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

Archive for August, 2009

Gemini CTP2 Install Experience and Overview

Posted by denglishbi on August 29, 2009

It took me a while, but I tracked down the online links and filled out the survey to get access to the CTP2 release of Gemini known as ‘SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP and “Gemini” Add-in’.  I also signed up for the CTP3 Gemini Preview.

Here are the screenshots of the install and a quick demo of using the Excel add-in:

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Notice the new Add-ins being loaded when Excel 2010 is launched Message that is displayed to request permissions to install the new Add-in Notice the new Gemini section in the toolbar and that the circular Office button in the top left has been replaced with a new rectangular tab
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Gemini items available in the Ribbon Version information and feedback options New Windows opens up when you are going to load & prepare the data
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Gemini Client Window Home Ribbon options – notice the new icon in the top left Gemini Client Window Column Tools Ribbon options Import wizard to get data from database
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Setup the connection to database server and database (using Project REAL Warehouse Sample database) Select the source tables and you can chose the option to select related tables and preview/filter the data also Once you are done you will get the import summary (selected the date, store, item dimension tables, and the fact store inventory table)
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Import progress, notice that the fact table is already displaying more than 2 million rows! Each source table is pulled into separate worksheets in the Gemini Client Window – almost 4 million fact records! Create relationships between the tables once they are imported
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Progress of the relationship being created Ability to manage the relationships (view them, add new ones, and delete them) Now you are ready to start working with the data and create a PivotTable or PivotChart within the Excel Workbook that you initially created

That is a quick overview of the install process and a walkthrough of getting the data established with the new Gemini Add-in.  The data that I used for this example was from the Project REAL Reference Implementation.

For additional information in regards to Gemini take a look at some of these areas:

Posted in PowerPivot | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Chicago Technology Executive Club Webinar Follow-up

Posted by denglishbi on August 27, 2009

This afternoon during lunch I presented the webinar Business Dashboards – Developing a Culture of Intelligent Execution.  I think we experienced some audio issues, so I apologize for that.  I hope everyone got something out of the webinar and I really enjoyed all of the great questions that were asked.

I have gone ahead and uploaded my presentation to my SkyDrive account here (includes screenshots of demos and all resource links)


and the recording should be available on the Chicago Technology Executive Club website next week to watch here in the Webinars section and you can apply an additional filter to get at the Business Intelligence Track.  They also have a great section with additional resource information with a bunch of white papers in their library within the Business Intelligence section.

I want to thank everyone that attended today and please feel free to leave me comments or send me a message through this posting or blog site if you have any additional follow-up questions.  You can also contact Magenic at info@magenic.com to schedule a follow-up talk to discuss any potential projects or assessments that you would like to get started on within your own organizations.

Thanks again.

Posted in Business Intelligence | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

National PASS Board of Directors Nominations is Now Open

Posted by denglishbi on August 25, 2009

The 2009 elections process has kicked off! The PASS Board of Directors is currently looking for candidates to run for the Board’s 2010/2011 term. If you want to make a significant contribution to the SQL Server community while gaining major leadership and management experience, you should consider applying to become a candidate.  They are looking for people with a strategic eye who are passionate about PASS and are deeply involved in the Microsoft SQL Server Platform community. If that doesn’t sound like you but you know of someone who would make a great Director, please encourage them to apply. But hurry — the nominations period ends on September 3. To read more about the elections, please visit http://www.sqlpass.org/AboutPASS/Elections2009.aspx . You can download the application and read more about a Director’s role and benefits at http://www.sqlpass.org/AboutPASS/Elections2009/CallforNominations.aspx . Stay tuned to http://www.sqlpass.org for more updates!

Posted in News and politics | Leave a Comment »

Report Manager 2008 R2 August CTP Facelift

Posted by denglishbi on August 15, 2009

Still exploring around in the recently release SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP and this morning I am checking out the Report Manager interface. 

Here are some before and after screenshots comparing 2008 and 2008 R2:



2008 R2

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    Displays current location in the Browser’s title, removed the tabs, new look-and-feel, drop down list on items to get at additional options (without switching to details view), new icons
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    new look-and-feel, last run instead of when run
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    new loading message and cancel option
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    removed tabs, condensed the view to allow more space for viewing report, new icons, new Export to Data Feed option (.atomsvc output), and notice the title in the Browser tab – no more just ‘Report Manager’, displays current location also
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    new context menu on items to get at additional tasks such as Edit in Report Builder and Manage along with new Folder Settings option in the toolbar (no more properties tab)
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    This is the new Manage option in the context menu to get at the properties and also includes the History and Subscriptions information now

So you got to like the new UI changes.  The context menus on the items is a great improvement and I also like how the current location is displayed in the Browser window title.  Getting rid of the tabs was a nice improvement and making the report viewing area larger is nice also. 

When I selected the new Export to Data Feed option when viewing a report it generated a .atomsvc file which I went ahead and opened.  When I did this Excel 2010 fired up and the Gemini Add-In launched (I am currently evaluating the August CTP release).  Gemini was actually able to consume the data feed and pull in the data from the chart and tablix data regions that were in the report.  How cool is thatHot

I would have to definitely give the Reporting Services Product Team some kudos for the new changes.  Nicely done gangOpen-mouthed

Posted in Reporting Services | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Report Builder 3.0 August CTP Install Experience and Overview

Posted by denglishbi on August 14, 2009

So I tracked down the download for Report Builder 3.0 August CTP and went through the install to see what the big changes were.  Here are some screenshots of my installation experience:

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  138 MB required for install (compared to 86 MB with the Report Builder 2.0 installation – Report Builder 2.0 RTM install and overview)  
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Start Menu folder display the new splash screen New Map wizard available – same one that is in BIDS and I have screenshots in a previous posting which I list below
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Shows the new Map item available in the Data Regions list Shows the version number 10.50.1092.20 Updated tutorials that are included in the Report Builder 3.0 Help documentation – Creating a Map Report

Here is the full licensing terms message if you are interested:



Microsoft Corporation (or based on where you live, one of its affiliates) licenses this supplement to you. If you are licensed to use Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, August Community Technology Preview (August CTP) software (the “software”), you may use this supplement. You may not use it if you do not have a license for the software. You may use this supplement with each validly licensed copy of the software.

The following license terms describe additional use terms for this supplement. These terms and the license terms for the software apply to your use of the supplement. If there is a conflict, these supplemental license terms apply.

By using this supplement, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use this supplement.

If you comply with these license terms, you have the rights below.

1.        SQL SERVER REPORTING SERVICES MAP REPORT ITEM. The software may include features that retrieve content such as maps, images and other data through the Virtual Earth (or successor branded) application programming interface (the “Virtual Earth API”) to create reports displaying data on top of maps, aerial and hybrid imagery. If these features are included, you may use these features to create and view dynamic or static documents for the sole purpose of testing the software with your programs. Such use may only be in conjunction with and through methods and means of access integrated in the software. You may not otherwise copy, store, archive, or create a database of the content available through the Virtual Earth API. You may not use the Virtual Earth API to provide sensor based guidance/routing, nor use any Road Traffic Data or Bird’s Eye Imagery (or associated metadata) available through the Virtual Earth API for any purpose. Your use of the Virtual Earth API and associated content is also subject to the additional terms and conditions at <http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=21969>.

If you access the Reporting Services forums in the Resources it will bring you to http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sqlreportingservices/threads where you can search for related issues or design questions you might have.  This is a great resource and I would highly suggest checking it out and even helping out and contributing to threadsNerd

Robert Bruckner did a couple of new postings on his blog in regards to the new Map Report Item that I would suggest checking out and I also did one recently – Mapping data with SSRS 2008 R2.

If you want to check out the new Report Builder 3.0 CTP2 it is available for download here:

SQL Server® 2008 R2 Report Builder 3.0 : The download provides a stand-alone installer for Report Builder 3.0 that is specific for X86 only.

And you can access all of the SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP downloads here:

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 R2 August Community Technology Preview

Make sure you post any feedback comments, issues, suggestions, etc. on the Microsoft Connect site here for SQL Server – https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/Feedback.

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

Mapping data with SSRS 2008 R2

Posted by denglishbi on August 12, 2009

So I was testing out the new Map Report Item in SSRS 2008 R2 August CTP last night and this morning.  Still trying to get a feel for the new data visualization, but here are a couple of reports I put together using some data from the AdventureWorks2008 database.

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The first report is using the Map Gallery option and I am using the StateProvinceName field mapped to the STATENAME and displaying the 2003 Sales information.  The second one is using a SQL Server Spatial Query using the SpatialLocation information in the Address table for the Sales people which I added into the Sales.vSalesPerson view and it is using bubbles to display the 2003 Sales information on a Bing map with the Hybrid map option.  The nice thing about bubbles is that they provide you a way to evaluate two measures at once if you wanted – one by the size and the other by the color of the bubble.

Here are a few screenshots of the steps that I did to create these two reports:

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Select source for the spatial data Arrange the map and add a Bing map image reference if you want Select Visualization option
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Match the spatial field to dataset field Select Theme, Field to visualize, and color rule Load the report (new loading visualization in SSRS 2008 R2)
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Select source for the spatial data (going to utilize the spatial data in the SQL Server table) Select dataset for source of spatial data Choose spatial field layer type and map options
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Picked the option to add Bing Map and changed type to Hybrid (options are Road, Ariel, or Hybrid) Select the visualization type Choose the analytical dataset
Specify the Theme and Bubble options (size or color) and the field(s) to visualize    

That is a quick run through of two of the spatial source options with the Map Report Item.  I will have to work with these a little more and come up with some more interesting layouts and visualizations using this new Report Item.

UPDATE (12/12/2009): If you are going to be using the Map Gallery option you should know that this is case sensitive and that your analytical data needs to match exactly to the geographical data – Mapping data with Report Builder 3.0 (SSRS 2008 R2) Case Sensitive.

Posted in Reporting Services | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP Install Experience

Posted by denglishbi on August 11, 2009

Yesterday the Express and Enterprise Evaluation Editions of SQL Server 2008 R2 CTP became available to download within the TechNet/MSDN subscription area.  I downloaded the software and ran the install so I could check out some of the new features.  There are a few UI and naming changes in the installation wizard.  The one new addition is the Feature Role where you can perform the SQL Server Feature Installation (database engine, SSAS, SSRS, SSIS, etc.) or the Analysis Services with SharePoint Integration.  This new integration is to setup Gemini Services in a SharePoint farm – Enterprise version of SharePoint Fourteen (14 or 2010, thought it was odd how they spelled it out) is needed to perform this setup.

Here are some screenshots of the whole install process (Build version 10.50.1092):

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Please wait message Planning page menu Installation page menu
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Maintenance page menu Tools page menu Resources page menu
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Advanced page menu Options page menu Proceeding with install and evaluate setup support rules
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Select the Edition Accept license terms Setup the support files
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NEW – Feature Role: SQL Server feature install or Analysis Services with SharePoint Integration (Gemini Services) setup Feature selection Install rules
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Instance configuration Disk space requirements – 2684 MB required to perform full installation Specify service accounts
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Specify collation for database engine and Analysis Services Database account provisioning Database directory configuration
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Setup FILESTREAM Analysis Services account provisioning Analysis Services directory configuration
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Reporting Services configuration setup Error and Usage Reporting options Final install rule check
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Install summary list and configuration file path for install and logging Install progress About 20 minutes later I was done with the install
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Final completion message Still shows a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 menu option and still using the Visual Studio 2008 shell, assuming this will eventually be Visual Studio 2010 Management Studio splash screen
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Build version 10.50.1092 A couple new options in the context menu for deploying data-tier application Which provides a wizard to walk you through the process
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And a menu option for Multi Server Administration New Map Report Item in the Report Designer Toolbox And a new wizard to walk you through configuring the Map report item.  Select your map and get a preview (only USA maps and individual states available now)

Not that it matters, but I performed this install on a Windows 7 RC Ultimate virtual PC that also has the Office 2010 Technology Preview installed on it.

There is a new version of the BOL for the 2008 R2 release that you can download and review.  Just be careful because they will replace and upgrade your existing versions if you have one.

SQL Server 2008 R2 Books Online CTP August 2009

Well that was all for now.  More postings to come later as I start to use the new items and check out some of the changes and additions as I use the August CTP release.

Posted in SQL Server | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP Announcement

Posted by denglishbi on August 10, 2009

Got the email this morning for the SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP.


But wait, Gemini is not included…


Mainly because this requires all of the Office 14 (2010) Betas (Office Client and SharePoint).  So there is an additional survey that you have to fill out to get your spot reserved to get access to this CTP.


Register for the Gemini CTP2 Nomination Profile. Once your registration is complete, click here and then click on “Respond to this Survey” to complete the profile

So for now I will download the SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP, but wait…it isn’t there yet.

Download the SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP
Available on August 10th to TechNet/MSDN Subscribers and on August 12th to the general public

So I login to the subscription area and the download isn’t available yet.  Guess I will try back later today or just wait till Wednesday and download.  This is exciting news though, so stay tuned for lots of new SQL Server postings this week by the community.

Check out the SQL Server 2008 R2 site for more details – SQL Server 2008 R2 Information and New Site.

Download the BOL – SQL Server 2008 R2 Books Online CTP August 2009.

Also, the R2 release is available in the subscription download area now.  They have Express and Enterprise Evaluation Editions available:)

Posted in SQL Server | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Upcoming Magenic Webinar Schedule

Posted by denglishbi on August 9, 2009

Here is the list of free Webinars that are coming up.  Everything from performance testing, SharePoint, to BI along with a great series on Silverlight.  Take a look at the schedule and mark your calendars today.

Welcome to the August edition of our Webinar Schedule!
We are pleased to introduce a series of exciting new webinars! For the month of August, we offer webinars on what Metrics Every Performance Testing Engagement Should Provide to Ensure Application Stability and on how to use SharePoint for Extranets. In collaboration with the Chicago Technology Executives Club, we are offering Business Dashboards – Developing a Culture of Intelligent Execution with Magenic’s Dan English. In September, we begin a 5-part series on Silverlight Application Migration with Rocky Lhotka, Corey Miller, and Anthony Handley. We will cover the topics, Why Silverlight?, Windows to Silverlight, Web to Silverlight, Reimagining the UI in SIlverlight, and Silverlight: Service-oriented vs. n-tier. We are excited for you to attend these educational, cutting-edge webinars from our experts!

Magenic Webinars are complimentary and are designed as a resource for IT decision makers. Learn from our experts and have your questions ready for the Q&A at the end of each presentation. Register now for these exciting webinars!

Thursday, August 20th, 11:00 PT, 1:00 CT, 2:00 ET
Do you know how your application will perform when you go live?  Performance Testing will simulate how your application will perform with real life scenarios, enabling you to find and fix performance issues prior to launch. This will enable you eliminate risk and potential system down time, such as your customers not being able to access your website. This presentation will help guide you through the initiation, planning, and execution phases of your Performance Testing Engagement.

Thursday, August 27th, 11:00 PT, 1:00 CT, 2:00 ET
SharePoint 2007 seems to be everywhere. This webinar will offer a perspective on the key issues involved in leveraging the SharePoint platform for Extranets. Topics will include an overview and common pitfalls related to: Security, Authentication & Authorization, Architecture, Search, and Content Management.

We are excited to introduce our 5-part Silverlight Application Migration series beginning in September. Rocky Lhotka, Corey Miller, and Anthony Handley will be presenting this series. Click the picture above for full descriptions of each webinar and registration for the entire series or the webinars of your choice.

Wednesday, August 26th, 10:00 PT, 12:00 CT, 1:00 ET
In the current economic climate, it is more important than ever for business stakeholders to have a pulse on what is happening in their organization. Implementing an Executive Dashboard allows an organization to more effectively and efficiently execute on strategy, improve business processes and manage key company metrics proactively. This webinar is presented by Magenic’s Dan English in conjunction with the Chicago Technology Executives Club.

Posted in Training | Leave a Comment »

What’s your Wordle look like?

Posted by denglishbi on August 9, 2009

Came across this recently browsing around through some blog postings and I saw a posting on Jeff Jone’s site http://spstring.jeffthink.com/ that said What’s your Wordle?  I was intrigued so I had to check it out and I ran my blog URL through it to see what it came up with.  Here is what I ended up with (after a few randomizations):


So what is Wordle?  According to the site it is the following:

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

I thought it was interesting to see what it came up with and it has lots of different options for the layout designs too.  Check it out for yourself and see what your Wordle looks like – http://www.wordle.net/create.

Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a Comment »