August 19, 2015 — Go inside PASS Summit 2015 session in this Q&A series with our presenters. In this interview, Reza Rad takes us inside his general session, “SSIS vs. Azure Data Factory”.

Q: Who is your favorite super-hero, and which SQL Server or BI super-power do you hope your session will give attendees?

Reza: I am a fan of Batman, especially the incarnation of Bruce Wayne in the newest movie series. Batman is not superhuman; he is mortal, but he has the willingness and substantial willpower to make things right. My favourite character in these Batman movies is Lucius Fox, who provides tools, such as the Batmobile, that Batman can leverage in his missions.

In my session, I will play role of Fox: I’ll explain great tools for data transformation—Azure Data Factory for cloud and SSIS for on-premises—so the audience can use these tools in their missions. The super-power that audience will gain after my session is knowing when and where to use which tool or service.

Q: What’s your origin story? How did you become interested in working with data, and how did you take that initial interest to the expert level?

Reza: I was an intern in a software consulting company in 1999. Those days helped me become familiar with the database world, especially SQL Server 6.5. I soon understood that I enjoyed working with data, building data models, writing queries, and all the cool stuff about data.

I got much of my learning as a self-learner through books, websites, and forums. I also was interested in sharing whatever I learned by posting answers in forums. This helped me to become more expert in data-related fields. In about 2009, I started my blog with technical articles about SSIS, T-SQL, and other data aspects. Now, I speak around the world and write books on SQL Server, Azure, Power BI, and the data analysis field.

Q: What’s your favorite data solution’s secret power—the biggest strength that most people don’t really know about or use to full advantage?

Reza: I am a big fan of data transformation and consolidation. I’ve spent many years working with data-transformation tools, from T-SQL code to great tools such as SSIS, Azure Data Factory, and Power Query. I believe that there are many secrets and hidden powers in these tools that can help developers and data professionals. I spend a lot of time sharing my experience and knowledge in these fields so others can benefit from it.

Q: What about data’s biggest kryptonite or nemesis--the biggest mistake you see data professionals make?

Reza: High tech is great, but it is not the whole story. Creating a fancy chart is not BI; there are many aspects and components. Many BI professionals overlook the backend of data. To have a great BI solution (and any data-related solution), you need to design and implement the backend carefully. The backend can be your database design, performance tuning, SSIS package tuning, data-transfer principals, and so on.

Q: What still excites you or trips you up in the real world when working with SQL Server or BI?

Reza: The world of technology never stops! I like this. There are always new features, new components. There are always new methods of doing things more easily with better performance and more reliable solutions. In this fast-paced career, I enjoy working with best practices of existing tools and services as well as experiencing new features and components.

Q: What do you see as the next step after attending your session?

Reza: I believe that after my session, the audience will have a clear understanding of the similarities and differences between Azure Data Factory and SSIS. They will understand when and where to use which tool and service. I recommend that attendees use these technologies in their real-world solutions to truly understand their awesome power.

Check out our other Q&As with PASS Summit 2015 speakers.