Past Meetup

Azure SQL DataWarehouse: 0-100 (DWUs) & Azure Machine Learning

This Meetup is past

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Microsoft Data Platform Group Birmingham - 15th June 2017, 6.15pm

Session 1: Simon Whiteley - Azure SQL DataWarehouse: 0-100 (DWUs)

Session 2: Chris Testa-O'Neill - Azure Machine Learning


6.15pm – 6:30pm Meet & Greet

6:30pm - 7:30pm

Simon Whiteley - Azure SQL DataWarehouse: 0-100 (DWUs)

So Azure SQL DataWarehouse is now available and starting to be adopted, but what does that mean to you and why should you care?

Reflecting on several large-scale Azure DW projects, this session gathers together learnings, successes, failures and general opinions into a crash course in using Azure DataWarehouse “properly”.

We'll start by quickly putting the technology in context, so you know WHEN to use it, WHERE it’s appropriate and WHY it works the way it does.

o Introducing the ADW technology
o Explaining distributions & performance
o Explaining polybase

Then we'll dive into HOW to use it, looking at some real-life design patterns, best practice and some “tales from the trenches” from a recent large Azure DW project.

o Performance tips & tricks (designing for minimal data movement, managing distribution skew, CTAS, Resource classes and more)
o ETL Patterns (Surrogate keys & Orchestration)
o Common Mistakes & Pitfalls
o Conclusions & Recommendations

7:30pm - 8:00pm Break & Pizza

8:00pm – 9:00pm Chris Testa-O'Neill - Azure Machine Learning

Start your journey into the world of predictive analytics in this hands on session that will see you building a predictive model within the hour. The first 30 minutes will explore the role of Machine Learning in the Cortana Intelligence Suite and how it is helping businesses to gain new insights on their data. You will source data, pre-process the data and then feed that data into a machine learning model to train. We will then look at how we can score and evaluate a model to see which algorithm is the best fit for your workload. Finally we will wrap up and look at how the model can be deployed into production. Al that you need to bring is a laptop with an internet connection.


This session will be held at Aston Manor Academy.


Aston Manor Academy
Phillips Street
B6 4PZ

Parking on site is available through the main gates but is limited. There is also on street parking available opposite.

We will be hiring the main hall ( which located through the entrance doors and to the left.

Other Details

We'll be putting on food for the event, so please do register so we know numbers. If you then can't make it we'd really appreciate it if you'd unregister and/or let us know.

Dress code: relaxed

Event Organiser Contact Details

If you need any further details or have any requests for this or future Data Platform Group events, please contact get in touch.

Paul Andrew
Twitter: @mrpaulandrew (
Email: [masked]

Alex Whittles
Twitter: @PurpleFrogAlex (
Email: [masked] ([masked])

Microsoft Data Platform Group - Birmingham
Twitter: @MSDataGroupBrum (

Speaker Profiles

Simon Whiteley is a Principal BI Consultant with Adatis. Simon has been working with the Microsoft BI Stack for a decade, starting off building traditional warehouses with SSIS and SSAS but bringing in alternative technologies where needed. Most recently, he has turned his head to the clouds, advocating new methods of getting insight to the right people. Whether it's getting to grips with Data Lakes, harnessing the parallel power of Azure SQLDW or simply shifting your current SSIS packages into the cloud, he can help.

Chris Testa-O'Neill works in the Analytics and Data Science team at Microsoft working with the Cortana Intelligence Suite (CIS) and Microsoft R Server. He works with the engineering team and partners to ensure that the CIS technologies are utilized efficiently within businesses and that feedback about the products are reported back to the product group. Prior to this, Chris ran his own business performing cloud migrations and analytical projects. He was also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional from 2010 – 2016 and spoke at a range of global conferences. He has also been the author of a wide range of Microsoft Official course with Microsoft Learning experience since 2007. His latest work involving a MOOC on Azure SQL Data Warehouse to be released early in 2017.