Microsoft Sql Web Server 2012 Business Intelligence Advancement As Well As Upkeep – Posted on March 21, 2012 Posted in SQL 2012 , SSRS No Comments Tagged Database Health Reports , SQL , SQL Server , Visual Studio
There is no more Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) in SQL Server 2012, replaced instead by SQL Server Data Tools that uses the Visual Studio 2010 core, with Report Builder and Report Designer built into the new Visual Studio .
Microsoft Sql Web Server 2012 Business Intelligence Advancement As Well As Upkeep
The UI has changed colors and looks a bit sharper, but overall you have similar functionality as before with a few new features. Anyone using Report Builder 2008 or 2008R2 will have no problem here. For those switching to this since 2005 or earlier, this might come as a bit of a surprise.
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This is also a good time to mention… Please check out the Database Health Reports project.
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Stay informed about Webinar training, Database Corruption Challenge events and other things happening with my newsletter. Microsoft understands the importance of business intelligence (BI) and is constantly striving to create powerful yet simple tools for BI developers and end users. This is evident in SQL Server 2012, which has a wealth of new BI features and enhancements.
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I’ll cover the most important of these new features and enhancements, divided into logical areas seen in a full end-to-end BI solution development: data integration, data management and storage, and end-user reporting.
Data integration includes the extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) of data, as well as the cleansing of raw data in a point of sale or data warehouse. SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Data Quality Services (DQS), Master Data Services (MDS), and SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) are the tools of choice for data integration. Let’s look at the improvements to each of these tools.
SSIS. SSIS is the heart of every BI project. Many new features and improvements have been added to SSIS 2012, making it a much better ETL tool. Perhaps the most notable change is the new package deployment model, which allows you to build, deploy, and execute multiple SSIS packages as an SSIS project. Previously, you had to deploy each package separately.
All deployed projects are stored in a catalog—a new database called SSISDB—on the SSIS server. When you want to access a project in SSISDB, you don’t need to start a separate service. As Figure 1 shows, the SSISDB catalog appears as a node in Object Explorer when you connect to a SQL Server database instance.
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Instead of package configurations to set package properties. Parameters are similar to variables in SSIS 2008 R2 and SSIS 2008. You can have package parameters and project parameters. Package parameters allow you to modify package execution without having to edit and redeploy the package. Project parameters are defined outside the package and can be accessed by any package within the project. Therefore, there is no need for parent package configurations or referencing the same configuration file from multiple packages. This is an improvement over variables that are limited to a package only. However, you cannot change the value of a project parameter when running a package like you can with a variable.
Environments are a new object type. They are a wrapper for any environment-specific information you want to maintain outside of the package. You can create multiple execution environments, such as one for development, one for quality assurance (QA), and one for production. When you execute a package, you choose in which environment to execute it. You can configure environment variables to hold connection string information, such as the server name for each environment. This removes the need to use package configurations. Multiple environments can be maintained from a single SSIS instance, but most solutions will likely have an SSIS server for each environment.
DQS. New in SQL Server 2012, DQS checks the quality of your data and cleans it as needed. You can:
Through the DQS UI, which is shown in Figure 2, you can create a knowledge base. To do this, you create domains, each specific to a data field (eg name field, address field). For each domain, you create rules that, for example, check the data type, check the format, and determine the allowed field length. Once your knowledge base is created, you can apply it to a data source by mapping the original columns to the domains. You then run rules on the data and accept or reject corrections, exporting the cleaned data to any data source.
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In any BI solution, data quality is critical to the decision-making process, so it’s great to see a tool added to the Microsoft BI stack that lets you collect and share knowledge to prevent bad data and bad decisions. Previously, you had to apply all data quality rules in SSIS. Now rules can be in one central place, where they can be managed and reused between multiple projects.
MDS. Master data management encompasses the technology, tools, and processes needed to create and maintain a clean, consistent, and accurate representation of master data lists, such as products, customers, and employees. Microsoft’s master data management solution is MDS, which was first introduced in SQL Server 2008 R2. SQL Server 2012 comes with a number of improvements:
SSDT. SSDT is a new SQL Server development tool designed to provide a single development environment for all types of database-related projects. It brings Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS), the “Data Dude” tools in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium and Ultimate editions, and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) into the same IDE. SSDT provides functionality for both data-level and application-level developers to perform their development on any SQL Server platform within Visual Studio.
SSDT is not so much a replacement for SSMS (which is focused on SQL Server management), but a place where you need to develop your database. The goal is to take the tasks and features that developers routinely use in SSMS and bring them to SSDT. This means you can avoid the Alt+Tab scenarios that had you jumping between BIDS and SSMS in previous versions of SQL Server.
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Database development tools already available in Visual Studio 2010 are included in SSDT. All currently available functions remain or have been improved. You can think of SSDT as a replacement for BIDS that uses the Database Services, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, and Integration Services project types.
Data management and storage involves storing and retrieving data. Several new technologies in SQL Server 2012—xVelocity, the tabular model, and the columnstore index—can significantly improve performance.
XSpeed. New in SQL Server 2012 is xVelocity, Microsoft’s family of in-memory and in-memory data management technologies. One member of this family is the xVelocity in-memory analytics engine, which is the next generation of the VertiPaq engine. The in-memory xVelocity analysis engine runs within Microsoft PowerPivot and the new SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) tabular model, which is ideal for BI workloads. The second member is a new memory-optimized columnstore index, which is ideal for data warehouse workloads.
With xVelocity, you can achieve impressive performance gains for data warehouse and BI queries. These gains are achieved through xVelocity’s use of state-of-the-art compression, in-memory caching, algorithms optimized for modern processor/memory architectures, and highly parallel execution within queries.
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Tabular model. SQL Server 2012 introduces a new model called the Semantic Business Intelligence Model. BISM is a hybrid model that supports an existing multidimensional data model (formally called the Unified Dimensional Model) and a new tabular model. The spreadsheet model uses xVelocity SSAS in-memory databases, which provide very fast reporting through client applications such as Excel and Microsoft Power View. It’s the same xVelocity technology that’s part of PowerPivot.
A tabular model is based on concepts familiar to anyone with a relational database background (eg tables, relationships), making it easier to use than a multidimensional model. Because it uses an existing relational model, there is usually no need to create a star schema (which usually requires using ETL to create new dimension and fact tables in the point of sale or data warehouse). The tabular model uses the Data Analysis Expression Language (DAX), which is much easier to use than the Multidimensional Expression Language (MDX), at least fundamentally.
The tabular model is likely to gain widespread acceptance for two main reasons. First, it is faster and easier to use than the multidimensional model. Second, most types of projects are better suited to tabular models than to multidimensional models. To help you choose the best model to use, see the Microsoft white paper “Choosing a Tabular or Multidimensional Modeling Experience in SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services.”
Columnstore index. For common data warehouse queries, this
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