The Data Warrior

Changing the world, one data model at a time. How can I help you?

Drill to Detail Podcast: Data Modeling, Data Vault, and Snowflake!

My good friend Mark Rittman has embarked on a new adventure as an independent analyst and consultant. As part of his new venture Mark started a new podcast series on iTunes that he calls Drill to Detail where he will feature interviews discussing a range of topics related to data warehousing, business intelligence, analytics, and big data.

I was honored to be asked to take part in this new venture and got to spend a hour with Mark a few weeks back recording what is now Episode 5 of the series. In this interview we talk about:

The podcast is about 60 minutes with each topic being about 20 minutes (so feel free to skip ahead if you are short on time). Please have a listen and let us know what you think in the comments below.



The Data Warrior

P.S. I will be speaking on these and related topics at a bunch of events over the next few weeks. Check out my speaking schedule and join me in person if you can!

Top 3 Tips for Staying Current in the Evolving World of Data Warehousing

The world of data warehousing and analytics has changed! With the advent of Big Data, Streaming Data, IoT, and The Cloud, what is a modern data warehousing professional to do? It may seem to be a very different world with different concepts, terms, and techniques. Or is it?

This is a question I ask myself all the time. So how do you keep up?

Here is what I do:

1 – Follow the Leaders

Yes, social media! Mostly, I use Twitter. I follow the industry thought leaders and analysts like Claudia Imhoff, Tamara Dull, Howard Dresner, Philip Russom, Cindi Howson, and many others. Not only do I see what they are thinking (and speaking) about, but I get to see what they are reading.

2 – Meet the Leaders

While reading books and online articles is great, there is nothing that replaces face to face communication. And the best way to do that is attend educational events where they are speaking. These days that could mean everything from local meet-ups, to regional conferences (like RMOUG), vendor roadshows, and larger annual events (like the recent Oracle OpenWorld).

For meet-ups, simply go to and sign up (for free). You can search for meet-ups in your local area by topic. You may be surprised how many there are nearby and how often they have event. This is a great way to network with other professional in your local community.

To learn from the industry leaders, look to larger national and international events. In the data warehousing and analytics world that means groups like The Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI). They have local chapters and run larger national events on a regular basis (the next one is in October in San Diego). Another group I am associated with is DAMA International which also sponsors local chapters, national and international events.

And of course your vendors and solution providers may run their own events, like the Snowflake Cloud Analytics city tour.

3- Be a Leader

Volunteer! Yes by getting involved with these meet-ups, associations, and user groups, whether locally or nationally, you not only get to give back to the community, but you will often benefit by getting to know and speak with leaders one on one in a less formal environment.

Start off small by helping organize a meeting, or getting the refreshments. Help with the web site or the mail list. If the group you choose runs a conference, help with the paper selection process (you will learn a ton reading the abstracts). And then, when you are ready, become a speaker yourself. There is no better way to learn than to try to teach what you know to someone else.

I have been helping with user group conferences and events for nearly 30 years now and have never regretted a minute of the time spent.


So those are my top 3 tips for how you can stay fresh and informed and ahead of the game in this crazy world of data warehousing, big data, and the cloud.

Seems to be working for me.

Keep Learning!


The Data Warrior

P.S. One of our Snowflake customers, IAC Publishing Labs (owners of, won the TDWI Best Practice award for the Emerging Technologies and Methods category and Keith Lavery will be speaking about the project at the TDWI Executive Summit in San Diego on Monday, October 3rd.

P.P.S.  And don’t forget to follow some of the leaders at Snowflake like @bob_muglia and @jonb_snowflake.


Tech Tip: Quick Start for Getting Your Data into Snowflake

From my most recent blog about @SnowflakeDB:

If you are like me and fairly new to this whole cloud thing, then one of your main questions is likely:

“How do I get data from my desktop (or server) into Snowflake so I can query it?”

Which, in reality, translates to:

“How do I load data in the cloud?”

Read the rest of the post to see how: Tech Tip: Quick Start for Getting Your Data into Snowflake

Happy Data Loading!


The Data Warrior


Adventures in the Cloud

I just got back from a whirlwind tour that included a trip to San Francisco to visit the Snowflake HQ, attend the annual Oracle ACE Directors briefing, meetings and events at Oracle OpenWorld (OOW), speaking at OakTable World (OTW), then off to Chicago to speak at Enterprise Dataversity.

Yes it was packed. And lots of talk about cloud everything!


Thanks to the great folks at OTN (Roland and Jennifer) for hosting us again this year at Oracle HQ.

Here are a few highlights:

Morning Chi Gung

Now an annual event is doing Chi Gung by the lake behind the Sofitel with a few ACE Director friends before the *top secret* briefing.



Pre-OOW Athletics

Well, sort of. This year I walked the Golden Gate Bridge (5K) and took a dip in SF Bay in the 5th Annual Swim The Bay. Proud to say I have attended all 5 years of that event.

Nothing like a brisk morning walk to start the day!

Nothing like a brisk morning walk to start the day!


Then there is the brisk swim!

Then there is the brisk swim!

And this year, I got a pretty good size group to do Chi Gung on the beach after the swim (to warm ourselves back up!)

Time to get that chi flowing after the swim!

Time to get that chi flowing after the swim!

OTW 2016

I think this is the 3rd time I have presented at the un-conference run in parallel to OOW. But this year was the 1st time I did it as an Oaktable member! Gave my talk on Building a Virtualized ODS using SQL Developer Data Modeler.

No picture from that talk (sorry) but I did a very short Chi Gung set with the attendees at lunch time to get them moving out of their seats.


OTN Interview

This was the best part – getting to do an interview with my good friend Laura Ramsey from OTN about data modeling and data warehousing in the cloud. Check out my full interview here.


Live cast interview from the Moscone at OOW 2016


The Drake Hotel

For the Dataversity event in Chicago, I got to stay at the very classy Drake Hotel right on the lake shore with a great view.

Awesome View!

Awesome View!


Oh, and my talk on Data Warehousing in 2016 and Beyond went great. I learned a lot in the various keynotes and even got an introduction to Data Science.


Well that is my little update for now.

Check my speaking page to see where I will be next!



The Data Warrior




Maintaining disabled FK’s, wisdom or farce?

A while back, I wrote a post about having FKs (foreign keys) in your data warehouse.

Well, a similar question came up recently on an Oracle forum with the above title. It is a fair question and it does surface fairly regularly in a variety of contexts (not just data warehousing).

Of course, as The Data Warrior, I felt is was my duty to respond.

The Question

Is there any reason to maintain a permanently disabled FK in the data model?  I’m not envisioning a reason to do it.  If it is not going to be enabled, then from my perspective, it would not make any sense to have it defined.  If anything, provide the definition of the relationship in the comment of the child column.

My Answer

Yes, by all means keep the FK please!

I see three good reasons for doing so:

  1. It is valuable metadata (& documentation). If somebody reverse engineers the database (say with ERWin or Oracle Data Modeler), the FK shows up in the diagram (way better than having to read a column comment to find out)
    Data Vault 2.0 Example

    A picture is worth a thousand words!


  2. BI Metadata – If you want to use any sort of reporting or BI tool against the database, most tools will import the FK definition with the tables and build the proper join conditions. Way better than having someone guess what the join will be and then manually adding it to the metadata layer in the reporting tool. Examples that can read the Oracle data dictionary include OBIEE, Business Objects, COGNOS, Looker, and many others.(Note here that since the FK is not enforced on the remote databases, you might want to make sure these are treated as outer joins, lest you lose some transaction in the reports).
  3. The Oracle optimizer will use disabled constraints to improve query performance of joins. Again, this is metadata in the data dictionary which the optimizer can read. This is documented in the Oracle Data Warehouse guide and I have validated it on multiple occasions with Oracle product management.

While #3 applies specifically to Oracle, for other databases like MS SQL Server and Snowflake, #1 and #2 still apply.

Even if only one of the above is true for a given database, that, in my opinion, still justifies keeping the disabled constraint around.

Final Answer = Wisdom

What do you think? Feel free to comment below.

And please share on your favorite social media platform!

Model on!


The Data Warrior


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