Donald Farmer on SQL Server 2008 R2, SharePoint and PowerPivot

June 14, 2010

If you’re following this blog, then you know that Sunday, May 30th 2010, I went to the SQL & BI Data Platform convention held in Tel Aviv. Specifically, I went to Mr. Donald Farmer‘s seminar on Data Integration in Large Organizations.
I did live blogging from most of the event, though actually, I didn’t manage to blog about the last part of it, because I was preparing for something that was pretty big for me….

I’ll start over. When I first heard Mr. Farmer was coming to lecture in Israel, I was like “What? Really? Like, Donald Farmer? Like THE Donald Farmer? Like, Donald Farmer who gave the Demo on PowerPivot? Like, that Donald Farmer? Like, he’s really coming??” but they specifically wrote on the advertisements “Donald Farmer, BI Guru from Microsoft” so I was only left with thinking “OMG!!!”.
I have to be frank with you – he could have been standing there reading the yellow pages and I still would have gone to see him. Though thankfully enough, that was not the case 馃檪

Mr. Farmer gave a great seminar on Data Integration in Large Organizations which spanned from talking about targeting BI to the different users in your organization, SSIS and Biztalk, and then focusing on SSIS – improvements in SSIS 2008 and tips for scalability and performance.
He was open to questions and discussions and was very helpful and insightful with his answers and remarks. Needless to say, he also knew the material inside out (and outside in).

In any case, from the moment I heard he was coming I decided I really wanted to get an interview with him for my blog. I decided to track him down! 馃檪
He agreed immediately and was very nice about it.
I spent the last two weeks prepping for the interview – preparing the questions, asking people in the office for their thoughts and remarks, going over them again, rehearsing with a video camera… I just wanted it to work on that first take.

I guess I’m telling you this mostly because I want you to understand why I look so nervous, excited and enthusiastic, and all in the same time. I think I relaxed (just slightly) towards the end of it all, but the first few minutes were definitely me looking at him thinking “I’m interviewing Donald Farmer”. I even told people in the office a day before, that I feel like I asked the prettiest girl in class to the prom and she said “yes”!

And now, you have the video:




(BTW – I would also like to say that if you’re reading this through the RSS feed, then I’m afraid to say you’ll have to connect to the post online, as I cannot embed the video to the RSS feed).

I hope you enjoyed the interview, because I really felt like those made interesting questions for me to learn about.
Specifically, I’ll elaborate on the second question where I quote Mr. Netz and Mr. Webb. I remember reading Chris Webb‘s remark regarding MDX and Cobol feeling quite taken aback. Apparently I wasn’t the only one – Frank Kearney felt the same way. From the comment Mr. Webb left on Mr. Kearney’s post, I had learned about what Amir Netz from Microsoft told Mr. Webb regarding DAX and MDX (and I do recommend reading the comments from Mr. Netz, as they make for very good insight on the future of BI in Microsoft).
Apart from that I would also say that in my research, I stumbled upon a somewhat less formal and very nice interview Mr. Farmer gave way back when, which I really enjoyed reading.

So Mr. Farmer, just in case you’re reading this – THANK YOU so much for your time and patience. It was such a treat to get to talk to you about all those things I was wondering about!
I would also like to thank my trusted cameraman and sound technician, who tried to help me relax throughout the whole time, my brother Adlai Maschiach. Adlai – thank you for being there to capture it all on film.
And last but not least I would also like to thank KidMos – video editor to the stars 馃槈 that helped me edit the video so I could upload it to YouTube and subsequently, this post.

And I hope you enjoyed the interview with Mr. Donald Farmer.

Update June 14th, 2010: I know I just posted this, but looking at the videos again I remembered reading another post on Mr. Chris Webb’s blog. The post is about Reporting Services in SQL Azure which Mr. Donald Farmer mentioned in the interview.

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  1. David Charron (Canada)June 15, 2010 讘 16:32

    Great interview! Thank you Ella 馃檪

  2. Miky SchreiberJune 15, 2010 讘 23:46

    Hey Ella,

    Interviewing Donald Farmer is a great idea!!!
    The interview was very good (eventhough you were excited) and I can see you thought a lot about the question you asked him.

    It’s time to learn SharePoint… 馃檪


  3. 诪讗讬专 讚讜讚讗讬June 17, 2010 讘 0:22

    诪注讜诇讛! 讻诇 讛讻讘讜讚.
    驻专住诪转讬 讙诐 讘讗转专

    住驻专讬 – 讗讬讱 讚讜谞诇讚 讘转讜专 讗讬砖讬讜转?

  4. Hennie de NJune 20, 2010 讘 13:26

    Great interview.

    I hear something about the “verdipack”? i misheard that. Could you explain further?

  5. Ella MaschiachJune 20, 2010 讘 17:39

    Hi everyone!

    Sorry if it took me some time to get back at everyone, but I was sick at home鈥

    Miky 鈥 yeah, I got the message loud and clear and the message is definitely SharePoint!

    Meir 鈥 thank you for your support! Mr. Farmer is super nice and patient. He was a real good sport about it all and I really appreciate the fact he was so generous with his time and the fact he also tried to calm me down before the interview鈥

    Geri 鈥 no, thank you! 馃檪

    Pedro 鈥 thanks a lot! I know that all these links will help me get this interview out there.

    Hennie 鈥 Vertipaq is an in-memory data compression and processing sort of server mode that is the engine behind PowerPivot. For more details, please check the following:…/ee210639.aspx…/for-excel-powerpivot-the-database-is-in-the-workbook…/a-peek-inside-the-client-architecture

    To myself 鈥 calm down and stop using exclamation points :)鈥

    Thanks again,

  6. Thomas IvarssonJune 20, 2010 讘 20:10

    I agree with the others above. Great interview with Donald with my personal top questions that I would ask him.

  7. ScriptFanaticJuly 4, 2010 讘 12:34

    Great interview and a great interviewer!!

  8. AminJuly 20, 2010 讘 0:18

    Hi Ella,

    It was really brilliant,
    I think I watch it a bit late 馃槈
    It is really fantastic