Dan English's BI Blog

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

Archive for March, 2011

Free SQL Server Community April 2011 Training

Posted by denglishbi on March 31, 2011

Head over to Pragmatic Works site and take a look at all of the training that is available in April.  The format has changed a bit to be setup for every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. EST (great idea to have a consistent schedule!) and they have a new logo and slogan “SQL Server Community free Training on the T’s”.  imageThere is also a new Twitter account you can follow to stay up-to-date on what is going on – PWFreeTraining.

  • April 5, Shawn Harrison – Intro to Variables and Expressions in SSIS 
  • April 7, Mark Stacey – Using PerformancePoint and Visio to create Strategy maps 
  • April 12, Ben Evans & Robert Harris – .Net Revolutions 
  • April 14, Mark Stacey – Using Visio Services to visualise data in SharePoint 
  • April 19, Veronique Palmer – Understanding Site Wikis in SharePoint 2010 
  • April 21, Joe Salvatore – Reporting Services – Dissecting the Tablix 
  • April 26, Veronique Palmer – Mastering SharePoint Permissions 
  • April 28, Brian Knight – Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2010

If you miss a session they record them and you can check them out later on-demand in the webinar resource area.

They already have the line up going for May as well, so if you want to plan ahead you are all set.  Just remember the disclaimer that the speakers are subject to change, so always check back to see what is going on.

So what are you waiting for, get registered for one of these spectacular webinars today – Webinar Registration.


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

MN Microsoft BI User Group 2011 Q1 Follow up

Posted by denglishbi on March 30, 2011

[tweetmeme source=”denglishbi” only_single=”false”]

Last week was the first meeting of the year for our Minnesota Microsoft BI User Group.  The topic for the whole evening was Analysis Services including talks at getting started with SSAS (UDM) project, some tips & tricks, and then my PowerPivot presentation.

We also tried using LiveMeeting for the first time with recording the presentations and hopefully in the next week or so we will be able to share that content as well.  We will see because it was the first time and I haven’t had a chance to check out the recordings yet.

In general I think the presentations went well and we had around 70 people all together and another dozen or so on the LiveMeeting.  The one thing that didn’t go so well for me was when I had to share my desktop to do my presentation.  For some reason LiveMeeting was forcing me to switch to a 800×600 resolution (haven’t ran into this before, but usually only have to switch to a 1024×768).  Well needless to say when it came time to do my PowerPivot demo it pretty much tanked.  Trying to work with PowerPivot with this resolution is pretty much impossible, especially went it comes time to create the PivotTables and PivotCharts along with slicers in Excel.

If you are curious to what I was experiencing here is what PowerPivot looks like at 800×600:


When I initially loaded the data into the PowerPivot window for some reason I was unable to see the tabs on the bottom of the window, so I couldn’t figure out how to switch between the tables.  Once I closed the windows and reloaded it I was able to see the tabs though (nothing like being put on the spot – I felt like an id10t).  Now that I have ran into this issue I figured out a few workarounds for in the future like in Excel I can minimize the Ribbon and utilize the zooming capabilities in the lower-right hand corner.  Once you do this you can get a little more working room (this doesn’t work in the PowerPivot window though).  After you do these modifications you can at least see what you are doing to a certain degree:


There were quite a few spots where I couldn’t even position the dialog boxes in a position where I could even click the buttons in them, so I was just hoping that if I clicked ‘Enter’ that the dialog box would close and accept my changes I made (and they did, thankfully).  It is also hard to find items in the Ribbon when it gets squished down, so you just have to be pretty much prepared for anything when it comes to doing a live demo.  I tried to salvage the demo as best as I could, but eventually I had to give up and toss in the towel.  I was extremely disappointed and felt awful for the attendees.  I am hoping that what I was able to show along with the content that people found it useful.  I am planning on creating a video of my PowerPivot demo to share as well.  Once I have this available I will post an additional follow up posting with that as well.image

For now I will simply provide some of my blog postings as references for some of the items I mentioned in my presentation and share my presentation as well.  Here are the blog posting references to some items I covered:

I do have more postings as well, you can simply check out the items through the PowerPivot tag.

Here is my presentation deck (available from my SkyDrive account) and stay tuned for the video; I will have it available soon and post on Vimeo with my other videos and post a follow up here on my blog.  Until then, enjoy the presentation content.


Posted in Business Intelligence, PowerPivot, Training | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

SSIS Package Copy/Paste New GUID (ID) Fix

Posted by denglishbi on March 25, 2011

When doing development with Integration Services (SSIS) in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) it is quite common to copy an existing SSIS package to begin work on a new one.  This could be because you have a package template that you are using in your environment or possibly just to back up your package because you want to make a modification and are not using a source control system (definitely not a best practice to not be using a source control system).

The one thing you need to be aware of at least when performing a copy/paste of an existing package in BIDS 2005 and 2008 is that each package is setup with a unique identifier known as a GUID.


When you copy and paste the existing package to begin working on a new version of the package the cloned version of the package will keep all of the same values of the template copy of the package.


This can become very problematic when you have SSIS logging enabled and are trying to troubleshoot a package and all of your packages have the same GUID value assigned to them.  So in BIDS 2005 and 2008 the way to get around this problem was to use the drop-down list in the ID property to generate a new ID (GUID) value to the copied (cloned) version of the master package.


NOTE: Doing this only assigns a new ID (GUID) value to the package.  All of the other items in the package will all still have the same ID values as the template package

The other option you have in changing the ID values is to leverage the BIDSHelper add-in that is available on CodePlex.  I had forgotten about this option and a special thanks goes out to Bhavik Merchant (Blog | Twitter) for reminding me about this through Twitter land yesterday.


The nice thing about doing this with the BIDSHelper add-in is that it will not only assign the package a new ID value, but also all of the other items within the package!


This is a great feature because if you have the setup like I did above with a Data Flow Task and are going to use Data Viewers you might have run into this issue before – SSIS package copy paste data flow task (dft) data viewer issue.   This bug is in BIDS 2005 and 2008 (has been fixed in 2008 R2 though).  When you add a Data Viewer into your cloned package and then go back to your template package you will see that the Data Viewer exists in both!  Wow, what a cool feature and it really freaks you out when you run your cloned package and get all of these popups, especially if you have 10 or 15 cloned packages in a single project.  Really neat, NOT.

Cloned Package 2


Template Package


But if you are using the BIDSHelper add-in this would resolve the issue because it assigns new ID values to all of the items, so this would not be an issue.

Cloned Package 1


Lets fast forward now into BIDS 2008 R2.  If you copy and paste a package in BIDS 2008 R2 the new package automatically gets assigned a new ID (GUID) value.  So the issue of having multiple packages with the same ID values has been resolved out-of-the-box with no additional actions required by the developer.  A nice little feature that I experienced yesterday and noticed.  I had still been using the generate new ID option without even realizing the copied package already had a new ID value. 

BIDS 2008 R2

Template Package


Cloned Package


The trick is that you have to actually rename the package and it will assign a new ID value to the copied package.

This doesn’t assign new values to the other items, but the issue that you experience with the Data Flow Task and Data Viewers is fixed in BIDS 2008 R2.

Cloned Package


Template Package


So with BIDS 2008 R2 you get new ID values for each copied SSIS package and the issue with using Data Viewers in copied Data Flow Tasks has been fixed as well.  You might still want to leverage the functionality of the BIDSHelper though to assign all items in the package a new GUID (ID) value.

Pretty cool and I didn’t even realize this was updated in BIDS 2008 R2.

UPDATE (4/11/2011): Acutally realized that this is fixed in BIDS 2008 as well.  The reason I didn’t notice it before is that because you need to actually rename the package file after the copy/paste.  Once you do this it will provide the package a new GUID (ID) value.

Posted in Integration Services | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

PASSMN March 15, 2011 Meeting

Posted by denglishbi on March 4, 2011

The next Minnesota SQL Server User Group (PASSMN) meeting is coming up in a couple of weeks.  The topic will be about SQL Azure and will also touch on the CTP of SQL Azure Reporting.

The sponsor for this meeting is Magenic:


“SQL Azure – Relational Data in the Cloud


  • 2:45-3:00 : Registration / hospitality / networking
  • 3:00-3:15 : Announcements etc.
  • 3:15-4:45 : Steve Hughes: SQL Azure – Relational Data in the Cloud
  • 4:45-5:00 : Closing comments/prize giveaways


SQL Azure – Relational Data in the Cloud (Steve Hughes, Magenic) – This session will review SQL Azure capabilities and tools. We want to look at what we can do on the platform and what may be some shortcomings of the platform at this point. We will take time to evaluate what place SQL Azure has within our data environments and some viable use cases for using it. Finally, we will crack open the SQL Azure Reporting CTP to get a “first look” at this latest offering from Microsoft.

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