Dan English's BI Blog

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

PASS Summit 2009 Conference – Day 3 Recap

Posted by denglishbi on November 6, 2009

The final day of the conference, unless you are attending the post-conference sessions, and it ended strong.  Had to wait until the 2nd to last session for the Advanced Dashboard creation with PPS and it was worth it.  If you haven’t heard already, project ‘Madison’ is now SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse and of course ‘Gemini’ is PowerPivot (for Excel 2010 and also SharePoint 2010).  It has been stated that PowerPivot will be a free download and add-in for Excel 2010 and this will not require a SQL Server license unlike Report Builder, but additional licensing will be needed on the SharePoint 2010 side of the world.

For the sessions today I checked out:

SQLCAT: A Preview of PowerPivot Best Practices: excellent session provide pre-release ideas and concepts for configuring and deploying PowerPivot with SharePoint 2010 environment; there will be a 2GB max file size upload and uploads to SharePoint are not optimized like downloads; trick for upload is to attach to database views for data that include filters, setup PowerPivot file, upload, remove filter in database view, refresh PowerPivot source through SharePoint; got to take a look behind the scenes to see what was going on with the data that is cached with in-memory data files (SSAS file structure system) and on the server these will be extracted out into the SSAS backup directory (cached for later use)

Advanced BI Capabilities in Excel & Excel Services: Excel 2010 will provide x64 version; ability to search within filters to select items in filter list, ability to create named sets in Excel 2010 along with using MDX to define these and setup dynamic sets too (drilldown capability not available with named sets in Excel); leverage what-if analysis to update forecast or use for budgeting and writeback to cube (if allowed to); slicers provide additional visualizations of what you are looking at to make it easier to interpret; repeat labels option with PivotTables to provide ability to leverage Excel formulas to do calculations (like LOOKUP functions); ability to enter data in Excel Services leveraging JavaScript (reference the JavaScript file within content editor on page within a web part – no writeback capabilities yet); leverage REST API to create URI that will have direct access within a Excel file in SharePoint (could reference charts in Excel files to embed these into a PowerPoint presentation – linked so it will refresh when the data changes)

Advanced Dashboard creation with PerformancePoint Services: showed how the PPS elements were able to interact with other SharePoint web part items (can setup connections between the items on the web page when you design the page in SharePoint); showed setting up a KPI calculation from two different data sources; streamlined SharePoint deployment (goodbye wizard)

Managing PowerPivot: Analysis Services with SharePoint Integration (new farm or existing farm setup) [this is a install option with SQL Server 2008 R2]; you need to install SharePoint prior to the SQL Server 2008 R2 setup for SSAS SharePoint Integration (don’t run the configuration wizard, that will be done by the SQL Server 2008 R2 install); by default the management dashboard data is updated daily, but that is configurable; able to track the creator, data sources, users, and usage for each of the PowerPivot files


Not related to the conference at all, but it was announced during the Excel sessions: sign-up for Micorosft Web Applications in the Clouds – http://skydrive.live.com/acceptpreview.aspx/.documents?aobrp=browse.

That’s it for me;, the PASS 2009 Summit has now concluded.  Now we wait for the November releases of SQL Server 2008 R2, PowerPivot, Report Builder 3.0, SharePoint 2010, Office 2010, Master Data Service, … (did I miss anything).


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