Most Active Speaker

Heini Ilmarinen

Heini Ilmarinen

DevOps Consultant, Polar Squad

Helsinki, Finland


Heini is a math teacher turned Azure expert. With her background in mathematics and teaching, she has a great passion for problem solving, simplifying complex things and a unique approach to architectures.
She is a DevOps Consultant at Polar Squad and a Data Platform MVP, specializing in Azure infrastructure and the data platform. She has been working with customers large and small for the past several years to help them sort out their path to the cloud and make sense of their architecture - both hybrid and cloud. She has worked extensively with both Azure infrastructure and analytics solutions, and makes the most of this skillset in her projects, as well as while speaking. On her free time Heini spends time in the nature, either snowboarding or mountain biking, depending on the season.


  • Most Active Speaker 2023
  • Most Active Speaker 2022

Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology


  • Azure
  • Azure Data Platform
  • DevOps Skills
  • Cloud Architecture

Networking unlocked for the Azure Data Services

Are you trying to make sense of how to secure your Azure Data Service to your own virtual network, but can't just seem to make sense of service endpoints, private links and private endpoints, as well as when to use which approach? It also seems that there is a need to know about Azure DNS, network architecture and possibly even about connectivity methods from on-premises to make this work with more complex scenarios.

Join this session to understand networking for the Azure Data services and the differences of these methods for integrating your Azure Data Services to a virtual network. You will learn what are the benefits of each approach and what challenges you are able to solve with them in your environment. We will finish with a walk through in practice the details of a common scenario of having secure access to your database in Azure from an on-premises site.

Full 180° - Lessons Learned from Switching Careers

A little over five years ago I was a freshly graduated mathematics student doing teaching on the side, all while still trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. There had been a thought brewing in the back of my mind of taking a leap into something completely new to me - IT. Fast forward five years and here I am!

A lot has happened over these five years, and in this session I will be sharing my experiences of doing a complete 180-degree career switch. Among the challenges I will talk about is how to handle being faced with a lot of unknowns, having to learn completely new concepts and solutions very quickly (and implement them!), and trying to find my way in a new community - all while trying to figure out what topics made me excited to go to work everyday. I will share my approach, my experiences and the insights that I found useful, all in the hope of being able to inspire anyone to take the next step - regardless if you are looking to keep your knowledge up to date, expand your knowledge to a new area, or make an equally complete shift in your career.

Azure AD for the Azure Data Services

Working with Azure data services it is nearly impossible to ignore Azure AD; we can use it simply for logging in to specific services like Azure SQL or Azure Data Lake, but also for setting up OAuth token authentication for a service like Databricks. Unfortunately, most of the time we notice bumping into Azure AD when things aren't working as expected. Therefore, we need to understand the essentials about Azure AD, identities, authentication and authorization.

In this sessions we will start from what you need to know about Azure AD in relation to Azure data services. Then we will look at different scenarios of setting up authentication in general. Lastly, we will move through the landscape of Azure data services and see how Azure AD can be leveraged for each of these services, highlighting both similarities and differences in the entire landscape.

Azure Infrastructure for the Power BI Data Consumer

With more and more data sources being hosted in the cloud and specifically on Azure, it has become more relevant to understand the different data services on Azure, as well as the options for connecting to these data sources.
In this session we will walk through the different data sources in Azure, the different ways to connect to these data sources and what you need to consider when working in PowerBI Desktop and PowerBI Service. You will be smoothly connecting to all your Azure data sources after this session.

The Ultimate Jigsaw - Architecting Azure Synapse Analytics

Azure Synapse Analytics holds both promise and peril for data professionals of every stripe. In order to get maximum use of this tool, we need to figure out not only what it can do on its own, but also how it fits together with everything else in Azure. Since Azure Synapse Analytics is a tightly packaged collection of seemingly random pieces, this can seem quite overwhelming - especially for someone coming from the data side of things. If you wonder how security works, what piece go where or how the network plays a part in moving data around, this is the session for you.
In this session we will look into what pieces make up the buffet that is Azure Synapse Analytics, find out how it can work with both structured and unstructured data with ease, and explore some of the architectural patterns that ensure security and performance.

To Bicep or to Terraform - That is the Question

If you're getting started with an implementation using Infrastructure as Code, one of the first things to figure out is which tool to use. When working with an Azure data platform solution, the most common options that come up are Bicep and Terraform; therefore, this session will dive into the details of the differences of Bicep and Terraform to help you choose the best option.

We will begin the session by going through the similarities of Bicep and Terraform, but will then jump straight into comparing these two tools. We will cover how state is handled, how configuration is scoped and how making changes is evaluated. Then we will go through how existing resources are handled and using preview features. At the end of this session you will be able to choose which tool is the best option for your implementation!

Spice up your Azure data solution architecture skills

Choose your data services, deploy and off you go! The ease of setting up a data platform solution in Azure a no brainer. But to set a production ready architecture in Azure requires you to figure out connectivity between services, security configurations, all the way down to access control to services and users alike.

During this full day precon we will be both going through the theory, as well as building out a reference architecture using Azure Databricks and Microsoft Fabric to bring these architecture principles to life.

We will begin the day by going through a systematic process to choose the most appropriate services for your use case, by looking at the entire Azure data landscape. We will then take a closer look at how to make these services work seamlessly in your environment by consider monitoring, availability, backups and encryption to name a few.

In the second part of the day, we will be focusing on two main areas: networking and access control. We will figure out how to make Azure networking work for your benefit and how to really make complex networking scenarios work without hick ups. With access control, we need to get very familiar with Azure AD, as well as figure out how access can be managed to empower the different users of our data solution.

As we build on our reference architecture throughout this precon day, you will have a starting point with all architectural aspects covered, and the understanding adopt this architecture to different scenarios. During this day you will be give a boost to your skills for architecting a powerful data platform solution on Azure!

Less Clicking, More Sanity! Infra as Code for your Azure Data Solution

Infrastructure as code is *the* way to deploy Azure services - right? But under looming deadlines and time crunches it can feel way faster to use the tried and tested method of going to the portal and creating resources manually. In the back of your head, you know there must be a faster, better way of managing resources - but how do you make the jump?
Without having a developer background it can be difficult to know where to even start with infrastructure as code. Especially if you are working with a team of multiple people managing and operating Azure resources - this requires a full cultural change!

In this pre-con we will go through the concepts that you need to grasp in order to get started with infrastructure as code for Azure and then continue on to look at how the process for managing resources in Azure changes, compared to the way we've previously done it. In the second half of the pre-con we will explore a complete workflow for deploying your Azure data platform architecture as code using Bicep and how to work on that code with your team.

You will walk away with not only the knowledge gained from seeing all the steps done in clear, concise demos, but you will also get all the code and instructions needed to create the entire lab environment yourself to further reinforce your new skills!

Super Smash - Microsoft Fabric vs. Databricks

Databricks has become widely used in lakehouse solutions, which ever data platform you are on. Is Microsoft leagues behind or is it able to challenge Databricks neck to neck?

In this session we will begin by comparing the capabilities of Microsoft Fabric and Databricks, both the similarities and differences. We will then dive deeper to look at how does the Spark and SQL experiences differ, as well as the storage layer. We will continue by evaluating how does it differ to implement a lakehouse solution on these two platforms. Lastly we will see if there are also synergies that can be found from these tools.
After this session you'll be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of both of these services!

DATA:Scotland 2022 Sessionize Event

September 2022 Glasgow, United Kingdom

Data Toboggan - Cool Runnings 2022 Sessionize Event

July 2022

Scottish Summit 2022 Sessionize Event

June 2022 Glasgow, United Kingdom

DataGrillen 2022 Sessionize Event

June 2022 Lingen, Germany

Heini Ilmarinen

DevOps Consultant, Polar Squad

Helsinki, Finland


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