Shop Talk: 2020-08-17

The Recording

The Panelists

  • Kevin Feasel
  • Mala Mahadevan
  • Tracy Boggiano

Notes: Questions and Topics

Thoughts on PASS Pro Membership

Mala, Tracy, and I spent a good bit of time talking about PASS’s professional tier membership. It’s pretty common for trade organizations to require member dues—I brought up as examples the ACM and IEEE, and Tracy & Mala came up with other examples like Oracle’s official user groups. In this case, there’s no requirement: the free tier of PASS membership is the same as before.

We talked for a while about the question of whether to become a pro member. The really short version is that if you’re taking a hard look at membership benefits versus the annual cost, it’s not worth it today. But if you have goodwill built up for PASS, it’s worth it, as it helps keep PASS afloat.

Architectural Diagrams

The other key theme of the evening was architectural diagrams. Mala and Raymond both shared the same article on what makes for a good diagram, so that seems like a sign that it’s a good article.

My key judgments on what makes for a good architectural diagram are:

  • The diagram is concise. Show what you need but don’t include a lot of unnecessary detail. For example, if we’re talking about a ETL process in Azure, such a diagram might show a virtual machine pushing data through Azure Data Factory into an Azure Synapse Analytics SQL Pool, and from there into Azure Analysis Services and Power BI. At this high level, including the list of specific VNet settings is unnecessary. Even the set of data flows you’re creating through this process is unnecessary unless there’s a need—for example, if there are two processes and you need to differentiate them.
  • At the appropriate level. Ideally, boxes or shapes in a diagram should be independent units, each of which is necessary to understand for the solution.
  • Built with the audience in mind. We can have multiple diagrams for different people, and diagrams aren’t (or at least shouldn’t be!) the only documentation available.

As far as diagramming tools, I brought up and Diagrams as Code. We also received recommendations for PowerPoint, Visio, and LucidChart.

Mala’s Book Corner

Mala has two book recommendations for us:


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