Dan English's BI Blog

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

Archive for January, 2009

BIDS Helper 1.4 Released

Posted by denglishbi on January 29, 2009

Just wanted to let everyone know that a new release came out this week.  Check out the add-in for BIDS out on CodePlex here – BIDS Helper.  The new features include the following (along with a few enhancements):

Release 1.4 contains a number of new features:

    And it contains a number of enhancements and bug fixes:

  • Integration Services
      • As you can see there are a couple of features for Reporting Services nowSmile  You can see how datasets are being used and also which ones are not.  Even an option to delete those cached dataset files from within BIDSOpen-mouthed  SSIS now has a documentation report that you can generate to get some high-level information to for the packages.  I see that there has been one source code change since the release, so if you want to be on the latest and greatest then check out the source code section.

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

        SQL Server Integration Services – Enterprise Manageability Follow-up

        Posted by denglishbi on January 26, 2009

        Last Thursday David Pendleton, Magenic Senior Consultant, and I got a unique opportunity to do a presentation at our local Microsoft Office in Bloomington, MN to approximately 65 attendees.  I was really happy at the great turnout we had and we had some really good questions asked during and after each presentation.  I want to thank everyone that attended and also provide everyone access to our materials.  I have uploaded them all to my SkyDrive account and they are available here to download – SSIS Enterprise Manageability.  You will find a copy of the presentation material and the demos for review.

        I also wanted to include some additional source information for reference here if anyone is interested in doing some additional reading:

        Managing and Deploying SQL Server Integration Services

        What’s new in SQL Server 2008 for SSIS

        dtexec.exe what are you doing? (PowerShell monitoring example)

        Loading and Running a Remote Package Programmatically

        How to: Implement a Signing Policy by Setting a Registry Value

        If you are interested in taking a look at some videos I have a couple that I have made in regards to the Data Profiling Task and also the Cache Transform.  I do have more videos available for viewing on SoapBox and YouTube.

        If you have any additional questions about the material that was presented feel free to drop me a line through my blog and I will follow-up with you.  Don’t forget a few of the tips that I pointed out in regards to including the –nosplash in your shortcuts, setting the show precedence constraint labels in the Tools Options, and also that the default Scripting code is set in the Tools Options for C# or Visual Basic in the Integration Services Designers (under Business Intelligence Designers).  Don’t forget to download and install BIDS Helper too – a must have if you are doing SSIS or SSAS development.

        image    image

        Another great source for getting information in regards to SSIS questions is to take a look at the MSDN forums here – SQL Server Integration Services.  And you never know, I might be the one respondingNerd

        I also want to thank everyone that made this possibly and once again a special thank you to everyone that attended and made this a great eventHot

        Forgot to mention two other resources that I mentioned during the presentation:

        The Microsoft Data Warehouse Toolkit Book Website

        The Project REAL download (Project REAL main site: Project REAL – Business Intelligence in Practice)


        Posted in Integration Services | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

        PerformancePoint Server (PPS) v2 now Office 14 SharePoint Portal Server

        Posted by denglishbi on January 23, 2009

        Yesterday I was informed that the next release of PerformancePoint Server (version 2) will now become part of the next release of SharePoint Server Enterprise (Office 14).  This was not public information yet and unfortunately it was leaked a little earlier “Just call me Office 14 SharePoint PerformancePoint Services”.  This did cause a little outbreak in the forums “PPS Planning is being discontinued”. 

        Microsoft has decided to include the rich analytics of PPS Monitoring & Analytics for its customers to expand on the existing dashboard and KPI features that exist in MOSS 2007 today.  This is great news for existing MOSS Enterprise customers since starting today they will be able to get PerformancePoint Server at no additional cost.

        This summer there will be a service pack (SP) 3 released for PPS 2007, but after that no further development will be done with the Planning portion of the product.  That is bad news for the consulting and vendors (Orange Peel) that focused on the Planning portion.  Like Chris Webb “So, farewell then PerformancePoint Planning”, I also did not dive fully into the Planning portion yet, but I was optimistic that it would eventually become a mature product.  It definitely looked promising and it completed the Performance Management lifecycle process.  I was eventually going to get my certification 70-556 TS: Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, Applications, but I guess I will hold off now and wait for the SharePoint Office 14 equivalent since this test was 80 to 90% focused on Planning.

        I am assuming this is part of the big “Microsoft Reports Second-Quarter Results” announcement yesterday and now the economy downfall is finally forcing Microsoft to start to make some tough decisions.

        So with v2 of the PPS product (and I am not talking about Project Portfolio Server) WSS customers will be out of luck.  This will now become fully baked into the Enterprise version of SharePoint like the existing dashboard, KPI, and Excel Services features.  It does sound like there will be a very drastic reduction in the CAL licensing, but I will leave that to the licensing experts.  With the Office 14 release in H1 2010, which will be followed up by the SQL Server 2008 Feature Update ‘”Kilimanjaro”, it sounds like the advanced analytics of ProClarity (like Decomposition Tree and Performance Map) will be finally incorporated into the productSmile

        For some additional insight and thoughts take a look at Peter Koller’s posting here – PerformancePoint is no more.

        UPDATE: Here is the official announcement and a video you can check out – Microsoft BI Strategy UpdateTake a few minutes and watch this video with Guy Weismantel, Director of Microsoft BI. In it, Guy explains these changes and the future value Microsoft customers will gain from this strategy. (link to video)

        UPDATE (1/28/2009): For additional information in regards to this announcement check out this posting in the PerformancePoint M&A Forums – Microsoft Business Intelligence Announcement Q&A.

        Posted in PerformancePoint | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

        Free Microsoft Software for College Students Update

        Posted by denglishbi on January 18, 2009

        I had done a posting last February, “Free Microsoft Software for College Students”, and I just wanted to send an update in regards to this.  The Microsoft DreamSpark program offers free developer and design tools to students.  The software available is Visual Studio Professional 2005 and 2008, XNA Game Studio 2.0, Microsoft Expression Studio 2, Windows Server 2003 and 2008 Standard Editions, and SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition.

        The other free tools that are available to anyone are Visual C# 2008, Visual C++ 2008, Visual Basic 2008, Visual Web Developer 2008, SQL Server 2008 Express Editions, and Microsoft Virtual PC.

        Express Editions

        Microsoft Virtual PC 2007

        Another deal for students is to get Office 2007 Ultimate 2007 for $59.95, Windows Vista Ultimate Upgrade for $64.95, or Office Visio Professional 2007 for $55.95 – Microsoft Discounts for US Students.  Not a bad deal.  So if you know anyone that is a student you might want to give them a callNerd

        Posted in Downloads | 1 Comment »

        Magenic Business Intelligence Webinar Video Recordings

        Posted by denglishbi on January 17, 2009

        Back in September Aaron Lowe and I re-did our “Make Better Decisions with Your Data” presentation and in October we did a webinar titled “Driving BI with SQL Server 2008”.  Just wanted to let everyone know that these recording are available on the Magenic site for viewing.

        Driving Business Intelligence with SQL Server 2008 (10/15/08 Webinar)

        BI Discussion: How to Make Better Decisions with your Data (9/16/08 Webinar)

        Make Better Decisions with Your Data (6/24/08) (our original presentation)

        You can view all of the recorded Magenic webinars on the Presentations portion of the website.  You can check out the upcoming Magenic webinars on the News & Events page and there is a spot to sign up for the newsletter tooHot  If for some reason you have any issues with the recording links above you can try doing a right-click and choose the ‘save target as’ option to get the wmv file.

        If you want to grab a copy of the presentation to review or reference I have them all available on my SkyDrive for viewing here in the Webinars folder.

        Feel free to leave me feedback on the webinars and if you have any questions about the content leave a comment here or send me a message.

        Other areas to check out for Microsoft content to download are the Microsoft Download Center and also the Microsoft Research Downloads area.  Lots of free programs and content to check out.  EnjoySmileOpen-mouthed

        Posted in Training | Leave a Comment »

        Fairwell Circuit City…it was good while it lasted

        Posted by denglishbi on January 16, 2009

        Liquidation starts tomorrow and the protection plans are still being supported by 3rd party if you have one.  So much for our local Best Buy competition.
        Read all of the details here – http://www.circuitcity.com/closed.html.
        Apparently the Canadian stores will remain open.

        Posted in News and politics | Leave a Comment »

        PASSMN January 20, 2009 Monthly Meeting

        Posted by denglishbi on January 16, 2009

        The next PASSMN Minnesota SQL Server User Group meeting is coming up next week.  The meeting is on January 20 from 3 PM to 5:15 PM.  You can visit the local site to get registered at http://www.mnssug.org or click on the link to register here.

        This month the topics are:

        SQL Server 2008 Manageability Overview (speaker Buck Woody, Microsoft) – Microsoft has released the most powerful version of SQL Server to date and with it comes new tools to manage, monitor and tune your database platforms. Buck Woody will explain and demonstrate many of these management improvements. Come ready to learn and ask questions about Policy Based Management, the Data Collector, PowerShell for SQL Server, and more. 

        ORM Database Design (speaker Gordon Everest, University of Minnesota) – ORM is a high-level, conceptual data modeling scheme. ORM makes normalization unnecessary. With its associated design tools, you can automatically generate a relational database design which is guaranteed to be in fifth normal form! Then, automatically generate the relational database definition for your favorite DBMS. If you use MS Visual Studio, you may already have an ORM modeling tool.

        Just a reminder that the group meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.  If you are in the area and available to attend please join us and stop by and say ‘Hi’.

        Posted in Training | Tagged: | 1 Comment »