New Project: Aviation Statistics

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July 9, 2010 by Mike Hillwig

Most technology professionals have a lab or test environment where they can work and play. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. Sure, I have a test environment, but it’s only for my ERP system. And my company is really particular about software licensing. I could never set up a test environment that wasn’t explicitly related to work. And since we’re so touchy at proprietary data, it makes blogging about work data incredibly difficult.

Until today.

Thanks to another member of the SQL Server community, I got my hands on an MSDN membership. That gives me access to some software licenses from MIcrosoft. And that means I can start building my own test lab. And that’s exactly what I started doing tonight.

I have a reasonably powerful desktop that is running VMWare ESXi (free!), and my first virtual machine was built to play with SQL 2008 R2. If you read my personal blog, you know that I’m a bit of an aviation nut. So to have some good data to test with, I’ve downloaded a lot of data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

In the coming weeks, I’ll have a few posts about the data, what I’m doing with it, and what I’m learning by playing with it. So far, I have about 20 million rows in a single table that’s the raw import I got from BTS. Once I have a clean import, I’ll make that data file available to anybody who wants it. It’ll be my little contribution to the SQL Server community. It’s some good data for testing.

Of course, I got sucked into a project, and I’m up past my bedtime. At least I was doing something fun.