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Archive for December, 2011

PASSMN December 2011 Meeting Follow Up

Posted by denglishbi on December 21, 2011

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Last night was the monthly Minnesota SQL Server User Group meeting at the new Microsoft Technology Center in Edina.  There was a good turnout for a December and a panel discussion with around maybe 40 or so.  The new PASSMN Board members for 2012 were announced:Minnesota SQL Server Users Group

  • Chair – Steve Hughes
  • Director of Program Development – Tim Plas
  • Director of Membership/Treasurer – Joshuha Owen
  • Director of Corporate Development – Bill Preachuk
  • Director of Technology – Andy Lohn
  • Director of SQL Saturday – Paul Timmerman
  • Microsoft Liaison – Ajay Nangia

You can see that a new role was added to focus just on the SQL Saturday event which is tentatively scheduled for Friday, October 12, 2012 (so mark your calendars and start planning your sessions).

Congrats to the newly elected board members and congrats and well done to the 2011 Executive Board.  Jason Strate has handed over the reigns now and will focus on his PASS Regional Mentor role. 

The sponsor for the meeting was KForce and they provided cookies, cider, water, and coffee (along with some nice swag).  Everyone at the meeting got at least one if not two giveaways as well with all of the items that were contributed.


The SQL Server 2012 Panel discussion went well last night.  Lots of good questions, but we were limited on time so had to keep it fairly brief.  The topics that people were interested in were licensing changes (of course, this is changing from processor to core now, which was inevitable the way technology is heading), extended events, deprecated features, SSAS and PowerPivot, SSIS, cloud, appliances, and a few more.

For some information on the licensing changes check out the following links:SQLServer2012_340x70

So start planning ahead and if you are thinking about buying licensing, now is the time so you can get covered with your software assurance for the new release.

If you want to check out the current release for testing purposes take a look at the resources here – SQL Server 2012 RC0 is here.

Happy holidays and see you in the new year!

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

MN Microsoft BI User Group Q4 2011 Follow Up

Posted by denglishbi on December 20, 2011

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A couple of weeks ago we had our final BI User Group meeting for the year in Minnesota.  We had our meeting at the new location at the new Microsoft Technology Center in Edina which is a fabulous facility.  This month we had two presentations, one was an I.C. System case study by Rowland Gosling and the other was covering Integration Services (SSIS) 2012 new features by Steve Hughes. Both presentations were recorded, but for some reason the audio was not captured for our first one.

The content for the meeting is available on the user group site – 12/6/2011 I. C. System Case Study and SSIS SQL Server 2012.MN MIcrosoft BI User Group

You can download the presentation material, the BI User Group opening presentation material, and you can access the video from Steve’s presentation as well which is available on Vimeo.

In addition to that I mentioned a couple of resources at the meeting that I would follow up with to provide the group.  I did post these after the meeting in the discussion area on our LinkedIn Group – Microsoft BI User Group of Minnesota.

If you are not signed up for the LinkedIn group I would highly recommend it.  This is a great way for you to connect and network with others, interact with discussions, receive user group updates and news, and post or access job opportunities.  I know that we have more than 73 people in the user group, so let’s see if we can get the membership number up before the next meeting in March.

Since I brought up the next meeting let’s talk about the dates for next year.  Here are the scheduled dates for next year’s meetings:

  • Tue, Mar 6 2012
  • Tue, Jun 5 2012
  • Wed, Sep 5 2012
  • Tue, Dec 4 2012

The meetings will continue to be at the new location – Microsoft Technology Center – 3601 76th St W, Suite 600 Edina MN 55435 (in LOW 1, 2, and 3).

Next month we are planning on sending out a user group survey to get some feedback of how things are going and to plan accordingly for the upcoming year to determine if any changes or particular content is needed.  Please take the time to provide us some feedback.  We are already lining up presentations for next year and we use your evaluations and feedback to help us determine the content that is presented, so this is valuable information.  So if you don’t provide feedback then it is hard for us to know what you are interested in or would like to see changed or improved upon.

We are looking to a great 2012 with a new product launch.  If you have heard there is a new version of SQL Server coming out and you can download and take a look at the latest release that is available – SQL Server 2012 RC0 is here.

Until then I want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season!

Posted in Business Intelligence, Training | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Installing Data Explorer Desktop Client

Posted by denglishbi on December 19, 2011

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In this post I will go over the installation of the new “Data Explorer” client tool that is available to download as an Office plugin providing you the ability to launch the tool from within Excel.  Data Explorer is a new tool available in the SQL Azure Labs in the cloud that allows you to do some self-service ETL capabilities.  You can pull in your data from Excel, flat files, databases, the web, data feeds, etc. and then mash the data up as well.  Along with this Microsoft will also provide you additional data recommendations form the Azure Data Marketplace that might be of interest to integrate with your data and then you can publish the new set of data.  Once the new data is published you can consume it back into Excel using the Excel plugin and also make it available to others to consume as well.

So let’s take a look at the requirements for this new Excel plugin:

System requirements

Supported Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista

  • .NET 3.5 SP1
  • Office 2010 SP1 or Office 2007

You can download the tool (32-bit or 64-bit) from the Microsoft Download Center here – SQL Azure Labs Codename “Data Explorer” Client (Labs Release)

Here is a quick walkthrough of the install process




Once you have this installed you will see that this adds a new add-in to Excel called ‘Data Explorer Excel Add-In’:


And this will add a new section in the ‘Data’ tab of the Excel Ribbon called ‘Data Explorer’ with two buttons, one opens the Data Explorer tool to create workspaces and work with data, and the other one allows you to connect so that you can consume data into Excel.


The current version of the Data Explorer client is:

Version: 1.0.2755.2 (Release)

For more information check out the following sites:

Check out some of the postings by fellow SQL Server MVPs Jamie Thomson and Chris Webb as well:

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PASSMN December 20, 2011 Meeting

Posted by denglishbi on December 15, 2011

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The next Minnesota SQL Server User Group meeting is coming up next week on Tuesday, December 20. The topic this month is panel discussion on SQL Server 2012.  One thing to point out is that the meetings are no longer in Bloomington anymore, they are over at the Microsoft Technology Center in Edina.

Minnesota SQL Server Users Group

Location: 3601 West 76th Street, Suite 600 Edina, MN 55437

Date/Time: Tuesday, December 20 from 3 to 5 p.m. 

Live Meeting: SQLServer2012_340x70


  • 3:00-3:15 : Registration / hospitality / networking
  • 3:15-3:30 : Announcements etc.
  • 3:30-4:45 : SQL Server 2012 Feature Panel Discussion
  • 4:45-5:00 : Closing comments/prize giveaways

Please click here for meeting details and to RSVP for the event

SQL Server 2012 Panel:

Steve Hughes is Principal Consultant at Magenic Technologies. His area of expertise is in data and business intelligence architecture on the Microsoft SQL Server platform. He was also the data architect for a SaaS company which delivered a transportation management solution for fleets across the United States. Steve has co-authored two books and regularly presents on SQL Server and data architecture.

Ajay Nangia is a Data Platform Technology Specialist at Microsoft. In this role, Ajay enables customers and partners to develop, deploy, and support solutions based on Microsoft’s Database Technologies. Ajay has a long history of working with SQL Server – from its internals to application and BI development on the platform.

Others – as far as I know there will be a few others on the panel as well. Jin Cho from Microsoft will be there along with possibly Lara Rubbelke from Microsoft and myself (maybe Jason Strate as well?).

Hope to see you there and looking forward to some good discussions and questions regarding SQL Server 2012!

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Using Database Images in Tabular BI Semantic Models with Power View

Posted by denglishbi on December 9, 2011

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Now that the SQL Server 2012 RC0 release is out I wanted to do a follow up posting to my Using Images in Tabular BI Semantic Models with Crescent (now officially known as Power View).  With this release there is now full support for using images stored in the database – binary data type support has now been added to model development in PowerPivot and Tabular Analysis Services projects.

In this example I will use the AdventureWorksDW database sample again that I used in the previous posting.  First I will load the data into a model using SQL Server Data Tools (formerly known as Business Intelligence Development Studio – BIDS) inside a Tabular Analysis Services project.


Nothing new here except for the fact you will notice some changes in the Properties area for the column compared to what it looked like in the CTP3 release where now we have two sections – Basic and Reporting Properties.

If we just go ahead and deploy the project as-is without making any changes what will happen?  Will we be able to start using the LargePhoto column?  Let’s take a look.  If we deploy the project and then setup a BI Semantic Model Connection in SharePoint


And then launch Power View


We will see that the LargePhoto column is not available in our Field List to select from


And yes, now the field list is in alphabetical order! Awesome.

So how do we make this column available?  Let’s go back into the model design.  In order to make this column available we need to do two things.

First we need to set the row identifier property on the Product table and we will do this using the ProductKey column and set that property to True.


Next we need to set the default image property on the LargePhoto column and change this value to True.


Now we deploy our model again to our server and refresh the browser to reconnect to our model connection.  Now what do we see in the field list?


We now see the LargePhoto column and we can use this in our visualizations that we add to the Power View canvas.



Now how do we do this in PowerPivot with the RC0 add-in?  Well this has changed a bit as well now as far as the UI.

First you need to switch to Advanced Mode in the PowerPivot Window


Now with the Product table selected switch to the Advanced tab in the Ribbon and click on the new Table Behavior option in the Reporting Properties section


Now we will get a new dialog box where we will need to set the row identifier and default image properties for our Product Table


Now that we have this set we can upload this to our PowerPivot Gallery and launch Power View


And now we should see the exact same list and options like we had with our Tabular project



And that is the quick update I wanted to post in regards to the change in RC0 for support for database images and to show you how some of the property and menu options have changed.

Enjoy and don’t forget to get your copy of SQL Server 2012 RC0 so you can start testing it out and planning your roadmap change to the next release of SQL Server.

If you are looking for resources and information to the RC0 release check out this great list that Nick MacKechnie put together here – SQL Server 2012 RC News.

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

TDWI Minneapolis Chapter Event: Extreme Scoping – Dec 13

Posted by denglishbi on December 2, 2011

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The next TDWI Minneapolis Chapter meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 13 and it will take place in Minneapolis at the University of St. Thomas. The meeting will be talking about agile data warehousing and business intelligence. Here are all of the details:

http://tdwichapters.org/Minneapolis (or http://www.tdwimpls.org/)

When: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where:  University of St. Thomas – Minneapolis Campus, Opus Hall 201, 1000 LaSalle Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Use this interactive map the St. Thomas campus to locate Opus Hall and nearby parking.

Parking tip: Use the city-owned parking lot adjoining the campus by entering on Hennepin Ave at 10th. The elevator can bring you directly to the second level where our meeting room is located.

Thanks to Jim O’Connor and the University of St. Thomas for hosting this event.

Click here to register for the next upcoming event


  • 7:45 – 8:15 a.m. – Networking and Registration
  • 8:15 – 8:30 a.m. – Introduction and Chapter Business
  • 8:30 – 9:45 a.m. – Extreme Scoping™, An Agile Approach to Enterprise Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence – Larissa Moss
  • 10:00 – 10:15 a.m. – Break and Networking
  • 10:15 – 11:30 a.m. – Extreme Scoping™, An Agile Approach to Enterprise Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence – Larissa Moss Part II
  • 11:30 – 11:45 p.m. – Q&A and Collaboration
  • 11:45 – 12:00 p.m. – Closing Comments & Wrap-Up

Click here to register for the next upcoming event

Abstract – There is unanimous agreement among agile authors, experts, and practitioners that agile development works well for building small, stand-alone systems, including front-end BI applications, for one user or one department. However, there is considerable disagreement among these experts whether agile can work for large, complex systems like an enterprise data warehouse, which requires an enterprise perspective across many users and many departments for activities like data standardization, data integration, enterprise data modeling, business rules ratification, coordinated ETL data staging, common metadata, collectively architected databases, and so on. Today’s popular agile methodologies were not designed to address any of these additional EDW/BI-specific complexities and interdependencies. But the Extreme Scoping™ approach presented by Larissa Moss was specifically designed for enterprise data warehouse solutions because it merges agile principles with a robust EDW/BI methodology.

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