Tallan Blog

Tallan’s Experts Share Their Knowledge on Technology, Trends and Solutions to Business Challenges

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Moving On From SQL Server Analysis Services Multidimensional – Part 1

Background
SQL Server Analysis Services Multidimensional (SSASm) was first offered in 2000, and soon became the dominant cube server product on the market.  It got a ground-up rewrite in 2005 and further enhancement in 2008 that greatly increased its capabilities, performance and proliferation.  SSASm uses the expression and query language MDX (multi-dimensional expressions), known for its power and steep learning curve.  SSASm grew into an amazingly powerful and widely-used product, the more impressive given it is bundled for free with a SQL Server license (sometimes you get more than you paid for).  Because of this bundling it is difficult to know how many production instances of SSASm are running, but even a small fraction of the number of SQL Server licenses would be significant.
In 2010, Microsoft introduced a new in-memory, columnar database technology named variously xVelocity and Vertipaq.  This new technology…

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How to Switch Between Angular Applications with Conflicting Node.js Requirements Like a Pro

The Problem
As web developers, it is not uncommon for us to switch back and forth across different code bases throughout our day. If you are working with applications whose front-end development processes depend on different versions of Node.js, your workflow can quickly grind to a halt. Let’s imagine you’re working on two Angular applications. Application 1 is production code that uses Angular 6 and has a custom build process that strictly depends on version 8.9 of Node.js. Application 2 is a greenfield project and uses Angular 9 which will work with the latest version of Node.js. 
In normal circumstances we could install the latest version of Node.js and that would be enough to allow us to develop against both applications. However, because of Application 1’s strict dependency on Node versions we have a troublesome situation. Are we really going to need to uninstall and reinstall different versions of Node.js every time we switch between environments? Are we going to…

Tallan is a 2020 Power BI Finalist for Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards

We are thrilled to share that we have been recognized as a finalist for the 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year Power BI Award. To be named by a panel of judges who reviewed over 3,300 entries, from over 100 countries this year is a testament to  our Data and Analytics Team’s work.
According to the official press release, “The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year. Tallan is recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in Power BI. The Power BI Partner of the Year Award recognizes a partner who has delivered a Business Analytics solution based on the Power BI cloud service.”
Tallan’s CEO, Craig Branning, notes, “We are proud to be acknowledged as a finalist for Power BI 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year. The…

Leonard Lobel | Pluralsight Author

Principal Tallan Consultant Leonard Lobel Shares Insight on Azure Cosmos DB Change Feed

Azure Cosmos DB is rapidly becoming a household name in data management among developers, though its change feed is still considered somewhat of an unsung facet to its operational capability. In this Microsoft Blog post, Tallan Principal Consultant Leonard Lobel discusses multiple scenarios that call upon the need for a change feed as they relate to varying documents in a container. These scenarios include:

Replicating containers for multiple partition keys
Denormalizing a document data model across containers
Triggering API calls for an event-driven architecture
Real time stream processing and materialized view patterns
Moving or archiving data to secondary data stores

Click here to read the full post, or learn more about Leonard’s Plurasight course offerings here.

Leonard Lobel (Microsoft MVP, SQL Server) is the chief technology officer and co-founder of Sleek Technologies, Inc., a New York-based development shop with an early adopter philosophy toward new technologies. He is also a principal consultant at Tallan, Inc.,…

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Cloud Development with Microservices in Azure

Cloud development sometimes winds up looking a lot like traditional application development and hosting. Developers can create large, monolithic, web applications and deploy them to a virtual machine or app service. In that sense, transitioning to Azure can be simple for most developers. However, to make best use of Azure, developers need to start thinking differently. Developers need to start thinking about their software architecture in terms of microservices.
What are microservices?
Microservices are a software architecture style in which applications are composed of small, independent modules that communicate with each other using well-defined API contracts. These service modules are highly decoupled building blocks that serve a small single purpose function. The benefit of microservices architecture is that it makes development and scaling of applications easier. A microservices architecture also makes collaboration between autonomous teams easier and can enable them to bring…

Defining and Understanding the Power BI Administrator Role

The first step to becoming a Power BI Administrator is understanding the roles, as well as the different types. Generally, an administrator is someone who empowers their organization.  A Power BI administrator should play a role where they support the business users while enforcing rules.
Before jumping into explicit admin functions and types, it’s good to take a step back and understand the type of admin you want to be. This is most commonly shaped by your organization’s adoption of Power BI. In a self-service adoption, an admin may monitor Power BI usage and performance, establish polices and guidelines to help users take the correct action, and ultimately facilitate a culture within an organization that views data as a competitive asset. For Enterprise adoption, administrators are responsible for safe and efficient operation of a Power BI environment. They limit what users…

Power BI Users, Guest Accounts and Licensing (Establishing a Power BI Environment)

A Power BI environment is established through the Office 365 admin center. The environment consists of Office 365, Azure Active Directory, and of course, Power BI. Azure AD is the backbone of the environment setup, as user creation, and license assignment all leverage AD functionality.

When setting up your Power BI environment, it is important to understand what data store in Azure the environment will exist. This is not done within Power BI directly, but based on your Office 365 country or Azure AD data center. Note, it is important to think about other Azure resources Power BI may utilize. To prevent things like latency and Azure Egress charges, your environment should reside in the same or nearby Azure region as the related services. You can check your Power BI data store from the Power BI Service at any time.
Power BI…

Accessing SQL Server with Managed Identities

Every developer knows that keeping credentials in code is a terrible idea, however, they some still have that moment of weakness, typically followed by, “It’ll just be temporary.” The simple fact is that storing credentials in a inconspicuous configuration file during development is just the easy way out. This is why Microsoft developed Managed Identities for Azure resource. Managed Identities used to securely gain access to an Azure KeyVault is a easy and safe way to store and access secrets for your application.
A common tactic then is to migrate all the sensitive connection strings into the KeyVault and simply pulling those down for the application to use to connect to a SQL server. However, authenticating to an Azure resource to retrieve the credentials to connect and authenticate with another Azure resource seems a bit redundent. Why not just skip the…

Power BI Updates and Streamed Sessions from Microsoft Business Applications Summit 2020

When Gartner named Microsoft’s Power BI as the leader in their 2020 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms again this February, we knew that we had to refresh our focus on the tool. All lines of business can benefit from its features, from software developers to business analysts, to executives. We typically host educational events focused on Power BI in-person, and when COVID-19 struck, we had to figure out how to continue that education virtually. Throughout April and May, we’ve delivered five weeks of workshops to continue teaching about this platform, and engagement hasn’t dropped since our events had to go virtual. That alone speaks to the reputation Power BI has built.
Microsoft does a tremendous job of promoting Power BI as well. Not only do they release new features and updates every month, but they’re promoted in thorough blog posts in addition…

Classify Your Wardrobe Using Azure Custom Vision

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a technology that is used in our daily lives, but understanding how machine learning works is a completely different story. Typically, machine learning has been developed by people who are experts in the AI field and have access to high computing power. Microsoft has removed these barriers by providing Azure Cognitive Services. These services are available to anyone with an Azure cloud subscription and make it easy for developers to add AI features into their own applications. Today, I will be discussing Microsoft’s easy-to-use image classifier service Custom Vision.
I first came across Custom Vision while developing an application to generate fashionable outfits. The idea was to be able to upload an image of an outfit, (found on Pinterest or a fashion blog) and then have the application find similar items at a handful of websites…

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