Redshift Spectrum finally supports Enhanced VPC routing
Development Redshift Spectrum finally supports Enhanced VPC routing

What seems like an age ago, I spotted a setting on one of our Redshift clusters that suggested Enhanced VPC routing support for Redshift Spectrum might be on the way. After waiting a while, and waiting some more, and then waiting some more, it seems that Amazon have finally released this into the wild, and Redshift Spectrum now works with clusters that have Enhanced VPC routing available!

As of Build 1.0.4349 or Build 1.0.4515, this functionality will be available in Redshift. It hasn’t made it into the official announcements yet, but it has popped up on the Redshift forums here: https://forums.aws.amazon.com/ann.jspa?annID=6197

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Is AWS about to enable Redshift Spectrum with Enhanced VPC Routing?
Development Is AWS about to enable Redshift Spectrum with Enhanced VPC Routing?

AWS is knocking it out of the park at the moment with loads of new services and features coming out every week. Indeed, it can be hard to keep up with the degree of change. But, while working on one of our Redshift clusters today we spotted a potential scoop that would remove a key blocker for one extremely useful service, Redshift Spectrum.

Up until now it’s only been possible to use Spectrum if you don’t have Enhanced VPC Routing enabled on your Redshift cluster. There are so many benefits to using Enhanced VPC Routing (reduced data transfer cost, control, security) that it’s hard to see why anyone wouldn’t be using it, especially if you move data between Redshift and S3 a lot.

But we spotted a new parameter being applied to one of our clusters when we made some maintenance changes to a parameter group. There’s now a parameter named spectrum_enable_enhanced_vpc_routing showing, which hints that Amazon may be about to remove this crucial limitation.

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Redshift connectivity officially announced for Power BI Service
Data & analysis Redshift connectivity officially announced for Power BI Service

Last year, Microsoft added a preview connector enabling Power BI to query Amazon Redshift. This wasn’t publicised as an “official” data source, and took some steps in order to be able to even see the connector in Power BI Desktop. Crucially, you could only use this connector in Power BI Desktop, not when workbooks are deployed to the cloud. Yesterday, Microsoft announced the connector is now available within the Power BI Service, which means that workbooks containing Redshift data connections can now be deployed to the cloud. I’ve been working a lot with Redshift over the past year or so, and Power BI’s still my go-to data-viz solution, so I’m delighted to see the this announcement, as it means that Redshift-based workbooks can now be shared with others via powerbi.com.

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Impressions of Microsoft’s new-look Power BI
Development Impressions of Microsoft’s new-look Power BI

A couple of months ago, Microsoft’s new-look Power BI Preview rolled out globally. Ditching the Office 365/Sharepoint Online requirement, the new Power BI is a streamlined, simplified version of the product that attempts to lose some of the bloat and give users a focussed, easy-to-use, self-service BI platform.

So has it worked?

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Debugging Errors in SSIS Data Quality Services Cleansing Component
Development Debugging Errors in SSIS Data Quality Services Cleansing Component

As part of Microsoft’s push to include business users in the Business Intelligence space, the addition of Data Quality Services to SQL Server’s feature set opened up the ETL process to the people who, arguably, know the data best. Integration with SSIS was a great move, meaning that this user control extends to automated processes, further closing the gap between data and the business.

However, like most new components, Data Quality Services has some teething problems, and these can be quite hard to find when debugging your SSIS packages. Here’s a quick tip that should help solve some of those tricky to find DQS issues.

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Mapping C# DateTime to SQL Server datetime2 via SSIS
Development Mapping C# DateTime to SQL Server datetime2 via SSIS

With SQL Server 2008, Microsoft introduced the new, improved datetime2 format. This newer time storage format is great, because it takes up less storage space, plus you have control over precision and can define your field to the exact specification required. Database columns defined as datetime2 can be mapped in SSIS by using the DT_DBTIMESTAMP2 type. However, in the scenario where you may have a Script Transformation in your SSIS package, and want to assign a .NET DateTime type to a Data Flow column that is mapped to a datetime2 field, you might encounter a DoesNotFitBufferException.

The reason for this is likely down to your specified field precision, and is easily fixed.

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picnicerror.net is a personal blog for me to post various ideas, thoughts and discoveries through both my day to day work in marketing technology and general hobbies and interests.

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