Training Kit (Exam 70-463): Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Paperback – 24 Dec 2012
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About the Author
Dejan Sarka is a mentor with SolidQ and focuses on development of database and business intelligence applications. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences such as TechEd, SqlDevCon, and PASS. He is the founder of the Slovenian SQL Server and .NET Users Group. As main author or coauthor, Dejan has written nine books about SQL Server. He has also developed three courses for SolidQ: Data Modeling Essentials, Data Quality and Master Data Management, and Data Mining.
Matija Lah is an independent consultant in the general and legal information management domains. Data warehousing represents an essential data management element in practically any business domain and Matija has had the opportunity to solve a variety of data warehousing problems since he started working with data warehouses in 2001. He is one of the authors in the popular book series SQL Server MVP Deep Dives. He is a frequent speaker at conferences related to Microsoft technologies, particularly those dedicated to Microsoft SQL Server. Matija has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for SQL Server since 2007, and is a mentor at SolidQ, a trusted global provider of advanced consulting, mentoring and education solutions for the Microsoft platforms.
Grega Jerkic is an independent consultant and trainer for SolidQ. For the last 12 years, he has been developing, architecting, and managing projects focusing on data warehousing, MDM, data integration, analytical/planning solutions and predictive analytics--primarily using Microsoft technology. He invented and was lead architect for a predefined business intelligence solution on top of ERP Microsoft Dynamics NAV – BI4Dynamics, which is now used worldwide by more than 150 clients and has earned two Microsoft awards for best business intelligence solution for the CEE region. Grega currently provides training and mentoring for the Microsoft BI platform around the world (Microsoft FastTrack DW workshops, Enterprise ETL with SQL 2005/2008, MDX, Advanced PowerPivot, Microsoft SQL 2008 R2 technical workshops, etc).
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Top customer reviews
It took me 6 weeks to read each book and complete the exercises ( never bothered with the case studies). 1 week to ace the measure-up test questions. 2 weeks of studying MS TechNet .... So 9 weeks per book.
Out if all the 3 training kits , 70-463 had the most errata but I'm not surprised given the bigger topics and concepts this book has to cover ( the o'reily website lists the errata so it's worth checking before starting each lesson). Out of the three, 70-463 was the most interesting, 70-461 the most straightforward and 70-462 the least interesting ( the pure DBA topics in 70-462 just didn't float my boat)
I am currently taking a career break and decided to study full-time to finally get my MCSA. Whilst quals don't prove that you don't know the subject matter, not having them often closes doors before they open. So accreditation it is.
70-461 was straight forward. I whizzed through 2-3 chapters a day. I had set up a virtual machine and the exercises were simple to follow.
Then, like so many others on here, I started on 70-463.
I didn't even consider the errata until I reached chapter 7. I assumed that the book, being a later publication version would have been fully updated by now. Funnily enough, most of the typos listed had been corrected, so I fell into a false sense of security and trust with the book. More fool me.
It turns out that it isn't so much the errors within the book itself that pose the greatest frustration, but rather those within the exercises, as cited by so many other reviewers. Pre-configured connections that just don't work, code that fails when it shouldn't and doesn't when it should. In a way it has helped as my trouble-shooting skills have increased dramatically. My familiarisation with SSIS has no doubt improved more that it would have, as I have been forced to delve into areas not covered by the specific exercises. However, and this is the issue, as a consequence some chapters have taken days to cover. For a number of reasons: losing focus and motivation due to frustration; taking breaks because it is so demoralising; switching between chapters to review what should have happened and then discovering why it now doesn't work.
Bizarrely, the errata mentions nothing about the errors in the exercises.
Why three stars? Well, it's a thick book. I think that it has value as a reference book (despite that not being its primary purpose). As a training book it is poor. The exercise issues are a real pain. If there were other options.... but even other training sites with videos (that I found useful for 461) don't seem to cover 463 in sufficient depth (e.g. pluralsight).
Another bugbear is the language. I'm a techy. I'm also intelligent. I have a Masters. But for God's sake, why so wordy? In some chapters it's almost as if the authors are intentionally writing it for only academics to follow, not those of us who are advocates of plain English. It may take half the space to make a point if you use words with 6 syllables, but it takes five times as long to read and understand it.
I'm about two-thirds through and I now feel compelled to write a review. After searching for documentation highlighting the errors in the exercises all I came across was one blog by erikhaselhofer and the reviews on Amazon. I thought that I'd contribute another constructive criticism with the intention that it tempers the expectations of anyone else making the same purchase: "beware ye who enter here", but not quite "abandon all hope".
Whilst the theoretical content is good, covering everything from DW schema basics to optimising your SSIS packages, the example code is poor, often offering incomplete (or just plain incorrect) advice.
It unfortunately appears that no one proof-read the examples, or actually tried them out for themselves, otherwise the obvious errors would have been spotted.
A few examples of errors in the book include:
Creating table schemas and then inserting values larger than the column size without encountering a failure
Constantly switching between singular and plural table names (in the same example). This occurs so often, you often actually have to check back to the example code to see what you actually called the table...
Asking the user to 'connect the output' fro a transformation to another transformation, without specifying if you should connect the 'success' or 'failure' output.
However, if you can get past the issues in the examples, there is a lot of helpful information here and the exam questions are good basic preparation for taking the final exam.
I've been taking Microsoft exams for nearly 20 years and have recently passed 70-461 and 70-462, so I believe I am qualified to review this training kit.
As such I would reiterate a number of observations made by Mr. Sinkinson.
Quite simply this is the worst training kit I've ever used as it's littered with mistakes and errors, it would be simply impossible to follow the exercises without using the published errata on the O'reilly web-site. I cannot believe that anyone has proof read this book.
At times my progression has felt like wading through treacle as I have attempted to diagnose and correct each error.
Like most SQL DBA's you are probably forced into learning DW simply to maintain your SQL certification, so if you can find an alternative method of learning this product I suggest that you undertake it.
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