Sacha Tomey

Sacha Tomey's Blog

Microsoft Tech-Ed 2010 BI Conference, New Orleans Day 2 (Tuesday 8th June 2010)

Day 2 and the BI Keynote.

Announcements? Only two, although actually, old news:

- They announced the availability of the MS BI Indexing Connector. Originally announced back in May

- They got their story straight(er) with regard to the release of what will be called Pivot Viewer Extensions for Reporting Services. It will be available in 30 days.

The session took more of a “look where we’ve come since the Seattle BI Conference” and, as Ted Kummert described, it’s Microsoft’s BI [School] Report Card.

Interesting change in semantics for their BI strap line; no longer do they spout “BI for the Masses”, now it’s “BI for Everyone”. Although they admitted they, along with the rest of the industry are falling well short at only a current average of 20% ‘reach’.

With the recent delivery of SQL Server 2008 R2, Sharepoint 2010 and Office 2010 the BI Integration story is significantly more complete.

A large focus on PowerPivot and how it has helped customer quickly deliver fast, available reporting ‘applications’. Although I know a few people that would object to simply describing DAX purely as a familiar extension to the Excel formula engine.

Following the look back, a brief look forward:

- Cloud Computing will pay a part, Reporting and Analytics will be coming, when combined with Windows AppFabric, described yesterday this is a closer reality.

- Consumerisation enhancements, with better search and improved social media integration BI will move towards becoming a utility.

- Compliance: Several plans; Improved Data Quality, Data Cleaning and Machine Learning and strong meta data strategy support to deliver lineage and provide change impact analysis.

- Data Volumes. SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Edition has completed CTP2, this will open up high performance datawarehousing to data volumes that exceed 100TB. Dallas, the data marketplace will be better integrated to development and reporting tools.

Then tempted us with some previews of what *could* make a future version of SQL Server. Essentially, the theme for the future is to join the dots between Self Service BI and the Enterprise BI Platform and focussed on plans around PowerPivot:

- KPI creation

Essentially they are exposing (yet another) way to create (SSAS based) KPI’s through a neat, slider based GUI directly from within the PowerPivot Client.

- Wide Table Support

To help with cumbersome wide PowerPivot tables, they have introduced a ‘Record View’ to help see all the fields on one screen, all appropriately grouped with edit/add/delete support for new fields, calculations etc.

- Multi Developer Support

They plan to integrate the PowerPivot client into BIDS. This will facilitate integration with Visual SourceSafe for controlled multi developer support, they also plan to provide a lineage visualisation to help with audit and impact change analysis.

- Data Volumes

Following on from the BIDS integration, plans surrounding deployment to server based versions of SSAS to allow increased performance for higher data volumes. They replayed the demo of the 2m row data set from Seattle where we first saw almost instant sort and filtering, but this time applied it (with equally impressive performance) to a data set of more than 2bn records!  It was described by Amir Netz as “The engine of the devil!” ;)

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