The official PASS Blog is where you’ll find the latest blog posts from PASS community members and the PASS Board. Contributors share their thoughts and discuss a wide variety of topics spanning PASS and the data community.

Azure Databricks from PyCharm IDE

Azure Databricks is a powerful platform for data pipelines using Apache Spark.  It provides the power of Spark’s distributed data processing capabilities with many features that make deploying and maintaining a cluster easier, including integration to other Azure components such as Azure Data Lake Storage and Azure SQL Database.  If you have tried out tutorials for Databricks you likely created a notebook, pasted some Spark code from the example, and the example ran across a Spark cluster as if it were magic.  Notebooks are useful for many things and Azure Databricks even lets you schedule them as jobs.  But, when developing a large project with a team of people that will go through many versions, many developers will prefer to use PyCharm or another IDE (Integrated Development Environment).  Getting to a streamlined process of developing in PyCharm and submitting the code to a Spark cluster for testing can be a challenge and I have been searching for better options for years.

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Is DataOps More Than Just DevOps?

I’ve been drawn in by hype before, but the experience has me casting a critical eye every time there’s a new trendy buzzword going around. DataOps had that effect on me, I raised eyebrow and laughed when I first heard it at the start of 2018. It started appearing on hype lists later in the year. For me, the easy portmanteau of “Data” and “DevOps” (already a conjunction of Development and Operations) was unnecessary. Surely, whether it applies to data, web dev, app dev or any other kind of coding, the idea of DevOps applies the same.

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The NomCom: Helping Guide the Direction of PASS

The PASS election cycle is fast approaching as we head towards PASS Summit, but before we get there we need to have the Nominations Committee (NomCom) in place. The role of the NomCom is to identify suitable candidates for the PASS Board of Directors election, ensuring they meet the criteria set out in the Ideal Candidate Description. The NomCom itself is made up of PASS community members who review applications and interview the potential candidates ahead of the final slate being sent to the Board of Directors for approval.

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Microsoft and The PASS Board

PASS and Microsoft have enjoyed a strong relationship dating back to PASS’ founding in 1999.

As founding members on the Board, our Microsoft counterparts have not only shared insights into the direction of the Microsoft data platform and the data industry with our organization, but they have also connected us into wider networks which have helped us to grow our community and stay ahead of emerging trends.

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Introducing Always Encrypted with Secure Enclaves in SQL Server 2019

There are several encryption features that have been around in SQL Server for a long time. For starters, column-level encryption has been available since SQL Server 2005. This type of encryption uses either certificates or symmetric keys such that, without the required certificate or key,...

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June Board Meeting Recap

The June PASS Board meeting took place over June 18 and 19 at PASS HQ in Vancouver, BC. As the last in-person Board meeting in FY 2019 with the current Board, we had a back-to-back agenda to cover.

First up was the PASS Bylaws vote. I’d like to once again thank all of our community members who took the time to review the Bylaws, ask questions, and attend the Town Hall sessions. Your feedback helped us refine the final details of the Bylaws, which will ensure even greater representation, diversity, and expertise on our Board. After a unanimous Executive Committee vote, the Bylaws were approved and are now in affect. In line with these newly approved PASS Bylaws, John Martin was also voted in as chair of the 2019 NomCom.

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The Data platform has evolved - so too must the DBA.

Data has never been more important to organizations, and no individual has a better understanding of how to manage and ultimately harvest that data than the DBA. However, with the evolution of the Data Platform to be more self-autonomous, DBAs will be under increased pressure to prove their value.

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A Peek Inside the Program Selection Process

As one of the program managers for PASS Summit, I always wish that people knew more about all of the steps involved in selecting the community sessions each year. The difficulty of balancing all of the tradeoffs and constraints is an incredibly challenging and rewarding task. I personally like to think of it as a high stakes game of Sudoku, and in fact I will be using that analogy to help explain the process.

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Data Modernization Tour Highlights

With the Data Modernization Tour well underway, we wanted to share some of the community feedback, highlights, and photos we’ve been receiving from attendees around the world. Be sure to share your own experiences and connect with others on social media using #modernmigration and stay...

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Conquering the Chaos with Data Governance for Power BI

Many years before Power BI, there was Power Pivot. (Bonus points for you if you remember that back then that it was known as PowerPivot.) I remember attending a Birds of a Feather session at Microsoft TechEd to discuss the implications of Power Pivot with a group of data professionals. There was...

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