About Me

(Latest revision: January 17, 2015)

I’m Valentino Vranken and you have just found my blog.  Congratulations, welcome and have fun!

My Blog

Reasons for Blogging

After about 10 years of professional experience as a software and database designer/developer I decided the time has come to start sharing some info with the community through blog posts and even articles.  I will also be writing down stuff that I want to remember myself for a future assignment.  And to make sure everything’s covered, it may happen that I just want to release some brain-steam by venting about some subject when needed because, as you probably know, computers don’t always cooperate.  Not to worry though, I promise to keep things civilized. ;-)

I will write in English most of the time but that doesn’t mean that the occasional Dutch post or comment may not slip in. After all, Dutch is still my native language.

So, Who Am I And What Do I Do?

DAytime Occupation

imageProfessionally I work for Ordina as a Microsoft BI Consultant where I mainly occupy myself with Microsoft SQL Server, including Integration Services (SSIS), Reporting Services (SSRS) and Analysis Services (SSAS), and some occasional .NET development.  So these are the topics on which you will most likely find posts here, although not exclusively as I like to play with other technologies as well when I have some spare time.

Valentino Vranken on LinkedInFor more info about my professional profile I’d like to direct you to LinkedIn.  I prefer  not to duplicate data (unless in a data warehouse), so that’s the place with the most up-to-date details.

Community Activity

SQL Server User Group BelgiumAs a Board Member of the SQLUG (SQL Server User Group Belgium) I help out in the organization of the events.  Our largest event is our two-day-long SQL Server Days.  My main role usually is taking care of speaker communication but nowadays I’m handling a different kind of communication: Marketing.  So don’t forget to follow our Twitter account to stay up-to-date on what we’ve got coming!  Our handle is @sqlserverdays.

Besides writing articles for my blog, I also spend some time now and then on Experts Exchange where I try to be, well, an expert.  This allows me to help others with concrete issues and I learn stuff while I’m at it.  The interesting part is that you get a chance to find solutions for issues which you may never encounter in your own daily job.  It’s also interesting to see how others are using the products that you use daily, methods sometimes differ quite a bit.

Since I joined Experts Exchange (where I am known as ValentinoV) I have earned quite some certificates and the shirts that accompany them.  The one I’m most proud of is my Genius certificate in the SSRS topic, and I’m also happy to say my overall level is even one level higher: Ace!

In September 2013 I’ve joined the “Badger” club (members with admin roles) as Topic Advisor.  To say it in EE’s own words:

Topic Advisors are proven experts in specific technologies who assist members in getting answers, provide guidance to new users, ensure the accuracy of answers and contribute to the newsletter.

See screenshot below or even better, my profile @EE, for more details.

ValentinoV at Experts Exchange


Other forums where I may be responsible for some activity are Stack Overflow, ASK.SQLServerCentral, and of course the MSDN Forums.

In 2014 Microsoft deemed my community activity sufficient to award me with the well-respected MVP Award!


In terms of official certification I’m the proud holder of the following Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certificates:

  • 71-432: MCTS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance
  • 71-448: MCTS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance
  • 70-433: MCTS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) - SQL Server 2008

Furthermore, I’ve obtained my two Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certificates:

  • 70-451: MCITP: Database Developer 2008
  • 70-452: MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008

Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) - SQL Server 2008

My SQL Server 2012 certification track has been kicked off as well.  I participated in and passed the following two beta exams:

  • 461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • 463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

SQL Server 2012 Certification

This leaves me one exam short of the new MSCA certification.


@ValentinoV42I’ve got a Twitter account where I will chirp whenever I publish an article, so if you’d like to stay informed you can follow me through @ValentinoV42.  Don’t worry, I won’t be flooding your "incoming tweets" flow unless you’ve asked for it. :)

Those who’d like to contact me directly can do that by putting my first name (Valentino) in front of the domain name of this blog (hoegaerden.be) with an @ in between and putting that result into the To: parameter of an email message.  However, please don’t send a page-long issue description.  I don’t always have time for personal support.  What you can do is post your issue to one of the forums mentioned above and then send me an email with the link if you’d like me to take a look!

A third way of contacting me is by posting an interesting comment on one of my articles.  Though it may sometimes take a while, I do read them all!


You may be thinking "why on earth did he pick the name of a beer as his domain name?".  I’ll keep you wondering just for a little more.

Those of you that have never heard of the white beer called Hoegaarden (notice how it’s spelled differently from my domain name btw), you’ll find some info through that link to Wikipedia.  There’s a chance that you actually know it, but not in its original name.  The person who created the beer here in Belgium moved to the US to repeat the process.  The white beer there is known as Celis White.

Now the answer to the question is quite simple.  The beer is called after the Belgian village where it was created and I happen to live there…

My Personal Computer History

I started playing with computers at the age of, erm, think think, 12, on a Commodore 64, featuring the magnificent amount of 64 KBs RAM.  It also had a drive for those big floppies.

Actually, now that I think about it, the real first one was a Philips Videopac G7000 – which was apparently called a Magnavox Odyssey² in the US – with only 16 KBs of RAM. Anyone ever played Pickaxe Pete btw? That was one cool game ;-) ) This machine didn’t use floppies at all but big cartridges that needed to get plugged in.

Now my main home PC has 4 cores and 4 GBs of RAM and no floppy drive. My first program was written in Basic on the C64.

The first version of SQL Server that I used was 7.0. Oh the times, they are a-changin’…

Now the disclaimer… (boring legal stuff follows)

Disclaimer #1

Anything that I write here is my own opinion and in no way linked to my employer or anyone else.

Disclaimer #2

I will never write offending posts and certainly not on purpose.  If you do feel offended by something that I wrote, it was not the intention so please get over it.

Disclaimer #3

I am in no way responsible for any comments written by others on my blog.  However, I will not allow offending comments.  And I am the only one who decides what is offending and what isn’t.

Disclaimer #4

Although I will do my uttermost best to not post any incorrect information, no one is perfect so I cannot promise that it will never happen.  That’s why I allow comments on the site.  If you think something is wrong, please post a comment that clearly specifies what is wrong, why you think it’s wrong, and how to correct it (if applicable of course).

Disclaimer #5

The web evolves every nanosecond.  I am therefore not responsible for any incorrect links, offending content on external links, and anything related to the evolving state of the web.  Also I am not responsible for the content on sites linking to my blog.

Disclaimer #6

When applicable I may post files (binary, code, …) on the blog.  I am not responsible for any damage that executing these files brings to your computer, yourself, your family, pets, neighbors, anyone else’s computer, …

Disclaimer #7

As you may have noticed I have some commercial info on my website.  This is automatically fed through Google AdSense.  I am not responsible for the content in these commercial blocks.  All I’m trying to achieve with these ads is to pay for the site’s hosting.  I do hope that they are not bothering you too much.

Disclaimer #(count + 1)

Anything else that you would have expected to read in this disclaimer but didn’t was probably forgotten by myself.  If that’s the case, please imagine a paragraph stating "I am not responsible for YOUR_SUBJECT." where YOUR_SUBJECT needs to get replaced by whatever you were expecting to read here but didn’t.

Last words

Have fun, and may the source be with you!


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