How I Studied and Passed Exam DP-203: Data Engineering on Microsoft Azure

As part of my employment at Microsoft, I have to get a higher-level technical certificate. So, I decided to go for the DP-203: Data Engineering on Microsoft Azure certificate. I’m super happy to say I passed the exam, and I want to share how I did it and the resources I used to help others who might want to try it too.

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I Finally Did It

I am thrilled to announce that I have finally earned my Bachelor’s Science in Information Technology from the University of Arizona Global Campus at the age of 44 with Magna Cum Laude honors. This long journey would not have been possible without the help of my supportive employer, Microsoft, and the love and motivation from my wife.

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Bye Bye BDC

I wanted to publish a quick note about something a little near and dear to me. As of today, Feb 25th, 2022, Microsoft made the official announcement that they are retiring SQL Server Big Data Clusters. You can read the full statement here.

Support for SQL Server 2019 Big Data Clusters will end on January 14, 2025.”

Quite frankly, to me, this is sad news. I was awarded my Microsoft MVP because of the work I did with Big Data Clusters. From speaking to blogging and creating videos on the topic.

On the bright side, during my time speaking and talking about BDCs, I met some amazing people and made some great friendships.

Remember, technologies come and go but networking, meeting new people and making friends are forever.

Bye Bye BDC.

Why I’m Giving Up My Microsoft MVP Award

In July of 2020 I was awarded Microsoft MVP in the Data Platform category for my community contributions on SQL Server Big Data Clusters. This was a huge accomplishment for me and I am truly honored. The rest of 2020 was spent studying and passing Kubernetes certifications and dedicating time for introspection. I dug a little deep and tackled the good’ol question, “where do I see myself in 5-10 years?” After some time pondering certain paths and outcomes, I came to a pretty solid answer which involved giving up my MVP award.

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A Look Inside Big Data Cluster Infrastructure Using a Kubernetes IDE

I don’t recall how I came across this Kubernetes IDE called Lens, but all I know is it’s cool as hec! It connects to a Kubernetes cluster (using the kube config file) and gives you an in depth view of all the different Kubernetes objects, their associated yaml files, health/metrics, etc. In this blog post I will show you how we can look into a Big Data Cluster’s Kubernetes infrastructure using Lens.

First let’s install Lens.

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Stop and Start your AKS Big Data Cluster and Save $$$

I remember when I first started deploying Big Data Clusters, they were on Azure Kubernetes Service utilizing the $200 credit for first time sign ups. By the time I got around to figuring out how to deploy the BDC, not only was my $200 credit gone, but I started to incur cost out of pocket.

If only there was a feature that would allow me to stop the VMs in AKS whenever I wasn’t using them. Well, I’m excited to share that Microsoft AKS (Azure Kubernetes Service) came out with a neat feature (currently in preview at the time of the publishing of this post) that allows you to stop and start your AKS cluster by running a simple command. Of course I had to try it out on BDCs and to my surprise it worked. Well, sort of. Let me explain…

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Level Up Your Career with Kubernetes

Are you a data professional and curious about Kubernetes but not quite sure what type of opportunities are available? Maybe you’re hesitant because you think Kubernetes is a “fad”? Or perhaps you’re just starting out in IT and don’t know what path to take?

Whether you are new to IT, or a seasoned IT professional, pondering these questions can be exhausting. In this blog post I will go over the importance of learning Kubernetes and how it can massively level up your career!

First, a little primer.

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From DBA to CKA – How I Passed the CKA Exam

About 2 years ago I started coming across a lot of online chatter on “containers” and “Kubernetes”. This was back in 2018 and around that time I had no interest of learning about it because it had no direct connection to SQL Server and my daily job duties as a DBA. Up until that point I had been working with SQL Server for about ten years. So like most people, “containers and Kubernetes” went in one ear and out the other.

That all changed with the hype, and eventual release, of SQL Server 2019. In SQL Server 2019 comes a feature called “Big Data Clusters”. This new feature in SQL Server really intrigued me because it was something completely different. I started to hear those terms again (containers and Kubernetes) because those are technologies behind Big Data Clusters. Over the next year, I heavily blogged, spoke, and created video content on Big Data Clusters. As a result of my deep passion and promotion of the product, I was awarded Microsoft MVP. My journey didn’t stop there as I have a natural “thirst for knowledge” and had to learn more about the underlying technology that makes Big Data Clusters feasible in the first place: Kubernetes.

So I started to study for the Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) exam.

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