Dan English's BI Blog

Welcome to my random thoughts in regards to Business Intelligence, databases, and other technologies

Archive for August, 2008

Magenic Webinar – Making Better Decisions with Your Data (Sept 16)

Posted by denglishbi on August 27, 2008

Take two of the Magenic webinar that Aaron Lowe and I did early this year.  We will be doing the presentation one more time for anyone that missed it the first time.  This is not a technical presentation like the one on October 15 will be.  We will be define Business Intelligence (BI), talk about the BI Maturity Model, Spreadmart vs Data Marts, and the MS BI Platform.  Come and listen in and check out the official invitation here – http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Invitation.aspx?e=6982b39c-c381-4b9f-98b4-281f082a31af.

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Magenic Webinar – Driving BI with SQL Server 2008 (Oct 15)

Posted by denglishbi on August 27, 2008

I will be co-presenting a Magenic webinar with Aaron Lowe one of our SQL Aces out of Chicago on October 15.  We are going to be talking about all of the awesome enhancements that are part of SQL Server 2008 such as Change Data Capture (CDC), Data Profiling, Cache Transform, Tablix, Report Builder 2.0, new SSRS data visualizations, SSAS DMVs, SSAS designer enhancements, AMO warnings, etc.  Lots of cool stuff, so this presentation will be loaded with excellent content and demos.  Check out the official registration invitation here – http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Invitation.aspx?e=5a2f8427-14d0-4080-b022-0a991e87eed4

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MN SQL on Saturday – Sept 20

Posted by denglishbi on August 27, 2008

Next month there will be a one-day event on Saturday, September 20 from 8 to 5.  This is a great opportunity to network, learn, and win prizes.  I will be presenting two sessions – SSIS Performance Tuning and SSAS 2008 Designer Enhancements and DMVs.  Hope to see you there.
Date: September 20
Time: 8:00am-5:00pm
Location: New Horizons of Minnesota, Edina
Cost: only $99 (This includes continental breakfast, lunch (sandwiches) and an afternoon snack, not to mention the great education and a TON of prizes!)
Most of the content will be focusing on SQL Server 2008, so come check it outHot
SQL Server 2008 Free Express Edition Download

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North Central BI Special Interest User Group Meeting – Sept 12

Posted by denglishbi on August 27, 2008

The next local BI Special Interest Group (BI-SIG) in MN is coming up on September 12 from 2:30 to 6:30.  I will be co-presenting with Joe Beeck from GfK on  ‘Spreadmart to Data Mart Conversion’.  Here is the topic description:
Everybody probably has spreadmarts somewhere in their organization.  They start out small and quickly grow and become mission critical.  This presentation will be talking about taking an Excel spreadmart reporting solution and migrating it into a data mart solution.  Both sides of the project with be discussed, business and technical.  The first portion will talk about the history of the solution, discuss working with the business users, requirements gathering, challenges faced and then we will go into the technical details.  We will compare spreadmarts vs data marts, discuss how the solution was architected, options that were explored, technologies used, and challenges that had to be overcome.
Come check it out if you are in the area.
Here is the main site address – http://ncbisig.org.
Hope to see you thereSmile

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BIDS Helper available on CodePlex

Posted by denglishbi on August 17, 2008

Just doing a little blog reading this morning and noticed that Darren Gosbell posted an entry yesterday stating that version 1.3 of BIDS Helper is now available for download.  Some of the new features that are available which I briefly mentioned in my last posting about BIDS Helper are support for SQL Server 2008, being able to sort SSIS packages by their names in the project (like SSAS), smartdiff functionality in SSAS like they had setup for SSIS, and being able to change the scope of an existing SSIS variableSmile

Here is the complete list of new features that have been incorporated in the new release:

  • Analysis Services
    • Integration Services
      • You can download the SQL 2005 or 2008 release and they do have a new xcopy deployment option also.

        If you want to use the smartdiff functionality you must have at least Visual SourceSafe or Team Explorer Client installed.  The project does not have to be bound to source control, but this component leverages the visual diff dialog from either of these tools.  If you don’t have one installed you will get this message:


        Check it out for yourself – http://bidshelper.codeplex.com.  Just want to once again thank the team (Darren Gosbell, Greg Galloway, and John Welch) working on this for all of their hard work, it is very appreciatedOpen-mouthed

        Posted in Downloads | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

        SQL Server 2008 PRO Beta Exams 71-450 (70-450) and 71-452 (70-452)

        Posted by denglishbi on August 13, 2008

        Just got this email from the SQL PASS Headquarters and wanted to share the information if you were not aware of the beta exam offer:

        We are happy to announce the dates for 2 upcoming Beta exams. 
        The first is Beta Exam 71-452: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008.  This exam counts as credit towards the Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Business Intelligence Developer 2008.  Registration has begun.  The Beta exam period will be from August 13 – September 10, 2008.  When registering for this exam, please use the promotional code: 3568C.  All individuals interested in partaking in this exam are urged to
        register now!  For exam preparation, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/learning/exams/70-452.mspx

        The second offering is the Beta Exam 71-450: PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Designing, Optimizing, and Maintaining a Database Administrative Solution.  This exam counts as credit towards the Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Database Administrator 2008.  Registration begins on August 15, 2008.  The exam can be taken between August 18 – September 16, 2008.  When registering for this exam, please enter the promotional code: 239F4.  Start registering on August 15 to book your place.  To get ready for this exam, please go to http://www.microsoft.com/learning/exams/70-450.mspx

        So why take these exams?  They are free!  Also, they give you credentials that are recognized in the marketplace.  Employers feel confident in the skills and abilities of those who have achieved certification from Beta exams.
        So what are you waiting for?  Beta exams have limited availability and once all places have been filled, no additional seats will be offered.  Remember, these exams are free for you to take.  You must register 24 hours prior to taking the Beta exam, and you will be given 4 hours to complete it.
        Testing is held at Prometric testing centers worldwide, although the exams are not available in India, Pakistan, and China.
        To register in North America, please call Prometric at 800 755-EXAM (800-755-3926).  If registering outside the US or Canada, please go to

        Do not wait any longer!  Now is the time to get another step closer to earning your certification.  


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        SQL Server 2008 Upgrade – Who’s First?

        Posted by denglishbi on August 7, 2008

        The SQL Server 2008 product went RTM yesterday afternoon and everyone is extremely excited for the new release and the blogging really picked up all day yesterday.  The new August SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack has now been released here which has links to download the data mining add-ins for Office 2007 and the latest Upgrade Advisor.  The new SQL Server 2008 install will require Windows Installer 4.5 and so will some of the other portions of the Feature Pack.  I don’t see the Report Builder 2.0 included in the Feature Pack, so still waiting on where to find the RTM version of that product.

        So why do you want to upgrade?  There are lots of reasons and tons of great enhancements that have been made.  Lots of time was spent on improving performance within each of the core components, so just upgrading alone you will potentially see 30 to 35 percent increases.  There are lots of new and exciting features in each new toolset that you can take advantage of and here are just a few of the highlights and check out the link here for an additional overview of the new features.

        SQL Mgmt Studio – intellisense (along with error list with validation performed pre-execution), new Activity Monitor, Object Search, PowerShell integration, debugger

        T-SQL – MERGE, GROUPING SETS, table valued parameters, new data types (Date, Time, DateTime2, Spatial, Hierarchyid)

        SSIS – Cache Transform, Data Profiling, Lookup Transform improvements, C# capabilities in script task

        SSRS – Report Builder 2.0, tablix, MS Word renderer, improved data visualizations (Dundas charting, gauges, etc.), enhanced textbox

        SSAS – enhanced dimension and aggregation designers, DMVs, over 50 AMO best practice warnings, improved time series algorithm, subspace computation and star join optimizations

        Additional  – Policy Based Management, Backup Compression, Data Compression, Auditing, Encryption enhancements, Change Data Capture

        The list goes on so definitely go to the SQL Server 2008 site and check out the data sheets and to see which version supports what check out the link here.  So who is ready to take the next step and perform the upgrade?  Contact me or Magenic and let us start talking and planning about making the migration to the next version or if you don’t have SQL Server yet we can talk about getting you setup and migrated off which ever database platform you might currently be on.  Maybe you just need the analytic portion on top of your existing platform, so why put it off, contact us nowSmile

        Posted in SQL Server | Leave a Comment »

        Did you know? SQL Server 2008 SSRS New Data Visualizations

        Posted by denglishbi on August 4, 2008

        The new Gauge data region is most often used to provide a high-level summary of your data by highlighting key performance indicator (KPI) values. The gauge uses a pointer to show a single value. You can add a range to highlight a subset of values on your scale and control the size and positioning of the scale on the gauge to create different visual effects.


        The new Chart data region supports a richer set of data visualization features. The new chart types include bar/column cylinder, pyramid, funnel, polar, radar, stock, candlestick, range column, range bar, smooth area, smooth line, stepped line, and box plot chart types. There is also built-in support for Pareto and Histogram charts.


        There are many more enhancements that have been made to the charting functionality, so check out the BOL link below and read all about them along with other new features.

        Check out a screencast about the new Data Visualizations in SQL Server 2008 here.

        Read more about this in the SQL Server 2008 BOL ‘What’s New in Report Authoring’.

        Did you know? SQL Server 2008 SSRS New Data Visualizations from Dan English on Vimeo.

        Posted in Reporting Services | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »