Dan English's BI Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘downloads’

MN Microsoft BI User Group 2011 Q3 Follow up

Posted by denglishbi on September 20, 2011

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

UPDATE (9/23/2011): A link to the Project “Crescent” Demo video has now been added and featured on the “Crescent” wiki page in the Videos section – Project Crescent Overview.

Last week I presented on What’s New with BI in SQL Server Denali (SQL11) at the Minnesota BI User Group Q3 meeting with Jin Cho from Microsoft.  Granted that in only an hour and a half we couldn’t do the topic complete justice because there is just so much to cover and it helps to provide some demos to showcase the new features and enhancements that have been made.  The topics that we covered where going over Analysis Services and PowerPivot, talked about the BI Semantic Model, Columnstore Indexes, Integration Services, Data Quality Services, Reporting Services SharePoint Integration, and “Crescent”.

I wish I would have had more time to be able to demo some of the new SSIS items, but I allocated my demo slot to show the new self-service reporting authoring tool Crescent.  Each of the topics that we did talk about can easily be their own topic for presentation, so stay tuned for the upcoming MN SQL Saturday event and the next MN Microsoft BI User Group Q4 meeting in December.  There will also be a lot of content in regards to this topic at the upcoming PASS 2011 Summit next month that I would highly recommend.

You can download the presentation from my SkyDrive account or you can check out the slides available via SlideShare as well:


I have also setup a video that goes over the “Crescent” demo that I went over during the presentation.  I believe that when I switched laptops during the presentation that I did not share the desktop with Live Meeting, so I apologize for that and since this will not be part of the recording I put together a quick video.

Project “Crescent” Demo from Dan English on Vimeo.

A link to the Project “Crescent” Demo video has now been added and featured on the “Crescent” wiki page in the Videos section – Project Crescent Overview

For more BI highlights in the upcoming SQL Server release check out this list – Top 10 BI Reasons to Upgrade to SQL Server ‘Denali’ (SQL11).

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

PDF Download Option for Walkthrough Postings

Posted by denglishbi on June 28, 2011

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

Last week I went ahead and decided to make a new PDF download option available for some of my more length step-by-step postings.  I also modified the postings to only include two columns in the table layout instead of three.  This was because with certain resolutions the table was being cutoff and I am assuming going forward with the mobile devices this will become more of a common problem.  So, what I decided was to put together an option that the reader could download and view offline if needed and to use with eReader type devices as well.

So far I have just done this for four of my more commonly read postings in regards to Using PerformancePoint with Excel Services, Reporting Services, and PowerPivot along with using SharePoint List data source in SSRS for parameter source.  Going forward I will make sure that I include this option for this type of a posting.

If you scroll to the bottom of these postings you will see the new option which includes a link to the PDF document that I have placed in my SkyDrive.

Example (just an image):


I have also enabled some more options on the posts to be able to tweet them, print them (not the greatest output though, go with the PDF option if available), and to email them (creates a intro to the post with a link to read the full article).


This Tweet option is made available with a plug-in for Live Writer for WordPress.com blogs – http://plugins.live.com/writer/detail/tweetmeme-for-wordpresscom-plugin.  This is available from the home page and you do not need to click on the blog title to get at this Tweet option (only available on new blog posts or once that I repost through Live Writer).


This functionality is made available in Settings –> Sharing options in Administration settings for the WordPress.com blog account settings.  There are more options available, I only picked these three and there seemed to be an issue with the LinkedIn option.  In order to see these options you have to click on a blog posting and it will be available at the bottom of the posting.

The Email option will send you a snapshot of the posting like the following:


If there is a particular blog posting that you would like to see in a PDF format feel free to leave a comment and I can add this option.  I just picked a few of the more recent and commonly viewed postings to start with.  Going forward though I will make sure that I have this available.

Posted in Downloads, Personal Comments | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Q1 2010 downloads, training, and informational material

Posted by denglishbi on March 28, 2010

Just wanted to do a quarterly update on some of the items that I have downloaded and reviewed over the past few months so far.  Most of these I have tweeted about, but I know that everyone isn’t leveraging twitter yet.  I know I was skeptical at first, but since the PASS 2009 Summit I am on board and enjoying it.

So here is the list of some of the items I have checked out so far this year and these are in no particular order:

As you can see there is kind of a reoccurring theme here…SharePoint.

Hope you find some of these informational and helpful.

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Latest downloads, training, and informational materials

Posted by denglishbi on January 31, 2010

The reason my blog postings have been reduced a bit lately is because of Twitter.  When I come across new content and materials I post the information through my twitter account (http://twitter.com/denglishbi); It is more convenient and easy for me and I plan on using this method more and more over time.image

I decided to go ahead do another catch-up for people that might be interested in some of the content that I have been checking out (and plus for when the tinyurl links stop working).  So here is a list of some of the items over the past couple of months (these are in no particular order):

Hope you find some of these informational and helpful.


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2009 Download Catch-up List

Posted by denglishbi on May 31, 2009

Over the first part of the 2009 year I have downloaded numerous training items, whitepapers, applications, and patches and just wanted to take a little time this weekend to put out a list of items to share that I believe will be useful if you haven’t come across them yet.  Some of these maybe a little older, I might have posted about them already, or you might already know about them, but just want to put them out there just in case.  Not all of these are strictly SQL Server or Business Intelligence related, so just want to warn you.  You can share the information with someone else that might benefit from reviewing the material though.

Training Items

  • Hands-On Labs for Enterprise Library 4.1 – Use this set of Hands-on Labs as a guide to learn about the application blocks included with Enterprise Library 4.1 and practice how to leverage their capabilities in various application contexts. It includes Caching, Cryptography, Data Access, Exception Handling, Interception, Logging, Security, Validation, and Unity Hands-on Labs.
  • Azure Services Training Kit – April UpdateThe Azure Services Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including hands-on labs, presentations, and demos that are designed to help you learn how to use the Azure Services Platform.
  • Office SharePoint Server 2007 Technical Library in Compiled Help format – This downloadable CHM is a copy of content in the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 technical library. The CHM is current as of the date above. For the latest information, see the technical library on the Web.
  • SQL Server 2008 Developer Training Kit (SQL Server 2008 Developer Toolkit feedback)- SQL Server 2008 offers an impressive array of capabilities for developers that build upon key innovations introduced in SQL Server 2005. The SQL Server 2008 Developer Training Kit will help you understand how to build web applications which deeply exploit the rich data types, programming models and new development paradigms in SQL Server 2008.
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Information and New Site – also sign up for CTP notifications on the new site.
  • IT Operations Scorecards and Dashboards – PerformancePoint Server monitoring sample available.  There is a video, whitepaper, and code sample files for download.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Books Online (May 2009) – SQL Server 2008, the latest release of Microsoft SQL Server, provides a comprehensive data platform. Books Online is the primary documentation for SQL Server 2008.
  • Demo Showcase 2008 Application Platform Optimization Demos – The Demo Showcase 2008 APO Demos are a set of 4 comprehensive click through demonstrations designed for partners to use with customers. These customer scenario demos feature many different Microsoft technologies working together to showcase the power of the App Plat Optimization capabilities. Included in the scenarios are the following products: Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office Enterprise 2007, Visual Studio 2008, Windows Vista, Silverlight, Performance Point Server 2007 and more.


Applications (all FREE)

  • SharePoint Designer 2007 – SHAREPOINT DESIGNER 2007 IS NOW FREE! Learn more about these changes and future direction (watch the FAQ video link below). Office SharePoint Designer 2007 provides the powerful tools you need to deliver compelling and attractive SharePoint sites and quickly build workflow-enabled applications and reporting tools on the SharePoint platform, all in an IT-managed environment. Video of SharePoint Designer 2007 FAQ (16.8MB)
  • BIDS Helper – A Visual Studio .Net add-in with features that extend and enhance the functionality of the SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 BI Development Studio (BIDS).  This is a must have tool if you are doing any BI development with BIDS (SSAS, SSIS, or SSRS).
  • ZoomIt – ZoomIt is a screen zoom and annotation tool for technical presentations that include application demonstrations. ZoomIt runs unobtrusively in the tray and activates with customizable hotkeys to zoom in on an area of the screen, move around while zoomed, and draw on the zoomed image.
  • Report Builder 2.0 with SP1 (stand-alone) – Features specific to Report Builder 2.0 are focused on simplifying the process of creating and editing reports and queries and include the following: Easy to use wizards for creating table, matrix and chart data regions; Support for directly opening and editing reports stored on the report server; Support for using server resources such as shared data sources; Query designers for multiple data sources including a Microsoft SQL Server-specific query designer. (this tool does require a SQL Server 2008 license – Report Builder Licensing – you do need to so just be aware of this)
  • Data Mining Add-ins for Microsoft Office 2007 – Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or Microsoft SQL Server 2008 enables you to take advantage of SQL Server predictive analytics in Office Excel 2007 and Office Visio 2007.
  • BI Report Automation Publisher – for moving PerformancePoint Server items between environments and will work with Workspace files. The BI Report Automation Publisher is a command line tool + .net library which provides a more automated way to move data sources and reports between servers/environments.
  • Collecting Analysis Services Performance Data for Performance Analysis – ability to collect and gather information from Analysis Services using trace files, performance monitoring tools, and DMVs.  Includes all documentation, scripts, SSIS packages, trace files, XMLA scripts, SSRS reports, etc. to get started.


I think that covers the majority of it for now.  Lots of different items and plenty of stuff to keep you busy for a few weeks.  Enjoy! 

By the way, don’t forget to check out the Microsoft BI blog.  There have been lots of useful postings added recently with videos in regards to mobile BI, Excel 2007 Data Mining Add-in, Gemini demos, etc.

UPDATE (7/15/2009): While you can download Report Builder 2.0 this product does require a SQL Server 2008 license – Report Builder Licensing – you do need to.

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SQL Server 2008 Developer Toolkit feedback

Posted by denglishbi on May 14, 2009

Just wanted to post some feedback on the new SQL Server 2008 Developer Toolkit that was released yesterday on the Microsoft Downloads here – SQL Server 2008 Developer Training Kit.  I saw the demo of this I believe last year at the Microsoft 2008 Launch event.  This is a real cool demo that shows of the spatial data, filestream, and data mining capabilities in SQL Server 2008.  It also incorporates Silverlight technology for the video player.

Demo includes user login, profile information, security, mapping functionality with pinpoints for video references, Silverlight video player, and advertisements.


Ability to upload videos and specify a location on map to add pinpoint reference.  The videos are uploaded and stored in the database with the filestream functionality available in SQL Server 2008.


My video is now includedHot  This application also tracks viewing history, allows for comments to be added to videos, and for you to designate favorite videos.  You will also notice in the screenshot below that it performs calculation on the pinpoint using the geography information to determine the distance between two points.


In order to upload videos you need to install the Expression Encoder which is part of the required software detection setup (provides link to download and install during this process).  You will also need to modify the web.config file to set the UploadVideoEnabled appsetting to “True” to enable this feature.  The advertisement portion is setup to randomly pull a advertisement from the database. 

There is also a data mining exercise that uses some data from the Adventure Works database (sample Excel file provided) that you can go through to determine what demographic types would be interested in certain products.  You could then feed this information back into the application to perform some more strategic advertisements to the users.  The only thing about the exercise is that it stops at using the data mining add-ins that are available to download from the SQL Server Feature Pack.  It leaves it up to you to figure out how to push this information back into the database and leverage this in the application.

Example of data mining output where you can see that customers with some high school education and lower income levels tend to purchase helmets.


A couple of other things to point out would be that you will need to restore the SQL Server database provided as well as the Analysis Service database.  The SQL Server database is located in the following location:

C:SQL2008TrainingKitDemosAdventureWorksRacingCommunitysetup scriptstasksbakAdventureWorksRacingCommunity.bak

In order to do the data mining exercise you will need to have Analysis Services available and that is not part of SQL Express with the Advanced Services – this is only available in the Standard, Enterprise, or Developer Editions of SQL Server. 

There are more demos besides the web one that I show above, so be sure to check out everything to find out about the other cool features that you may or may not be using already if you are on SQL Server 2008 like groupingsets, merge, tablevalued parameters, etc.


So if you are interested in diving into these new features and want to walk through some demos of these new features download the SQL Server 2008 Developer Training Kit for yourself.

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SharePoint Designer 2007 Free Download

Posted by denglishbi on April 2, 2009

Big announcement for SharePoint this month Video: SharePoint Designer 2007 (April 2009 Announcement) and now you can register with Microsoft and download the SharePoint Designer 2007 tool for freeSmile

In this video, Tom Rizzo (Sr. Director of Product Management for SharePoint) and J.R. Arredondo (Sr. Product Manager for SharePoint Platform and Tools) discuss the strategy and details behind the changes Microsoft has implemented to SharePoint Designer 2007, as well as details on upcoming events.
Once you have watched the video, download SharePoint Designer 2007 for free.

SHAREPOINT DESIGNER 2007 IS NOW FREE! Learn more about these changes and future direction (watch the FAQ video link below). Office SharePoint Designer 2007 provides the powerful tools you need to deliver compelling and attractive SharePoint sites and quickly build workflow-enabled applications and reporting tools on the SharePoint platform, all in an IT-managed environment.

Video of SharePoint Designer 2007 FAQ (16.8MB)

Files in the download:

Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007 – English.rtf  (143 KB)

SharePointDesigner.exe (295.9 MB)

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Microsoft Business Intelligence VPC Release 7.1

Posted by denglishbi on December 14, 2008

Yesterday morning I received some information in regards to the latest All Up MS BI VPC R7.1.  Now what has changed between release 7 and 7.1, not sure.  I know that the files for 7 where dated 7/22 and for 7.1 they are 9/30.  The overview file still has not been updated, so you can reference my previous posting of what changed between 6 and 7 – Microsoft Business Intelligence VPC Release 7.  According to the email I received it states that there are supposed to be some voice added demos, but I am not seeing them unless it is just the presenter scripts (guess I was thinking of videos, but maybe I am reading this incorrectly).  There are also going to be 17 localized versions of the download, but I am not sure when those will be available to access (if at all).

You are going to want to be able to provide at least 1.5 or 2 GB of RAM to this VPC (it will run optimally with 2+ GB of RAM), enable the hardware-assisted virtualization (typically requires a BIOS setting), and run the VPC from a separate drive than the hosting OS. 

As far as the performance goes for the MS BI VPC you can look at some techniques to speed it up here – Speeding up the All-up BI VPC and How to speed up the All up BI VPC 6

There are 38 SSAS databases that are part of this VPC.  This takes 300 MB of your memory right off the get go, so if you are not using some of these samples then stop the SSAS service, move the data for the SSAS databases to a backup location for future reference when needed (or you could backup the SSAS databases and then remove them from the instance – which ever one you feel is easier), and then restart the SSAS service.

And just a reminder that the Administrator password is the generic Microsoft one pass@word1 and this VPC has a time bomb of April 15, 2010.  This VPC is using Windows 2003 Server R2 SP2 Enterprise Edition, PPS 2007 with SP1, PAS 6.3 with Hotfix 2215, and SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition with SP2 (actually build 3068 – SQL Server 2005 Build List).  You will need to update this with PPS SP2 and ProClarity SP2 (Hotfix 2217) if you want to have them included – PerformancePoint Server (PPS) 2007 SP2 now available.


Did you think I would leave you hanging again and not include the links?  Here you go, take a look at the MS BI Platform and evaluate it for yourself take a look at the great demos that have been prepared and kudos to everyone that contributed to putting this together.

Business Intelligence Demo Solution – Overview and Presenter Script information (view my previous posting for the latest update on the Overview that I posted above):

VPC Image Download Files (8 files – took about 25 minutes for me to extract out to an external drive once I downloaded them):

Have a safe and happy holiday season

UPDATE (12/28/2008): If for some reason these download links do not work for you you can head over to Russell Christopher’s PerformancePoint Blog for a different set of download links – All Up BI VPC 7.1 Available for Public Download.  The links that I reference above could be for the older version 7 and not 7.1 which Russell references in his posting here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

 I am downloading now to verify.

UPDATE (4/14/2009): The R7.1 release VPC will expire on April 15th, 2010. Userid/password is Administrator/pass@word1The VHD file is 14 GB in size and works optimally with 2+ GB RAM.

 UPDATE (5/7/2009): The download links I have listed above are for release 7 and they include demos that are not included in release 7.1 which are the links below.  I updated the links so that they should all be working since files got moved around.  There are some retail and hospitality demos and a few others that were removed in the links below.  Hopefully a new demo will be coming out leveraging SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008.

Posted in Downloads | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Year End Downloads and Information

Posted by denglishbi on December 13, 2008

A few more downloads have come out since my last posting Downloads and Catch-Up a few weeks ago.  Tough to keep up with everything, but with RSS feeds and aggregators like RSS Bandit which I use or Google’s Reader, SharpReader, FeedDemon, Bloglines, etc.  There are tons of different RSS readers that you can use to subscribe to blog sites, news, shopping deals, sports, comics, technology, entertainment, you name it, it can be used as a feed into one of these readers.  You could also use Outlook, at least with 2007 that option is available.

Enough of that chatter, now for the items that I want to make sure everyone is aware of and to share (these are in no particular order):

  1. SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Technical Reference Guide – This 490-page document covers the essential phases and steps to upgrade existing instances of SQL Server 2000 and 2005 to SQL Server 2008 by using best practices. These include preparation tasks, upgrade tasks, and post-upgrade tasks. It is intended to be a supplement to SQL Server 2008 Books Online.
  2. ProClarity 6.3 SP2 Readme (this was released last week – hotfix 2217: ProClarity 6.3 SP2 is now available and for more details refer to the ProClarity Teams Blog site)
  3. PerformancePoint Server SP2 – Planning Server SP2 Readme, Monitoring and Analytics SP2 Readme, Management Reporter SP2 Readme
    1. PerformancePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 2 (x86) 

      PerformancePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 2 (x64)

      Additional TechNet information – Service Pack 2 for Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007


  4. SQL Load Generator Tool – SQL Load Generator is used to run multiple concurrent queries against SQL Server. The user can choose the number of concurrent queries to run, provide different queries, choose SQL or domain accounts, and provide application name settings. SLG was developed using C# 3.5. This is available for download on CodePlex here http://www.codeplex.com/SqlLoadGenerator.
  5. Andrew Fryer’s 24 days of SQL Server 2008 – great content and quick way to get yourself familiar with SQL Server 2008 new features.  I highly recommend adding Andrew to your feeds.
  6. AdventureWorksOffline Report Samples – check out the latest Reporting Services (SSRS) sample reports utilizing the new charting, gauging, and text formatting functionality with SSRS 2008.  A great set of samples to use to be able to learn how you can apply customizations to the new features.
  7. PowerGUI – an extensible graphical administrative console and IDE for managing systems based on Windows PowerShell. See the PowerGUI homepage for more information about the product.
  8. OLAP PivotTable Extensions – an older one that I have had around for a while, but figured I should post.  This is an Excel 2007 add-in which extends the functionality of PivotTables on Analysis Services cubes. The Excel 2007 API has certain PivotTable functionality which is not exposed in the UI. OLAP PivotTable Extensions provides an interface for some of this functionality.  Allow yourself to easily view the MDX generated by using PivotTables.

And I will be doing another posting for the latest and the greatest All Up Microsoft BI VPC Release 7.1 (BI VPC R7.1) tomorrow, so stay tuned.  I was just informed of the new release this morning for the most recent VPC for download and will be sending out the link information tomorrow morning so that everyone can test drive the Microsoft BI Platform (VPC still utilizes Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2, SQL Server 2005 SP2, PAS 6.3 Hotfix 2215, and PPS 2007 SP1).

Enjoy and happy holidays  Stay tuned for more…

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Downloads and Catch-Up

Posted by denglishbi on November 22, 2008

Ok I took a bit of time off from the blogging.  Just got into some really interesting work with a new client and have been holding off on sending out some links to some great content that I have come across over the past month.  I am also in the process of blogging about using the custom PPS SQL Query filter that was released and my experience implementing the filter.

So on to my links, downloads, and other exciting news:

  1. Competitive Comparison of SQL Server 2008 Integration Services white paper – This paper compares SQL Server 2008 Integration Services to the extract, transform, and load offerings of competitors, including IBM Information Server, Informatica PowerCenter, Oracle Warehouse Builder, and Oracle Data Integrator. The paper shows that, while competitor products perform competently in many situations, they do not compare to the advanced features and capabilities available in SSIS.
  2. Installing Dashboard Designer using an MSI Installer file – may or may not be useful to you, just depends on how you would like to deploy the PPS Dashboard Designer.
  3. SQL Server 2008 White Paper: Analysis Services Performance Guide – This white paper describes how application developers can apply query and processing performance-tuning techniques to their SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services OLAP solutions.
  4. SSIS Connectors now available for SAP BI, Oracle, and Teradata – Both of the promised post-RTM packages of connectors for use with SQL Server 2008 Enterprise and Developer are now available for download.
  5. Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 Technical Library in Compiled Help format – Downloadable CHM version of PerformancePointServer content on TechNet.
  6. Cumulative update package 2 for SQL Server 2008 and if you are not ready for that then here is Cumulative update package 1 for SQL Server 2008

    SQL Server 2008 Builds:

    Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (RTM) – 10.0.1600.22

    Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (CU1) – 10.0.1763.0

    Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (CU2) – 10.0.1779.0

  7. Reporting Services Scale-Out Deployment Best Practices – This technical note is part of the Building and Deploying Large Scale SQL Server Reporting Services Environments Technical Note Series  which provides general guidance on how to set up, implement, and optimize an enterprise scale-out architecture for your Microsoft® SQL Server® Reporting Services environment. This note provides guidance for both SQL Server 2005 and 2008 Reporting Services. The focus of this technical note is Scale-Out Deployment Best Practices – the Reporting Services Windows®/Web Services servers that provide your reports.

That is a good list for now.  I will be posting on the PPS custom filter in the near future once I get everything typed up.  I also wanted to mention that I did get elected into the PASSMN Executive Board for 2009, so I am anxiously awaiting to meet with the group and determine my official position.  If you didn’t see my campaign video, which I only posted internally in the Magenic forums (but the video is on Soapbox) you can check that out right here in my MSN video collection –> PASSMN – Dan English Campaign Video (it was just a funny skit that was put together and no I am definitely not a good actor). 

I have more videos out on YouTube and at some point I need to make sure all of these are on Soapbox (YouTube has the 10 minute limit, so I cannot put all of my videos on that site).  Plus I need to make sure all of the videos are working on YouTube because I received an email stating that some of them were no longer available…sorry and I will make sure that they are working again.

I also want to send out a quick congratulations to the BIDS Helper team which I have gladly supported and blogged about a few times promoting on winning the SQL Server Heroes Contest.  Nicely done and well deserved!

If you are wondering about where I get most of my download information from it is from my RSS feed to the MDSN Download Center which keeps you up-to-date.

I also wanted to put a link to the I’m a PC – Tron Guy which I think is great since I am a fan of the movie and he is from Fairmont, MN.

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