Transitioning from Traditional to Azure Data Architectures

Confession: I put a lot of subtexts in this blog post in an attempt to catch how people may be describing their move from SSIS to ADF, from SQL DBs, to SQL DWs or from scheduled to event-based data ingestion.  The purpose of this post is to give you a visual picture of how our well loved “traditional” tools of on-prem SQL Databases, SSIS, SSAS and SSRS are being replaced by the Azure tool stack.  If you are moving form “Traditional Microsoft” to “Azure Microsoft” and need a road map, this post is for you.

Summary of the Matter: If you only read one thing, please read this: transitioning to Azure is absolutely “doable”, but do not let anyone sell you “lift and shift”.  Azure data architecture is a new way of thinking.  Decide to think differently.

First Determine Added Value:  Below are snippets from a slide deck I shared during Pragmatic Work’s 2018 Azure Data Week.  (You can still sign up for the minimal cost of $29 and watch all 40 recorded sessions, just click here.)  However, before we begin, let’s have a little chat.  Why in the world would anyone take on an Azure migration if their on-prem SQL database(s) and SSIS packages are humming along with optimum efficiency?  The first five reasons given below are my personal favorites.

  1. Cost (scale up, scale down)
  2. Event Based File Ingestion
  3. File based history (SCD2 equivalent but in your Azure Data Lake)
  4. Support for Near Real Time Requirements
  5. Support for Unstructured Data
  6. Large Data Volumes
  7. Offset Limited Local IT Resources
  8. Data Science Capabilities
  9. Development Time to Production
  10. Support for large audiences
  11. Mobile
  12. Collaboration

Each of the reasons given above are a minimum one hour working session on their own, but I’m sharing my thoughts in brief in an effort to help you to get started compiling our own list.  Please also look at the following diagram (Figure 1) and note two things: a.) the coinciding “traditional” components and b.) the value add boxed in red.

Tom WardTransitioning from Traditional to Azure Data Architectures
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Azure Data Week – Azure Data Factory – Data Movement To and In the Cloud

BannerFinal Azure Data WeekIn his Azure Data Week session, Azure Data Factory – Movement to and in the Cloud, Chris Seferlis takes us through a traditional SSIS package that ETLs the data and presents it for reporting, then compares it to the process in Azure Data with some great tips and roadmap.

There were many questions he was unable to answer during his session and we’re happy to share them with you now. If you missed Chris’ session or the entire week, you can still purchase access to the recordings by visiting

Tom WardAzure Data Week – Azure Data Factory – Data Movement To and In the Cloud
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Performance Techniques for SSIS in Azure Data Factory

If you’re new to using integration services within Azure Data Factory, you may notice at times it takes a bit longer for some of the packages to run than they would have on prem. Today I’ll share a couple simple and effective ways to help with the performance of those from experiences we’ve had.

Bob RubockiPerformance Techniques for SSIS in Azure Data Factory
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Introduction to Using SSIS with Azure

MitchP BannnerCompanies across the globe are moving their data to the cloud. How does the ETL developer fit into that picture? What are the options that you have available for loading and moving data located in Microsoft’s Azure cloud service? Can you continue to use SSIS or do you have to use Azure Data Factory? In this webinar by Mitchell Pearson, you are going to learn how you can use SSIS, a tool you’re already familiar with, to interact with common resources in Azure like Azure Blob storage and Azure SQL Database.

Tom WardIntroduction to Using SSIS with Azure
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The Basics of SSIS

with Philip de la CalJust starting out in data administration and development and looking for an introduction to SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)? In a recent webinar, Sr. Product Engineer, Philip de la Cal, discussed all the basics of SSIS. This one hour introductory-level demonstration covers all the basics you’ll need to get started on your journey into SSIS.

Tom WardThe Basics of SSIS
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Can You Do Traditional BI in the Cloud?

With all the focus on cloud and Azure, have you ever wondered if you can run your traditional BI workloads within Azure? You may ask, should we be putting our traditional BI workloads that we’ve been using like the SQL Stack, SSIS, SSAS and relational databases in Azure; can we even do that?

3CloudCan You Do Traditional BI in the Cloud?
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