for executives/managers to commit to migrating SQL Server data to the cloud: 1) Perceived cost savings, 2) reducing CapEx by shutting datacenters, and 3) wanting to hop on a current trend. It is critical for the data professionals who will be involved in the move to understand which of those factors drove the decision because it may change our goals for the migration and the design decisions that drive us towards those goals. Before we get into the tech and the tools of the migration process, we need to understand the politics that brought us to this point.

We will examine each of these three motivating factors in depth in future blogs, but for the today’s initial installment of this series I’ll leave you with straightforward (and hopefully simple) advice. Resist the urge to dive directly into the tech and tools of the migration at the very start. Start slowly (it’s counter-intuitive, I know). Ask questions about the decision-making process, listen to the answers thoughtfully, and record some goals for the project. Review those goals throughout the project to ensure that the technical decisions you are making are driving you towards those goals.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave comments below or contact me via Twitter (@sqlatspeed) or LinkedIn if you have questions or want to chat about this post in more depth. Have a great day!

Why I Am Running for PASS Board

Simply put, becoming involved in PASS events and the broader organization itself has changed my personal and professional life for the better in a massive way. I want this organization, and the community it represents, to be around for many years so it can provide to others the same opportunities that it provided to me. This year and this pandemic have presented massive, but not insurmountable, challenges to this organization and its future. I want to be a part of channeling everyone’s clear passion for the this community into clear-eyed and clearly communicated decisions that will put PASS on a firm footing for years to come. Connecting, sharing, and learning has never been more important. Let us do what we can to ensure that PASS is here to serve the community for years to come.

If you’ve arrived here from my campaign website on, you’ll likely recognize that as my campaign platform statement. I’d like to expound on that, my background in this organization, and a bit more.

Before becoming aware of PASS Summit sometime in 2012, and attending my first Summit in 2013, I thought my life was a DBA would be an endless search of Google and Bing searches in pursuit of a solution for whatever our latest fire alarm issue was about. I didn’t know that there was a community out there to help, and I was intensely shy by nature, so that lack of awareness on my part was infinitely more comfortable for me. That said, we had encountered some difficult issues in our Always On Availability Group implementations and I read a blog mentioning the Microsoft Clinic at PASS Summit 2013. I told my boss that I needed to be there to discuss our list of issues with the engineers and, thankfully, he approved me for the trip. Not only were our issues resolved in the clinic, but my eyes were opened to an entire community of data professionals from different parts of the data platform world and different parts of the real world as well. My first Summit experience honestly blew my mind even though I stuck with the experienced introvert plan of never talking to anybody other than the folks at the clinic and never sharing a table with anybody at every meal. My curiosity had definitely been piqued.

From there, contacts I made at the next PASS Summit (where I actually talked to some people) led me to make some additional contacts at a SQL Saturday that led to me getting a job in consulting. My consulting job mandated that I present a webinar or a live session once a quarter to maintain visibility of the company and myself. Despite my occasional stutter and intense fear of public speaking, I started building sessions to present at virtual and in-person events. As those sessions improved in cohesion and quality, doors were opened to speak at events of many different sizes in different regions of the country and, eventually, all over the world. I was also awarded as a Microsoft Data Platform MVP in 2018 – something not even in the realm of possibility for me when I first became involved in PASS.

I owe nearly all of my professional success, my friendships around the world, and my ability to help mentor and elevate others in this community to PASS and its members. I want it to survive and thrive and I want to be part of the solution so we can, collectively, elevate so many others. Thank you for reading and, if offered, I appreciate your support and vote in the PASS Board elections.

Data Platform Discovery Day – How To Help

Data Platform Discovery Day – How To Help

Stuart Moore (@napalmgram on Twitter) and I are proud to announce the first edition of Data Platform Discovery Day, happening for US-based timezones on April 29 and European timezones on April 30. What is it, you are likely asking?

Data Platform Discovery Day is a one-day virtual conference intended for folks looking to make a career change or data platform beginners wishing to expand their skill sets into areas beyond the one in which they work currently. It is a grassroots, community-driven day where well-regarded speakers will be presenting introductory, 100-level sessions on topics across the Microsoft Data Platform. Whether your interest lies in database performance, data visualization, or data development we intend to have material across the spectrum that helps you expand your burgeoning skill sets or introduces you to your new career in data for the first time.

We’re currently looking for speakers for the US and EU events so please visit the main link at We’re also looking for a few session moderators as well – feel free to reach out to Stuart or myself (@sqlatspeed) directly if you’d like to help with that.

Above all, stay home, stay safe, and we’ll speak to you virtually at the end of the month.

Gift Received: The Bravery of Vulnerability (T-SQL Tuesday #121)

Gift Received: The Bravery of Vulnerability (T-SQL Tuesday #121)

Thanks to Mala Mahadevan (b | t) for this wonderful T-SQL Tuesday topic for December: Gifts Received For This Year. While I started a new job this year (as an Architect for Insight Digital Innovation) that I am very thankful for and is a direct result of community involvement, that’s not the 2019 gift that I wish to commemorate. That said, it’s awesome to read the volume of posts from people whose professional lives progressed this year!

My post for this T-SQL Tuesday, the 121st edition, will be simple and to the point. The biggest gift that I’ve received this year is the emotional, personal bravery that’s been on display in our community this year. That’s certainly not new to 2019 but it’s been especially meaningful to me during this year. There are a number of stereotypical descriptions about data professional and data-curious folks but, in a year where I’ve struggled with some personal issues, it’s been absolutely inspiring to see how some prominent people within the Microsoft data platform community have put themselves out there publicly.


Whether it’s a blog delving into personal issues, or a tweet displaying some vulnerability, or professional development sessions at community events that are deeply personal, I feel incredibly fortunate to have a small part in a community with people willing to speak openly about the personal issues that may (or may not) affect their professional lives. When you are fairly reserved, as I am, seeing other people call attention to issues that you are also dealing with is a greater gift than a free book, t-shirt, or some new bit of technical knowledge.

On this note, I want to call special attention to two sessions at SQL Saturday Charlotte (which happened this past Saturday, December 7, 2019) that helped a lot of people. Tracy Boggiano (b | t) spoke about “Mental Illness in Tech” and how it may be more common than you think and Donna Ellis Wilson (t) spoke about how “Failure Needs To Be An Option” and the lessons you can learn from it. These sessions helped some people who will tweet, blog, etc. about how it helped them but, more importantly, it helped other people who will never acknowledge how much these sessions met them where they were at and helped them through issues in their own life.

For 2019, I am thankful for Donna, Tracy, and many others who take the time to sympathize, empathize, and speak to fellow members of our community about their own struggles. The bravery of vulnerability is not an easy thing to execute and/or embrace, but the folks in our community that are doing it are an asset to us all. If you’re celebrating a holiday during this season, I hope you find it restful and relaxing. Cheers!