Dan English's BI Blog

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

Archive for November, 2015

MN PASS Microsoft BI User Group Q4 2015 Meeting – Dec 16

Posted by denglishbi on November 25, 2015

We are pleased to announced the next MN Microsoft BI User Group on Wednesday, December 16.  We have two presentations this quarter, one on HDInsight and Power BI and the other on Azure Machine Learning. Please register ahead of time and make sure to bring a photo id to get into the meeting. We are also pleased to announce that we are one of the initial user groups to also be recognized as an official Microsoft Power BI user group!

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

MN Microsoft BI User Group 2015 Q4 Meeting

Sponsored by:


Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Check In: 2:45 PM Event Time: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location: Microsoft Technology Center – 3601 76th St W, Suite 600 Edina MN 55435 (in LOW 1, 2, and 3)

Please Register Now (Please register so that we can have your name badge pre-printed)

  • 2:45-3:00 : Check-In
  • 3:00-3:15 : Microsoft BI User Group Updates and Announcements
  • 3:15-4:15 : Powering Up HDInsight with Power BI
  • 4:15-4:30 : Break
  • 4:30-5:30 : Rise of the Machine (Learning)
  • 5:30-6:00 : Networking and Pizza
Session 1: Powering Up HDInsight with Power BI

Join Steve Hughes as he walks through two techniques for working with data in HDInsight. In the first example, he will use Power Query to interact with the files in HDInsight. In the second example, he will use Power BI Desktop and Hive to work with the same data. Throughout the session, he will highlight some of the features within Power BI that can be used to explore data stored using Hadoop on HDInsight.

Speaker: Steve Hughes

Steve is a Principal Consultant at Pragmatic Works. He is currently responsible for guiding the Principal Consultant team and working with other areas in the organization to build out their data and analytics offerings. 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 three books and delivered many presentations on SQL Server and data architecture over the past six years. He also provides insights from the field on his blog at http://www.dataonwheels.com.

Session 2: Rise of the Machine (Learning) – Azure ML in BI, in Apps, and as a product in Azure Marketplace

Machine Learning no longer requires expensive infrastructures and knowledge of specialized statistical coding languages. Azure ML lowers the barriers of entry for predictive analytics using Machine Learning.

In this session, review the similarities and differences of Machine Learning compared to traditional Predictive Analytics, Data Mining, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence. Learn how to integrate predictive analytics into your existing analytics and reporting strategy and infrastructure. Greg will demonstrate how a BI solution using only Excel with Power Pivot can connect to an Azure ML Model in the cloud for predictions and perform analysis with Power BI.

Learn how Azure ML can be used to add value to Apps. Also, review ways to turn your Azure ML Model into a source of revenue using Azure Marketplace. Machine Learning is now quietly rising all around us as it integrates with technology, improves processes and workflows, and transforms how data drives business. Empower your organization with new competitive advantages using Azure ML.

Speaker: Greg Beaumont

Greg is currently the Data Science Practice Lead at GNet Group, where he provides consulting services using Microsoft technologies. His industry vertical experience includes healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, retail and public/government data. Greg has been working in Analytics since 2007, and enjoys designing and building specialized solutions using tools and methodologies such as Six Sigma, Healthcare Performance Measures, Price Analytics and Predictive Analytics. He frequently writes blogs on use of analytics and visualizations http://blog.gnetgroup.com

Posted in Training | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Getting Started with SQL Server 2016 CTP3 in Azure

Posted by denglishbi on November 11, 2015

If you have an Azure account (possibly through your MSDN subscription) here is the easiest way to get up and running with SQL Server 2016.

First go to the Azure Portal – http://portal.azure.com

Search and find the SQL Server 2016 CTP3 in the Data and Analytics Marketplace in Azure.


Create the Virtual Machine.


Start the Virtual Machine once it is created and then once it is running Connect with RDP.

Once it is started up you can search and add items to Start as well as Taskbar such as SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Server Configuration Manager, SQL Server Reporting Services Configuration Manager, etc.


Turn off the IE Enhanced Security for Administrators.


Download and install the latest version of SSDT for SQL Server – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt204009.aspx


SSDT for Visual Studio 2015 for SQL Server 2016 now includes the database projects as well as the BI project templates, so you no longer need to download and install two separate installs.  If you already have Visual Studio 2015 installed then a smaller download (install) will be used to add in the additional template projects.


The installer will download and then install the components. This will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes on the Virtual Machine.

Then add SQL Server Data Tools 2015 to the Start and/or Taskbar for easy access.


Review the SQL Server Components installed.


Based on this as well as reviewing the summary setup log located here – C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\130\Setup Bootstrap\Log\ – we can see that the Database Engine was installed along with Data Quality Services, Analysis Services (multidimensional), Reporting Services (Native), Integration Services, Management Tools, and Master Data Services.

We still need to install Analysis Services (Tabular), Advanced Analytics Extensions, and also complete the configuration of Reporting Services.

So to complete the install components we will access the setup in the following location – C:\SQLServer_13.0_Full\.  First we will install the Advanced Analytics Extensions. This is part of the process so that we can use SQL Server R Services.



Additional steps are required to complete and start using the Advanced Analytics Extensions in SQL Server.


Use the link provided in the Warning to access the complete steps to getting R services completed on the server so that you can start utilizing R code with SQL Server.

Rule Check Result
Rule "Post-installation steps are required for Advanced Analytics Extensions" generated a warning.

The feature Advanced Analytics Extensions requires some post-installation steps after completing SQL Server setup. Please follow the steps outlined in the link http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=626645 (Ctrl-C to copy)

This installation for the extensions will also install the SQL Server Launchpad.

Next we will run the installer again and get an Analysis Services Tabular instance installed. For this we will need to install a named instance since multidimensional SSAS was used for the default.





Once that is done then run the Reporting Services Configuration Manager to complete the SSRS Native setup.


Once connected go to the Web Services URL and click Apply button. Then go to the Database page and use the Change Database option to create a new report server database. Next go to the Report Manager URL and click Apply.

Other items that you might want to do are setup Execution Account, backup Encryption Keys, setup Subscription Settings for file share access, and lastly Power BI Integration!


We will setup the Power BI integration so that we can use the new Pin to Power BI capabilities when we create our Reporting Services reports so that we can pin and share content in our Power BI dashboards!

The last item that we have to do is go to Report Manager and we can install the new Report Builder.


You will see that Report Builder has a new theme as well as the new Chart Types – Treemap and Sunburst which are great for displaying hierarchical data.


There you go, up and running and ready to explore some of the new SQL Server 2016 CTP3 capabilities.

More resources on new features in SQL Server 2016 CTP3:


Posted in SQL Server | Tagged: | 3 Comments »