Session Abstract

With more than a decade of organisations running large data & analytics workloads in the cloud, Microsoft have extended their architecture framework to provide best practices and guidance for businesses. In this session, we’ll introduce the Well Architected Framework, go into detail about effective data architectures, and give you concrete next steps you can take whether you already have a cloud data architecture or are planning your first implementation.


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Steph Locke, Digital & App Innovation Manager

Steve Morgan, Data & AI Cloud Solution Architect


Steph Locke

Steph heads up a team of digital and app innovation architects in Microsoft, helping some of the UK’s biggest organisations use the cloud to deliver more value faster. She has a broad technology background in data, AI, and software and has experience running consultancies and startups. Steph loves open source, and the impact accessible tech can have on empowering people, so she dedicates her spare time to helping others improve their use of tech. She was a Microsoft Most Valued Professional for five years in a row, she sits on the board of the SQL Saturday Foundation, and she is a co-chair for the EU SME Digital Alliance AI Focus Group.

Steve Morgan

Although focused on SQL Server, his 20 years industry experience before joining Microsoft means Steve has worked on the majority of SMP and MPP database platforms across a diversity of sectors. Originally trained as a SQL Server DBA, Steve has since held a wide range of data platform architect and leadership roles. He is well practiced in making the tonal switch demanded when moving from detailed engineering meetings to programme updates with senior stakeholders and prides himself on his ability to communicate clearly across all organisational boundaries.

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How did you originally get involved with data architecture and / or data engineering

Steph Locke

I started doing data engineering when my boss was using a postit to count sales from a website to send an email daily on performance. I used Excel and web scraping to start retrieving information before moving onto learning SQL and building ETL to extract the information into a data warehouse.

Steve Morgan

I guess I just moved up through the ranks which sounds a bit vague but as I got more experience under my belt I realised that whilst there can be technical blockers during build/dev they can always be overcome (even if it’s a bit Heath Robinson). What’s more important is that the individual systems mesh together to form a coherent structure that meets the organisations overall aspirations not just the immediate needs of a business unit.

What one data architecture or data engineering book would you take to a desert island. Please give a brief description of the book, and why it stands out.

Steph Locke

I would recommend people read Agile Data Warehouse Design: Collaborative Dimensional Modeling, from Whiteboard to Star Schema. It’s a highly practical book to help people approach structuring information to support people’s requirements.

Steve Morgan

The Microsoft Data Warehouse Toolkit for SQL Server 2005” by Ralph Kimball. This was the first book that lit the bulb that we’re not building databases we’re building information platforms made up of many moving parts all of which have to adhere to an over-all plan if the systems goals are to be achieved. It also an excellently pragmatic work that might be nearly 20 years old but still resonates on to approach a large scale engineering project.

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