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SQLBits 9–Master Data Services Training Day

As I’m sure many of you have heard, SQLBits 9 has been announced and will be at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool from 29th September to 1st October this year.  Jeremy and I will be presenting a full day training on Master Data Services

Master your data with MDS

A end to end look inside Master Data Services, this full day course will begin with a synopsis of Master Data Management before moving on to an overview of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services (MDS) and then looking in detail at topics such as:

  • installing, configuring, and maintaining Master Data Services
  • creating and using models
  • version management
  • business rules and workflow
  • importing data into Master Data Services
  • Integrating with other systems
  • Security. 

It will also take a brief look at what’s coming next for MDS in the SQL Server Denali.
This course is for anyone who wants to manage and maintain their business master data and improve data quality with Microsoft SQL Server Master Data Services.  A basic understanding of Microsoft SQL Server is required.

If you don’t fancy MDS, there are ten other training days being offered.

Registration for the training days and conference should be open in the next few weeks and pricing remains the same as last time – an unbelievable £375 for the full conference if you book before 26th August!

June 2011 Cumulative Update for Master Data Services

The June CU for SQL Server 2008 R2 includes a good number of fixes and improvements for MDS – Full details and download link:


After installing you need to go in to the MDS configuration manager and upgrade your MDS database:


Master Data Services Webinars–March and April

If you haven’t yet seen Master Data Services in action or are interested to find out how it could fit into your organisation then it might be worth signing up for one of the webinars that Profisee are running in March and April:

The first two of these (March 18th and April 8th) look at MDS in general, but in particular:

  • Learn the basics of master data management (MDM) and the business problems it solves
  • Realize the invaluable link between MDM and your business intelligence & enterprise reporting initiatives
  • Uncover the key components to a successful MDM strategy and implementation
  • Experience Master Data Services in action with a live demonstration and open questions & answers
  • Determine how Master Data Services can benefit your organization and what you can do to lead your MDM strategy

The second (March 25th and April 29th) are more focussed around the Master Data Maestro product which the Profisee team have developed on the MDS platform.  One of the features of Maestro that stands out is the user interface which, lets be honest, is a little lacking in MDS but there’s more to it than that.

In case you haven’t heard of them before, Profisee was formed by the team from Stratature after Microsoft bought the product from them and turned it into Master Data Services so they know it pretty well! 

Posted: Mar 15 2011, 02:34 PM by Tim Kent | with no comments
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SQLBits 7 – Spaces going fast

We’ve now had over 500 registrations for SQLBits 7 so if you haven’t registered already, you’d better get moving before it’s too late!  There’s also still a few spaces left for the  training day on Thursday.  Even though the early bird offer has expired, these still represent incredible value for money at £300!

As Jeremy has already posted. he’s presenting a session on Master Data Services on the Saturday.  I’ve seen his draft presentation and if you want to get a great high level overview of what MDS is all about then don’t miss it.  I’m presenting a session on Data Visualisation techniques on the Friday and Adatis are once again sponsoring the event.

SQLBits 7 – voting is open!

Following on from my post on Friday, Session submission is now closed.  There have been very close to 100 sessions submitted about pretty much everything to do with SQL Server (some very loosely!!)

Unfortunately we can’t fit all of these sessions into two days and it’s impossible to choose, so unlike many other conferences, it’s up to you lot to vote for the ones you want!  As long as you have a registration on the SQLBits website you can vote (even if you don’t know if you can make it yet!).  You get to vote for 10 sessions and the top sessions within each track will get the gig!

Power to the people!

SQLBits 7 – last day for session submissions

I’m sure you’ve heard already that the next SQLbits runs from September 30th to October 2nd at York University but today (16th July) is the last chance if you want to submit a presentation.  I’d better get mine in!

Connecting to AS2000 from X64 Excel Services\SharePoint

I can’t imagine too many people will have this issue, but just in case you you have a similar environment it’s bad news I’m afraid.  Connections from 64-bit applications to AS2000 aren’t possible as there is no x64 oledb 8.0 AS driver.  If you’re running IA64 then you’re fine as MS built a library for this version (?)

The alternatives? Run SharePoint and IIS in 32-bit mode or, probably better, point out to your boss/customer/IT dept that 2010 subtract 2000 = 10 years and that it really is time to upgrade to the wonders of SQL2008 R2.  The fact they can actually get support for this version might help swing it ;)

PerformancePoint Services and PowerPivot document

MSFT have just a published a new document about how to use PowerPivot Cubes\workbooks as data sources for your PPS dashboards.  Worth a read as it doesn’t work quite the same way as a standard AS data source in PPS.  A couple of things stood out for me:

Dimensions and Attribute Hierarchies

Every table, including a Fact table, in the PowerPivot window is shown as a dimension in PerformancePoint. The columns in each table are represented as an attribute hierarchy under the respective dimension in PPS. In a similar manner, calculated columns in the PowerPivot window are displayed as attribute hierarchies for that dimension.



PerformancePoint uses the ADOMD.NET driver to connect to PowerPivot applications.

In order to use a PowerPivot model in PerformancePoint, you must install the new SQL Server 2008 R2 ADOMD.NET driver on the servers that are running the PerformancePoint service in the SharePoint Server farm. This is not required if such servers also have the server component of PowerPivot, that is the SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint, installed on them.

SQL Server Master Data Services now available

Whilst the core components of SQL 2008 R2 have been signing autographs on the red carpet, Master Data Services has sneaked quietly in through the back door.   If you have MSDN access, download a full version (guessing developer and enterprise only but haven’t checked) and off you go.  The install is a not part of the main installation either, you need to run it directly from the DVD\ISO in the MasterDataServices folder.  Setup is very simple and there’s some good sample packages to play with. 

StreamInsight is on there as well :)

Posted: May 06 2010, 11:09 PM by Tim Kent | with 1 comment(s)
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Feedback for SQLBits VI

As Chris Webb has already mentioned the latest SQLBits was the best attended and (in our opinion) the slickest event yet.  We still want to make it even better though and we can only do that with your feedback.  This is all done online and can be completely anonymous if you want.  If you can spare five or ten minutes then please use the links below and let us know what you think:

Conference Feedback

Session Feedback

SQLBits VI Registration is open

Registration for SQL Bits VI on 16th April is now open – places are limited to sign up quick. 

There’s a cracking agenda based on performance tuning and scalability (but still plenty for everyone – not just hard core DBAs).

See you there!

Posted: Mar 17 2010, 01:21 PM by Tim Kent | with no comments
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New e-Learning MS Business Intelligence Course

I’m sure a number of you know of UK SQL Server MVP Chris Testa-O’Neill from his many presentations at user groups and conferences.  Chris has just authored a new e-learning course for Microsoft which covers the BI stack.  From Chris:

"I am pleased to announce the release of the Author Model eCourseCollection 6233 AE: Implementing and Maintaining Business Intelligence in Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008: Integration Services, Reporting Services and Analysis Services

This 24-hour collection provides you with the skills and knowledge required for implementing and maintaining business intelligence solutions on SQL Server 2008. You will learn about the SQL Server technologies, such as Integration Services, Analysis Services, and Reporting Services

This collection also helps to prepare for Exam 70-448 and can be accessed from: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/elearning/course/6233.mspx

Well worth a look I reckon!

SQLBits VI comes to London

Just in case you hadn’t already heard from Chris or Simon the next SQLBits has been confirmed for 16th April at Church House Conference Centre in Westminster.  Simon also explains why the tight timescales and only single day event this time.

If you need to find a reason to convince your boss why he should give you a day off to attend just look at the session list from the last SQLBits!

And if you fancy presenting yourself, session submission is open now.  You'll need to Login/Join first then complete your Speaker Profile before submitting a Session 

See you on the 16th!

Shapefiles for SSRS 2008 R2 Maps

Great free resource for pretty much every shapefile map you’ll need :)

Shapefiles for Epi Info

Plug them into your SSRS Map and off you go.

SSRS 2008 – Icon Charts

In my last post I had a bit of a moan about the lack of new data visualisation features in PerformancePoint Services but to be fair MSFT have really turned up the dial on the data visualisation functionality with the release of Excel 2007 and SSRS 2008.  SQL 2008 R2 sees further advances with features such as Sparklines, Data Bars and indicators being far easier to create in SSRS.  There’s still a few things missing from the stack though when compared against some of the pureplay visualisation vendors such as Tableau and Spotfire.

Icon Charts (I’m not actually sure that’s their real name!) are another form of Tufte’s “small multiple” that combines the concepts of lattice/trellis charts and heatmaps.  This type of visualisation utilises the user’s perception of colour (hue) and form (size) to allow analysis of multiple categories with multiple quantitative measures.

I was hoping that it might be possible to do something with the new indicators in R2 and though you can use custom images there’s no simple way to hook them up to the data in terms of size and colour.

In this solution (workaround/hack?) I’m using the matrix object again but rather than using an inline chart I’m simply using a square symbol (letter n) from the wingdings font and then setting the colour (with a sequential palette) and size according to the data.  My example uses hard-coded values in a switch statement in the expression but you could be cleverer than this and make the values percentages of the maximum in your dataset for example.


Add a couple of legends so that the viewer can clearly see what they are looking at.  It’s easy to pick out that SouthWest in Q3 had good revenue but low profit.  Is there a Problem? Add a drillthrough to detail report to allow the user to find out.


As always the sample report can be downloaded from here.  Alternatively, e-mail devteam(at)adatis(dot)co(dot)uk for a copy.

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