Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Dynamics 365 Tech Conference 2017

I was very excited when I received an e-mail from my employer a few weeks ago which stated I am one of the 5 people that have the chance to go to the Dynamics 365 Tech Conference 2017! I immediately checked my agenda and I would be home just in time for my wife’s birthday, so that’s a go! The location will be the same as last year: Seattle. The conference will be held from March 12-15 and I will be going with 4 other colleagues from Pulse and 3 from AXtension.

nickyvv.com - Dynamics 365 Tech Conference 2017

There will be a business consultant, two functional consultants and a developer joining me, so we’ll make up a nice mixed group. We will have a short tuning session before we leave to make sure we aren’t all in the same rooms together to make the most of the sessions.
I am particularly interested in the Reporting and Analytics track about different reporting tools and Power BI, but also in the Entity Store, Continuous Delivery and the Common Data Model (or Common Data Service) in general.

In the next months I hope I find the time to blog some more about the upcoming conference, I will definitely record my findings during and after the conference!

The flights have been booked and the ESTA application process has been completed. I just hope there will not be any more restrictions like the recent ones the @POTUS declared. We will arrive on the Saturday prior to the event so we’ll have a little spare time left to discover Seattle. I heard the Boeing Museum and the Space Needle are good for a visit. If you have any other recommendations please let me know.
If you’re also going, do let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@NickyvV), I hope to see you there!

Friday, December 30, 2016

My Favorite (SQL Server) Podcasts

I’ve been listening to podcasts for quite some time now, I think I started around two years ago. I used to listen to the radio while commuting, but I thought I could spend my time better by listening to podcasts.

I first started out with downloading SQL Server Radio on my laptop, put it in Dropbox, download it on my phone and play it on the radio in my car via Bluetooth. I knew this could be done better but didn’t have the need for right then. When I heard of .NET Rocks! and other SQL Server-related podcasts I knew I had to make a change to my overly complex process of listening to podcasts. That’s when I started using Podcast Addict for Android.

For an overview, the podcasts I listen to are:

.NET Rocks! by Carl Franklin (b | @carlfranklin) and Richard Campbell (@richcampbell)
.NET Rocks! is a weekly talk show for anyone interested in programming on the Microsoft .NET platform. The shows range from introductory information to hardcore geekiness.

This has got to be the longest running (SQL Server) podcast in the world.. It’s already at episode 1382 and started in 2002! The topics range from .NET (obviously) to Azure, mobile development to live Q&A sessions at conferences and JavaScript to coding with voice control. There’s something for everyone. So they’ve got a wide variety of topics and besides that the show is usually also a good laugh!
In addition to these topics, they also have these “Geek Outs” one in a while, with a wide variety of topics like DC Lighting, Arctic Ocean, Reusable Spacecraft and Supersonic Aircraft Geek Out.

Dear SQL DBA by Kendra Little (b | @Kendra_Little)
“Dear SQL DBA” is a free weekly podcast where I answer questions from (and about) SQL Server DBAs.

Kendra just delivered her 24th episode, she started out some 7 months ago, she has about 2-3 episodes a month ranging roughly from 15-30 minutes. An episode is centered around a question she gets from users. I only discovered this podcast a few weeks ago but I already like it very much because of the way she talks about the topic and explains things very clearly. There’s also a clear structure in every episode that makes it good to follow. If you’re not fan of podcasts you can also find the transcripts on her site, just read up on the questions listed on the site and pick the ones you’re interested in.
The topics range from How to Level Up Your DBA Career to Altering an INT Column to a BIGINT

Developer On Fire by Dave Rael (b | @raelyard)
Stories from inspiring people in and around software.

This podcast only started out in June 2015 with an introduction, but already has its 187th episode aired!
Dave started out with a good structure around his podcast: what does value mean to you, what are your greatest failure and success, a book recommendation (he keeps a whole list of all the recommendations) and 3 ways of delivering value.
He has a wide variety of topics and speakers like Troy Hunt, Jon Skeet and Linda Rising together with his daughter Kendall.

Hanselminutes by Scott Hanselmann (b | @shanselman)
Fresh Air for Developers

Currently at show #559, Scott delivers an episode once a week that normally is just over 30 minutes. Although the topics are not always to my interest, there’s something to learn every time, be it social skills, how to learn presenting or finding a tool for your todo-lists. His topics range from specific technologies (Hello Ruby, Web Animation Foundations), to teaching and learning and presenting.

no dogma podcast
by Bryan Hogan (b | @bryanjhogan)
discussions on software development

Bryan delivers 1 to 2 shows a month and started in June 2014. His topics range from DevOps to Project management and privacy. I’m not a big fan of the long music outro, but that’s just my opinion and I can easily skip that part. Nonetheless a descent podcast with good releases and quality content!

NOS op 3 Tech podcast (Dutch) by NOS (Dutch Broadcasting Foundation)
The NOS 3 Tech Podcast updates you each week about the latest news from the world of technology and social media. Every Thursday at 16:30 a new episode!

This podcast started in August of this year and has exactly 1 episode a week that takes around 30 minutes. It’s a really fun and light-weight podcast to listen to that has several changing experts around 3-4 subjects every week. The topics range from VR and Playstation Now, to going to Mars with Elon Musk and Silicon Valley and Trump.

Office Hours Podcast: SQL Server Pain Relief by (the team at) Brent Ozar Unlimited (b | @BrentOzarULTD)
Every Wednesday, we get together to answer your SQL Server questions. Every now and then, we also throw in special topical episodes where we present one of our training class sessions for free, too.

They started just over a year ago and have a webcast (almost) every Wednesday, where every episode takes around 30 minutes. They answer live questions while they are coming in, they have to be short though, otherwise they’ll send you to SO or SE. Almost every episode a question comes around where they refer to the post by Erland Sommarskog (b): Slow in the App, Fast in SSMS, which he recently revised for changes in SQL 2016. For me it’s a must-hear every week: fun, questions from the audience and packed with knowledge.

RunAs Radio by Richard Campbell (@richcampbell)
RunAs Radio is a weekly podcast for IT Professionals working with Microsoft products. Each 30-minute episode covers a specific topic in the field of IT from a Microsoft-centric viewpoint.

Launched in April 2007 it just had its 500th episode two months ago! This podcast smells knowledge and enthousiasm.
The topics range from SQL Q&A’s at SQLIntersection (2013, 2015, 2016) to Data Analytics with Jen Stirrup and The DevOps Handbook with Gene Kim.

Simple Programmer Podcast by John Sonmez (b | @jsonmez)
The Simple Programmer Podcast is a short podcast that is a mix of career advice, philosophy and soft skills.

Each episode is around 5-10 minutes long, except for interviews that usually last around 40 minutes and he has a strict release schedule of at least 3 episodes a week. As John says it, his topics range from career development, entrepreneurship, fitness, finance, productivity, personal development and more. Although 3 a week seems like a lot, they’re really short and good-to-listen-to podcasts, you can even skip the funny music and intro/ads if you like to take it down 2 minutes.
He even launched the 2016 Developer Podcast Award ending on the 31st of 2016, so if you still want to cast a vote you’d better hurry.

SQL Down Under by Greg Low (b | @greglow)
SQL Down Under is a podcast (audio show) for SQL Server professionals.

Greg started in 2005 and last month episode 70 was released, with each episode taking around 60 minutes. His release schedule is not that regular the last year, but he did release 2 episodes in the last 3 months. I hope he’s getting back to a more regular release because I really like his podcasts and he has some quite well known guests from the SQL Server world, ranging from Itzik Ben-Gan back in 2005, to Paul Randal in 2007, Jen Underwood in 2015 and Kasper De Jonge earlier this year on SSAS 2016. Up until 2014 Greg also kept the show transcripts up-to-date if you’re more into reading.

SQL Server Radio by Madeira Data Solutions (b | @Madeira_Data)
SQL Server Radio is a podcast (an internet radio show) for SQL Server DBAs, database developers, architects, system administrators, and anyone else who is interested in the SQL Server platform.

Guy Glantser (@guy_glantser) and Matan Yungman (@MatanYungman) started this podcast in August 2014 and release an episode every 2 weeks, which takes around 30-50 minutes. They also have a Hebrew edition which they started earlier. The podcast is always good and fun to listen to, sometimes they bring a guest, but usually it’s Guy and Matan talking SQL Server, conferences or recent blog posts or a mistake they made. Every now and then they have a quiz about a random term out the SQL Server Glossary, on which they have to tell an interesting(!) story. Usually it boils down to just a story.

voiceofthedba’s podcast by Steve Jones (b | @way0utwest)
A series of episodes that look at databases and the world from a data profesional’s viewpoint.

I believe this podcast started out in April 2014, though I can’t really find a website around it. These are really short (usually under 5 minutes) talks by Steve on very different topics. Although the quality seems a bit low to me, he usually got some nice views and points to consider.


I hope you found this list useful, if you have any additions, podcasts I should be listening to or remarks, please let me know via this blog or via Twitter!

Monday, November 21, 2016

SSAS Deployment Error: The Following System Error Occurred

Before I made the switch to Pulse I never had that many experience with Analysis Services cubes (neither Multidimensional nor Tabular). After making the switch from integration (with Microsoft BizTalk) I did start out with Power Pivot at ADA, on which I also wrote a few blog posts, about CALCULATE, which is The Queen of all DAX functions according to Marco and Alberto.  But for the other projects we did at ADA it just wasn't a direction we took, maybe also due to the lack of experience with SSAS.
The last months I got involved more in Multidimensional as well as Tabular and therefore also ran into other issues lately, the latest I will describe here.

During deployment of an SSAS multidimensional cube in Visual Studio I received a very descriptive error message saying (in Dutch): "The following system error occurred:". And that was it. No description of any kind. The output window of Visual Studio did mention some long error number, but that turned out to be not very useful (read: useless).
Also, when a key user wanted to change the rights of a cube he also received the same error. He was trying to give a specific person (UserA) rights to the Purchase role. Although UserA could be added perfectly fine to the Administrator role for example, adding UserA to this role would fail with this error.

Problem solving
As you can see in the screenshot of my Role Properties window below there is a SID showing instead of a user name, but in the Properties window of the key user the user name was correctly displayed. After seeing this SID I immediately thought of a user that was no longer valid/active in AD, but let's see what steps I took to come this far in the first place.

The first thing I tried was ignoring the error in VS and continue the deployment. That worked but I was unsure what gave me the error and if the deployment itself was properly done. I also noted that every cube gave this error in deployment, so it wasn't a cube-specific thing.
Then my colleague Ron pointed me to the possibility of deploying the .asdatabase-file, which is located in the bin directory of the solution.

This .asdatabase-file is like the ispac-file for SSIS, it's the output of the project when built in SSDT. You can either start the Analysis Services Deployment Wizard or double click the .asdatabase-file. The Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Deployment.exe that is used to start the wizard can be found in the following location, where 120 stands for my SQL version (2014).

After going through the first steps of the wizard brings me at the Options for Partitions and Roles:

The important part here is the bottom selection: "Retain roles and members". This means existing roles and role members in the destination database are retained and no new roles are deployed. After having selected this option the deployment succeeded without any errors.

TL;DR: The Solution

Delete the SID from the Role Properties. Also make sure to delete it, or check that it doesn't exist, from the roles Membership tab in Visual Studio.

After the cleanup I was able to add UserA to the Role again and also the deployment of the project in Visual Studio was flawless.