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My PASS Summit 2013 Presentations

PASS_2013_SpeakingButton_180x180-1I had the honor to speak for the first time at this past PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte, NC. It was a great opportunity for me as this is one of the most prestigious nationwide conferences on SQL Server. I delivered 3 different sessions on Business Intelligence related topics. Attendance to my sessions exceeded my expectations and my overall experience as a first-time speaker was very positive. I also need to add that the God’s of the live demos were on my side.

My session titled PowerPivot + Power View = Self-service BI Revolution was full and had about 5 to 8 people standing in the back. Everybody got excited when I did a demo of the nice interactivity in Power View and 3D geographical capabilities of PowerMap.

The Lightning Talk room was packed and people had to be turned away. This room should be bigger next time as these Lightning Talks are very popular. Everybody accepted and agreed with my postulation on the need for Conformed Stored Procedures in addition to Conformed Dimensions and Facts. After the Lightning Talks were over, several attendees came forward to discuss further how Conformed Stored Procedures should be implemented. One attendee in particular, mentioned that he had been thinking about proposing a similar approach to his team and this talk helped him get re-assurance of this approach.

My last session on SSAS Hierarhcies Tips & Tricks was a half-day session on the last day of the summit between 2:00pm and 5:00pm. It was half-full for the first half of the session, and ended up about 1/4 full.  This drop-off is expected towards the end of the Summit as many people fly back home on Friday and usually leave around 4:00pm.

I’m very pleased with the turnout and feedback received. The audience in all of my sessions was very engaged and had a lot of great questions. I definitely look forward to speak at PASS Summit 2014 in Seattle, WA and at PASS BA Conference 2014 in San Jose, CA.

To download my presentations slides click on the links below:

1. Regular Session (75 minutes): 4798 PowerPivot + Power View = Self-Service BI Revolution
2. Lightning Talk Session (10 minutes): Slides: 5511 Conformed Stored Procedures Script: ConformedStoredProcs_SQLScript
3. Half-Day Session (3 hours): 4803 Fast Performing SSAS Hierarchies Tips and Tricks

Thanks to all the attendees and PASS team for this great opportunity. I hope I met or exceeded everyone’s expectations.

If you attended one of my presentations, please leave your comments and feedback!

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Configuring BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2008 to work with Database & Business Intelligence Projects and Team Foundation Server (TFS)

Working with the SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence projects along with Database projects in the same Visual Studio 2008 development environment can be challenging as there is no clear documentation how to enable both set of projects.  Database projects are supported by Visual Studio 2008 Developer, Professional and Team System Database Editions. The  SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence projects are supported by the Visual Studio 2008 shell that comes with SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2.

If you have BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 installed by itlself and you try to open a database project you get an error saying that this type of project is not supported. You get the same error if you have Visual Studio 2008 installed by itself and try to open one of the Business Intelligence projects. The reason behind these errors is that BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 does not come with the database project template and Visual Studio 2008 does not come with the SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS Business Intelligence project templates.

So how do you get both set of templates in a single development environment?

In order to get both set of templates in the same development environment, you need to install both Visual Studio 2008 and BIDS in the right order as described in the following steps:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    – Visual Studio 2008
    – BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    – Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media

At this point should have a working Visual Studio environment with both set of projects.  A quick way to verify that the installation was successful, is to take a look at the Visual Studio version in the Help|About page. It will show as Version 9.0.30729.4462 QFE as shown in the picture below. QFE stands for Quick Fix Engineering.

VS2008QFE

When you launch Visual Studio 2008 or BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2 you will be prompted to select the default environment settings. Since I work with the Business Intelligence projects most of the time, I select the Business Intelligence environment. This is an option presented only the first time you open Visual Studio. To change this setting, use the Import and Export Settings wizard, which is available on the Tools menu. For more information on choosing and changing the environment settings go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/6k364a7k(v=vs.90).aspx.

Connecting to TFS 2005 and 2008

To connect to TFS 2005 and 2008 you will need to download and install Team Explorer 2008 from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338.

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2005 or TFS 20008 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    – Visual Studio 2008
    – BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    – Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5.  Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338.

Connecting to TFS 2010

In some cases, the solutions & projects are 2008 / 2008 R2 projects but the repository is TFS 2010 or TFS 2012. Even if you installed Team Explorer 2008 you will get an error when trying to connect to a TFS 2010 or TFS 2012 server. The reason for this is due to the fact that Team Explorer 2008 does not support full URL paths (i.e. https://myservername/mytfs/mycollection) in the TFS server name section.

To fix this issue you will need to download and install the Forward Compatibility Update Team Explorer 2008 SP1 for Team Foundation Server 2010 (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10834).

Notice that this update can only be applied to Team Explorer 2008 SP1 (Service Pack 1). The curve ball here is that there is no Team Explorer 2008 SP1 available  as a download. In order to turn Team Explorer 2008 into Team Explorer 2008 SP1 is to apply the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 to it. This means that if you followed steps 1 to 4 above, you will need to repeat Step 3 (Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1).

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2010 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    – Visual Studio 2008
    – BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    – Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5. Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338
  6. Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1
  7. Install the forward compatibility update for Team Explorer 2008 SP1 for Team Foundation Server 2010
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10834

Connecting to TFS 2012

To connect to TFS 2012 the following update is required :

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Compatibility GDR for Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Server and Team Foundation Service Preview (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29983).

If your end goal is to be able to work with database projects, business intelligence projects and connect to TFS 2012 the complete steps are as follows:

  1. Uninstall all of these if you already have them installed in your environment:
    – Visual Studio 2008
    – BIDS 2008 / 2008 R2
    – Team Explorer 2008
  2. Install Visual Studio 2008
  3. Install Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10986
  4. Install BIDS from your SQL Server 2008 / 2008 R2 installation media
  5. Install Team Explorer 2008
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16338
  6. Re-install Visual Studio 2008 SP1
  7. Install Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Compatibility GDR for Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Server and Team Foundation Service Preview
    (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29983

Hopefully this post helps you get your environment all squared away.

Presenting 2 sessions at SQLPASS

I’m truly honored to be chosen to speak at PASS Summit 2013. The honor is compounded as I have been chosen to deliver two sessions:

SQLJoePresentingSummit

  • Fast Performing SSAS Hierarchies: Tips and Tricks (3 hours)
    Track: BI Platform Architecture, Development & Administration
    Session Abstract: Depending on how they’re implemented, SQL Server Analysis Services hierarchies can be the source for a very high performing OLAP cube or the culprits of long running analysis. Are you implementing SSAS hierarchies correctly?This half-day session will walk you through how to implement SSAS hierarchies the right way and show you some tips and tricks to make them perform faster. You’ll also learn how to query and navigate SSAS hierarchies using common MDX functions.
  • PowerPivot + Power View = Self-Service BI Revolution(75 minutes)
    Track: BI Information Delivery
    Session Abstract: The status quo has changed. IT is no longer required for business intelligence. End users can do their own BI within the comforts of Excel and SharePoint. Sound threatening? Maybe freeing? In this session, get to know what your role is and could be in this new self-service delivery model. You’ll also learn how PowerPivot and Power View work, how to leverage them, and how to make them fit into your enterprise data warehouse.

I feel very fortunate to be chosen as a speaker and to be able to give back to the community at a much bigger scale. I hope to instill my passion for the community and to be a relevant source of learning at PASS Summit 2013 to all who attend my sessions.

I encourage you to join me and attend PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte, N.C. from Oct. 15th to 18th. There are more than 190 sessions to attend. We will also host  12 full-day pre-conference sessions on Oct. 14th and 15th with top SQL Server gurus.

For more information visit: http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2013/

In addition to speaking at PASS Summit 2013, I am planning to speak and attend the SQL Saturday #237 Charlotte, N.C. BI Edition which will be hosted Saturday Oct. 19th following PASS Summit 2013 week.

For more information about SQL Saturday #237 Charlotte, N.C. BI visit: http://www.sqlsaturday.com/237/eventhome.aspx

I hope to see you there!

I have been appointed as PASS Regional Mentor for the Greater Southeast

I have been appointed as PASS Regional Mentor for the Greater Southeast by PASS (http://www.sqlpass.org). I am truly honored to volunteer for this position to help improve our PASS community. These are BIG shoes to fill.

I will be joining my good friend Tim Radney (Twitter | Blog) oversee 28 chapters across 6 US states (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, and SC) as well as the Netherlands Antilles. The complete list of chapters that make up the Greater Southeast can be found at: http://www.sqlpass.org/PASSChapters/USGreaterSoutheast.aspx.

What is a Regional Mentor? What do Regional Mentors do?

In Karla Landrum’s (Twitter | Blog) own words:

In general, a PASS Regional Mentor can be defined as the following:

Passionate community volunteer

  • Dedicated to PASS and the SQL Server community
  • Understands the value of giving his/her time and talents to helping others increase their knowledge and skills and improving the overall community

PASS ambassador

  • Understands PASS and its mission and represents the best of PASS to Chapters in his/her area
  • Works to keep PASS accountable, on track, and meeting the needs of its members

Primary point of contact for Chapters

  • RM facilitates 2-way communications: resources, benefits, and news from PASS to Chapters and Chapter needs and feedback back to PASS
  • RM knows who to contact at PASS, at the local/regional Microsoft office, area sponsors, etc. if Chapters need something or have questions

The full blog post of Karla Landrum on “What is a Regional Mentor” can be found at: http://karlalandrum.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/what-is-a-pass-regional-mentor/

What does being a Regional Mentor means to me?

My personal view is that  a Regional Mentor is a facilitator and nothing else. This position is not a bureaucratic layer on top of PASS Chapters. I’m not a Regional Mentor to supervise, police, decide, or interfere with day-to-day activities of PASS Chapters. It is meant to be the first level of contact, but it does not mean Chapters can’t talk directly to PASS staff and leadership.

Regional Mentors can help PASS Chapters acquire swag, books and even speakers for their Chapter meetings. Regional Mentors can also open doors from personal contacts, contacts established by PASS or even contacts that other Chapters have already established.

Regional Mentors can also help by providing best practices and guidelines on how to run a succesful Chapter or event from past personal experiences as well as experiences from other Chapter leaders and PASS management.

Regional Mentors can also help Chapters leverage as a group on common challenges and issues, for example: incorporating as a non-for profit, learning how to deal with taxes, managing finances, structuring the chapter leadership, obtaining legal representation, obtaining special discounts, sharing of event materials and equipment, coordinating events and speakers, etc. These are just examples of some of the ideas and initiatives for the Southeast Chapters, so be in the lookout for some discussions around them.

What do I have to offer?

As President for the past 3+ years of the Tampa Bay Business Intelligence PASS Chapter (http://tampabaybi.sqlpass.org), organizer/co-organizer of  3 SQL Saturdays, and speaker at more than 35 events like SQLSaturdays,  I understand the challenges and time committment of PASS Chapter leaders. 

Throughout my community involvement, I have created a good network of SQL Server and Business Intelligence professionals, Chapter leaders and community rockstars. In addition, I have established great relationships with “blue badges” (Microsoft employees), PASS leadership and staff and have direct points of contact at many companies that offer products and services related to SQL Server and other Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies.

It is my desire to help Chapters that need from my past experience, network, ideas and initiatives, and role as a facilitator . It is my intention to let Chapter leaders continue to keep doing their invaluable jobs and not interfere or serve as a barrier to their activities.

I’m here to facilitate!

SQL Server Upgrade error: It is not possible to change the SQL Server features to be upgraded in this release. Validation errors. There are no features selected for upgrade.

On a recent project I was asked to “upgrade” a licensed SQL Server 2008R2 Standard Edition to SQL Server 2008R2 Enterprise Edition. I have done this multiple times with no issues. The “kicker” was that the upgrade required a 48-hour turnaround time but no installation media for SQL Server Enterprise was going to be available in that same timeframe due to a delay in the procurement process.

In order to meet project requirements and gain some time, a team member suggested we go ahead and do the “upgrade” using a downloaded copy of SQL Server 2008R2 Evaluation Edition since Evaluation Edition contains all the Enterprise features that were required. Once the installation media for SQL Server 2008R2 Enterprise arrived, we were to simply upgrade the Evaluation Edition to Enterprise Edition.

My immediate response was that going from a licensed edition to an evaluation edition was not possible. It is not a “natural” upgrade path and is actually considered a “downgrade” as you are going from a licensed edition to an unlicensed edition. As a professional I had to back this statement up with official Microsoft documentation. As a geek no matter what the documentation said I had to try it myself to see what happened. So I did both.

Documentation
A quick search of Books on Line on SQL Server 2008R2 led me to the following MSDN article titled “Version and Edition Upgrades” (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143393(v=sql.105).aspx) . This article is great as it outlines all the supported upgrade scenarios for all versions and editions of SQL Server. A quick scroll towards the bottom shows that the only two upgrade paths supported for Standard Edition is Enterprise and Datacenter. As a matter of fact this article shows that there is no support going from any other edition to Evaluation Edition.

Additionally, there are a couple of footnotes at the bottom. An important footnote to take a look at is footnote No. 2. Although the statements in footnote No. 2 are within the context of failover clusters, some of them also apply to stand-alone installations. In this footnote it is clearly stated that SQL Server 2008R2 Standard to SQL Server 2008R2 Evaluation upgrade is not supported.

Test

I wanted to see for myself the error message generated if I tried to carry out the upgrade anyways. Of course I did not try to do this on the actual client’s environment. That is a big no no! I decided to spin up my own sandbox virtual environment. The steps I followed on my test were:

  1. Install SQL Server 2008R2 Standard Edition (Database Services, Analysis Services, SSMS, BIDS)
  2. Reboot
  3. Upgrade SQL Server 2008R2 Standard Edition to SQL Server 2008R2 Evaluation Edition using the Upgrade Setup Wizard from Installation Center.

As I went through the Upgrade Setup Wizard I got the following validation error as expected:

In summary, you cannot upgrade from a licensed SQL Server edition to SQL Server Evaluation Edition. It is perfectly possible though, to upgrade from SQL Server Evaluation Edition to other licensed SQL Server editions. For more details on the supported upgrade paths refer to MDSN article: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143393(v=sql.105).aspx.

The affordable self-service BI revolution has started.

I am officially announcing that I have now become an independent consultant and business owner. Becoming independent has always been my dream and I have now decided to follow that dream. I believe it is the right time to do it for my family and myself. It’s time to soar!

Why did I leave Pragmatic Works?

Simple. I wanted to follow my career goals and carve my own path. It was a hard decision to leave Pragmatic Works as I really enjoyed the work environment and had great relationship with the top brass Brian Knight, Adam Jorgensen, and Sam Washburn as well as my co-workers. The folks at Pragmatic Works gave me a lot of opportunities to learn and grow for which I am forever grateful. It is a great company to work for and highly recommend working for them. I would return to work for them in a heartbeat.

What are my plans?

First of all, I have created a corporation, called Agile Bay, Inc. (http://www.agilebay.com) through which I will be providing Business Intelligence consulting services, Software Development, Training and Staffing services. I will also be doing contract work and hiring BI and Software developers to take on some of these jobs.

My plan is to focus on self-service Business Intelligence solutions using the Microsoft toolset, including:

  • SQL Server Database Services
  • Analysis Services
  • Reporting Services
  • Master Data Services
  • Data Quality Services
  • SharePoint
  • Performance Point
  • PowerPivot
  • PowerView
  • & more…

I will continue leading, volunteering and sharing my knowledge in the SQL Server and Business Intelligence community and in PASS.

Enter the affordable self-service BI revolution

The new release of SQL Server 2012 will bring a lot to offer in the BI space. I truly believe it will be a game changer and many companies will embark in new Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence and Master Data Management projects. Some of these projects may have been put on hold due to licensing and development costs. This is where SQL Server 2012 will shine as it introduces lower BI licensing costs with the new SQL Server Business Intelligence Edition. Organizations will no longer require Enterprise Edition to do all the cool things Microsoft has to offer with their BI suite.

Additionally, the shift to the BI Semantic Model and the focus on self-service BI will open a lot of doors to consulting firms with lower overhead like mine. Enter the affordable self-service BI revolution!

Hitting the ground running

I am very grateful to the fact that the word has spread out among my immediate professional network and have already been booked for projects and contract work several months ahead.

I have tried not to market myself or my company too much during this initial phase as I want to manage my growth more organically. I am in the process of hiring BI developers at all levels, so if you are interested feel free to contact me via http://www.agilebay.com/#!contact.

 Mission

My mission is to empower individuals and organizations through the Microsoft Business Intelligence Toolset.

Vision

My vision is to be the catalyst and leader of the affordable self-service Business Intelligence revolution.

Value proposition

There are many alternatives available when chosing a consulting firm to help you achieve a succesful Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse and Master Data Management implementation.  My value proposition is to achieve this same success at an affordable budget and by providing you with the knowledge transfer and mentoring needed to continue your own development efforts.

The sales pitch

 You need an experienced and expert professional to help you with your design and development efforts.  I have experience and expertise. Let’s talk.

You may contact me through my company’s website at http://www.agilebay.com/#!contact or through email: info@agilebay.com

I’m also available for any quick help through email at jchinchilla@sqljoe.com. Make sure to check out my blog at http://www.sqljoe.com as well.

Master Data Services Error: Resolving from a long-running stucked Staging Batch with Status “Queued to Clear” or “Not Running”

In some ocassions,  you may run into a runaway, long-running or stucked staging batch with Master Data Services in SQL Server 2008 R2. The issue happens most frequently when a fairly large batch of rows are being processed for update or deletion.

The issue has to do with Service Broker, either due to a timeout or notifications not being received or received incomplete.  You can confirm the issue when you query the queue [mdm].[microsoft/mdm/queue/stagingbatch]. You will see one or more messages in this queue. After searching through a couple of forum threads I found the solution to be fairly simple: rollback transactions an re-enable Service Broker. The steps are as follows:

  1. Set the MDS database in single user mode and rollback uncommitted transactions.
    ALTER DATABASE [MDS] SET  SINGLE_USER WITH ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE;
  2. Re-enable Service Broker on the MDS database.
    ALTER DATABASE [MDS] SET  ENABLE_BROKER WITH NO_WAIT;
  3. Set the MDS database back in to “regular” multi-user mode.
    ALTER DATABASE [MDS] SET  MULTI_USER WITH ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE;

Once the MDS database is brought back online, all queued messages should be cleared out and MDS database will be able to communicate normally with Service Broker.

You can check Books on Line for more information on the difference between “NO WAIT” and “WITH ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE” options when issuing the ALTER DATABASE command here. Pinal Dave has a good post about the difference between these two options as well here.

Hope this post has helped you. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

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