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IT Pro Camp Tampa 2013

itprocamp

This year I was honored to sponsor and speak at IT Pro Camp Tampa 2013. Like always, it is a great pleasure to give back to the community and get to know people from different technical backgrounds. The event was very well-organized and the venue was great.

This year the entire Agile Bay team spoke at IT Pro Camp delivering 4 sessions in total for Track 2: Business Intelligence & Big Data (SQL Server, Hadoop, etc.). You can download the PowerPoint presentations by clicking on the session links below:

  1. Wes Springob | Introduction To Reporting Services
  2. Jose Chinchilla & Jon Bloom | Introduction to Big Data
  3. Jonathan Bloom | Introduction to T-SQL
  4. Jose Chinchilla |  Introduction to Microsoft BI
Tampa2013_Wes

Wes Springob deliverin Introduction to SSRS

Tampa2013_Attendees

IT Pro Camp Tampa 2013 Attendees

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.

.Net Code Camp Orlando 2013

CodeCamp

This past Saturday March 16th, I had the opportunity to speak once again the .Net Orlando Code Camp.  I presented a session under the SQL Server track titled “Change Data Capture, a developer’s best unknown friend”.  I had better than expected turn-out with about 20 attendees and overall very good participation.

I was glad to hear from more than one attendee that they were planning to use Change Data Capture in their environment and best of all to get rid of triggers!

I had the opportunity to catch-up with some of my friends and fellow SQL-ers from PASS. Also, met some new folks from the App/Dev community. These type of events are always great to expand your network, share your knowledge and learn something new!

Thanks to the organizers, sponsors, volunteers and attendees to make this event a success and for having me once more.

You can download my PowerPoint presentation and demo files at: http://sdrv.ms/15UUX64

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.

Afterthoughts: IT Pro Camp Orlando 2012

This past Saturday January 21, 2012 I had the opportunity to speak at my first IT Pro Camp in Orlando, FL. This event was put together by Blain Barton ( Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter ), Microsoft Senior IT Pro Evangelist and Chad Miller ( Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter ), Microsfot MVP and Senior Manager of Database Administration at Raymond James Financial.

Event

The event went very smooth and had a good turnaout. Food was amazing. They reallly outdid themselves with good old southern BBQ.

Presentation

I presented a session titled Introduction to Microsoft Business Intelligence (Slides), focusing on the basic concepts of BI and Datawarehousing, the Microsoft toolset and my Top 5 Rules of Wisdom for succesful BI. I had a great turnaout, about 25 attendees. All of the attendees were very engaged and asked excellent questions. I enjoyed presenting to the Orlando crowd.

Picture credits: Russel Faustino. See more pictures of the event here.

Other IT Pro Camps are being added. Check the IT Pro Camp website here to keep up to date.

Click on the picture below to download my Intorduction to Business Intelligence powerpoint presentation.

 

 

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.

SQL Saturday 86 BI Edition Tampa 2011: Afterthoughts

Wow! Just Wow! That’s all I can say to describe how great SQL Saturday 86 was on November 5th in Tampa, FL . I got so much positive feedback from every attendee, speaker and sponsor. Food was great, sessions were amazing, speakers were first class!  I have to say thanks to everyone for attending, speaking, sponsoring and helping out with these great event put together by the Tampa Bay Business Intelligence User Group officers and volunteers.

Organizing Committee & Volunteers

I cannot take personal credit for this event. It was truly a team effort. Somewhere I read that in order to be successful you need to surround yourself with talented & driven individuals that are committed to your same goals. Maybe I’m paraphrasing or simply making that up, but this has proven to work with running our local Tampa Bay Business Intelligence User Group and the SQL Saturday #86 BI Edition event.

The organizing committee was made up by:

The volunteers that participated in our event included:

  • Randy Borys
  • Gloria Salcedo
  • Chris Richardson
  • William Sanders
  • Pam Shaw
  • Richard Pyra
  • Wes Helton
  • Tom Totten
  • Denis Desault
  • David Greim
  • Lena Pavlyuk
  • Lyn Taylor

Speakers

Our speakers were world class speakers to say the least. The speaker roster included Microsoft MVPs, field engineers and evangelists and other professionals that committed their time and paid for their own travel to support our event. We had just a few speakers that cancelled for personal, health or work-related conflicts. We still want to express our appreciation to them for willing to support our event as well. Thankfully, we managed to secure alternate speakers who did a great job even though it was last minute. Thank your SQL Saturday #86 Speakers!

Sponsors

Our sponsors made our event a quality and epic event by sponsoring with cash, items and swag to giveaway. Thanks to them we were able to sponsor great Cuban food from LATAM restaurant, coffee and donuts throughout the day, swag and raffle prizes and provide our speakers with a thank you dinner.

  • KForce provided their facilities for our event.
  • Convergence Consulting Group (Twitter | Website) did an amazing job with our speaker and event organizers’ shirts.
  • Quest Software (Twitter | Website) raffled an iPad and a $100 Amazon gift card.
  • Redgate Software (Twitter | Website) offered a great variety of books to give away.
  • Pragmatic Works offered a free training voucher for any of their online classes.
  • LaSalle Computer Learning School offered a training voucher for any of their in-person SQL Server certification classes.
  • Fusion-IO raffled an iPad.
  • Idera raffled one their SQL Serve monitoring software suites and gift cards.
  • Soaring Eagle, ElSavier and Wrox each provided SQL Server and Business Intelligence books to raffle.

To all our sponsors thank you for supporting our SQL Server and Business Intelligence Community!

Panel of Experts

In this event I decided to put together a panel of experts to discuss several topics relating to SQL Server and Business Intelligence as well as a discussion of what’s new in the upcoming release of SQL Server 2012. The Panel of Experts took place at LATAM restaurant right after lunch. Our panel of experts included:

We invited our sponsors to briefly talk about their products and services and prizes they were giving away during the event. Following our sponsors I decided to recognize Andy Warren, MVP and PASS (Website) Board of Directors, for his contributions to the SQL Server community, SQL Saturday creation and 100 SQL Saturday milestone.

BI BootCamp pre-conference

Along with our free SQL Saturday #86 event we hosted a paid pre-conference titled “BI BootCamp” presented by SQL Server MVP and SSAS Maestro Instructor Adam Jorgensen. We exceeded our goal with 33 attendees paid attendees, all of which gave very positive feedback of Adam’s presentation. I did a star appearance, helping Adam present a section on SSRS Reports using OLAP cubes as a source.

Thanks to Mike Wells for (Twitter | LinkedIn | Blog) for taking pictures throughout the event. You can see more event pictures at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/116314811362928917852/SQLSat86

Download all SQL Server DENALI CTP3 Demo VHD 36 files at once

Microsoft has made available for download the SQL Server DENALI CTP3 Demo VHD several weeks ago at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=27740. The SQL Server DENALI CTP3 Demo VHD is a fully configured HyperV image of SQL Server Denali CTP3  and SharePoint 2010 good for 180 days. The following software is configured on the virtual machine:

  • SQL Server “Denali” CTP3
  • SharePoint 2010
  • Office 2010

You may want to download this pre-built image to test and play with all the new features available in SQL Server Denali CTP3 and SharePoint 2010 without going through the hassle of building the environment yourself.

The vhd file has been broken down into 36 compressed (RAR) files of 700MB each. You can avoid the pain of downloading each file one by one using a download manager such as the Download Accelerator Plus (DAP).

DAP is my favorite download manager for 3 simple reasons:

  1. It’s free
  2. It’s fast
  3. The “Download all with DAP” option

For those of you not familiar with DAP, you can download it for free at http://www.speedbit.com. After downloading and installing DAP, you will notice that one of the options now available when you right-click on a webpage is the “Download all with DAP” as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Download all with DAP option

By default, it will display a list of all downloadable items from the webpage. To filter the file types to download, click on the More button. An additional section displays at the bottom with a button to Filter. Click on the Filter button, and check Custom. Type RAR EXE with a single space in between the two words as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Filter option

Click OK. Only the downloadable items with extension RAR and EXE are selected and ready for download. To start downloading click on the Download Now button. By default only 4 items will download in parallel, the rest will be queued and start downloading when one of the first 4 items complete as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. DAP queue

Using Unary Operators to control Analysis Services hierarchy aggregations

Analysis Services hierarchy aggregations can be easily controlled using unary operators. For example, in accounting there are GL accounts that are grouped in major GL account groups and used in different financial statements like Profit & Loss Statement, Income Statement, Trial Balance, and Balance Sheet. These GL accounts may affect the balances of the major GL account groups and  financial documents differently, adding  or subtracting to the balance.

A simpler example, might involve sales quotas for a Sales Department. For example, in some organizations the Sales Department is broken down into sales teams with salespeople assigned to those teams. The overall Sales Department quota is broken down into smaller quotas among these sales teams and the sales team’s quota is then broken down into quotas assigned to the team members. In some organizations, Sales Managers often assign these quotas evenly throughout the sales teams and sales team members. Others, in order to guarantee a fat bonus check decide to raise the bar and assign sales quotas that are higher to the overall department’s sales quota. Figure 1 below shows an organizational structure chart of our sample Sales Department with sales quotas that don’t sum up evenly.

Figure 1. Sales Department organizational structure chart and sales quotas

As can be seen in Figure 1, the total Sales Department quota is $150,000. The Sales Manager in this case decided to push their teams harder and assigned a sales quota of $60,000 to each team. In a perfect scenario, if all sales teams meet their sales quota, the total sales for the Sales Department would be $180,000, which is $30,000 more than the department’s sales quota. Accordingly, each team, in order to impress their Sales Manager and win a free meal and margaritas at the local Mexican joint, decided to exceed the team’s sales quota by assigning higher personal sale quotas.

In our BI solution, we are required to create an Analysis Services cube in which the Sales Manager can track these sales quotas at each level of the Sales Department organizational chart as seen in Figure1. But, we cannot simply sum up the sales quotas, because the totals would not match up. We could approach these several ways, but our requirement is to replicate Figure 1 with a single “SalesQuota” measure with no MDX or additional measures involved.

The Solution

In order to achieve the requirement imposed above we can make use of a special attribute property in Analysis Services called UnaryOperatorColumn to control how level members of our hierarchy contribute to the aggregated value of the level parent.

In a regular scenario, the parent’s sales quota at each level would be equal to the sum of its children’s sales quota. That would have been the case if the Sales Manager in our example had decided to distribute the overall Sales Department quota equally among each sales team and the individual sales team members would have done the same for their personal sales quota. In other words, each sales team’s quota would have been $50,000 each ($150,000 / 3). For Sales Team A, for example, each sales person’s quota would have been $16,66.67 each ($50,000 / 3).

But in our scenario, the parent’s sales quota at each level should not be equal to the sum of its children’s sales quota. The only solution then, is to create an “artificial” child at each level that holds the parent’s sales quota and specify this “artificial” child to be the only child contributing to the parent’s total. This is possible through the UnaryOperatorColumn attribute property in the Dimension designer in BIDS. In Figure 2 you can see the available Unary Operators that can be used in this property along with the resulting behavior as described in Books On Line (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms175417.aspx).

Figure 2. Unary Operators.

The UnaryOperatorColumn attribute property value, as the name implies, is a pointer to a table column that holds one of the Unary Operators listed in Figure 2. For our Sales Department quotas example, we would need a column that holds the unary operator for each level member in our Sales Department dimension. The Sales Department dimension source table would look as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Sales Department dimension source table

Notice that this table is a naturalized Parent Child table. Also, notice that an “artificial” child was created with the same name as its parent. This “artificial” child is the child that will hold the parent’s sales quota value and is the only value that will be used in the parent aggregation. The way we control this aggregation, is by assigning to this artificial child the ‘”+” Unary Operator and the rest of the children the “~” Unary Operator.

At the lower level in our hierarchy all the way to the right in Figure 3, each sales person is assigned a “~” as its Unary Operator  in the SalesPersonUnaryOperatorColumn and only the “artificial” child receives a “+” as its Unary Operator. The same applies for the Sales Team level in our hierarchy, only the “artificial” child is assigned the “+” Unary Operator.

The FactSalesQuota table that holds the sales quotas would look as shown in Figure 4:

Figure 4 FactSalesQuota fact table

The Analysis Services project

Once we have defined our underlying table structure, we can take a look at the Analysis Services project. Figure 5 shows the basic project definition with the Sales Department Dimension and Sales Quota measure.

Figure 5. Analysis Services project definition

The Sales Quota Measure

The sales quota measure is a straightforward column based measure. It is based on the Fact Sales Quota table and is a simple SUM aggregation. Figure 6 shows the sales quota measure definition.

Figure 6. Sales Quota measure

The Sales Department Dimension

The Sales Department dimension is a simple dimension with the necessary attributes needed to design a drilldown hierarchy. Figure 7 and 8 show the Sales Department dimension definition, user hierarchy and attribute relationships.

Figure 7 Sales Department definition

Figure 8 Sales Department attribute relationships

A very important step in any user hierarchy definition is to specify the key columns at each level. In this case, the only attribute that needs a composite key column definition is the Sales Team attribute. The key column definition is shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9 Sales Team attribute key columns

The deployed cube with the Sales Department definition provided so far would look as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Deployed cube

Notice that the “artificial” children show up and that the children’s sales quotas are being added to the parent’s aggregated amount. To fix the aggregation issue we need to define the UnaryOperatorColumn attribute properties for the children level members. We can hide the “artificial” children by changing the HideMemberIf user hierarchy level property to Parent.

Figure 11 and 12 show the values for the UnaryOperatorColumn property for the Sales Person and Sales Team attributes.

Figure 11. Sales Person UnaryOperatorColumn value

Figure 12. Sales Team UnaryOperatorColumn value

Figure 13 and 14 show the user hierarchy level property HideMemberIf

Figure 13 Sales Person user hierarchy level HideMemberIf property

Figure 14 Sales Team user hierarchy level HideMemberIf property

The Results

Once these properties have been changed the resulting deployed cube should look exactly as required. Figure 15 shows the exact aggregation behavior as in Figure 1.

Figure 15 Final results

Conclusion and Considerations

The solution presented above provides the exact results as dictated by our requirements and is meant as a means to exemplify and understand how unary operator can be used to control aggregation behaviors in user hierarchies.

There are other options to provide the same results, but this solution requires no calculated members or MDX at all. While this solution works, you need to keep in mind that there are some performance consideration regarding unary operators and parent child hierarchies. The key is always to TEST! TEST! TEST!

Sample Files

You can download the project files used in this post here.

Afterthoughts: SQL Saturday #79 South Florida 2011

This past Saturday August 13th I presented two sessions at SQL Saturday #79 hosted by the South Florida SQL Server User Group (SFSSUG) (Webpage | LinkedIn| Twitter). The first presentation was at 11:00am titled “So, What is BI Semantic Model and why should you care?” and the second one was at 3:00pm titled “Designing  and Optimizing Analysis Services Hierarchies.” I had an amazing time chatting with some old friends that made it to South Florida all the way from Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA and  several other Florida cities like Jacksonville, Pensacola, Orlando, and Tampa.

The Driving Adventure

It was an adventure to get there as I decided to make the 4-hour drive from Tampa, FL (about 500 miles round-trip) early in the morning. My original plan was to start my drive around 4:30am but due to being jet lagged from my midnight flight the day before, I woke up until I snoozed the alarm for the 3rd time around 6:30am. That gave me a 30 minute window to get there on time for my 11am session.

The Event

The event was well put together by it’s organizers and volunteers. The food was great and included a mix of Mexican goodies. The Nova Southeastern University Carl DeSantis Building was a great venue. I really liked the central atrium where everybody converged in between sessions and was more than ideal for having lunch and event wrap-up. Great choice of venue & food!

The Attendees

One Mountain Dew + a 5-hour energy bottle and a speeding ticket later, I managed to get there with 20 minutes to spare. My first session titled What is BI Semantic Model and why should you care? started on time and was packed. It was literally standing room only. I had a great time with the audience. They were very engaged and asked both technical and philosophical questions. A couple speakers and friends attended such as my “tweep” (tweeter peep) Phillip Rosen (LinkedIn | Twitter) whom I got to know him in person for the first time. Also, the amazing Data Mining expert and newly minted Microsoft MVP Mark Tabladillo, Ph.D. (Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter) with whom I exchanged a couple of good jokes and funny moments during the presentation. The most memorable being the conception of the term “Bingle” which is the abbreviation of Bing and Google.

Sanjay Soni, Microsoft TSP

One of the attendees was Sanjay Soni (LinkedIn), Microsoft’s new Data and BI Platform Technology Solution Professional (TSP) for the Greater Southeast District (Florida). Sanjay introduced himself after the presentation and was very kind to provide very positive feedback for my BISM presentation. We  spent some time chatting about opportunities to co-present and network some more. I’m very excited to assist Sanjay  as much as I can in his new role in Florida. I encourage for you to network with Sanjay as he is a very friendly and approachable guy. You will see him very soon at a user group or event near you!

At the end of my session several other attendees came up to introduce themselves personally. There were so many I almost ran out of business cards. I appreciate when attendees take a moment to chat with me after my sessions and get the opportunity to listen to their feedback and kind words. I feel truly honored to have been able to present to such a great crowd.

So, What is BI Semantic Model and why should you care?

In this presentation, I did an overview of the new Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) and the new “flavor” of the Analysis Services Engine that Microsoft will release with SQL Server Codename Denali. I explained about the new focus on “Personal BI” with the PowerPivot add-in for Excel, “Workgroup BI” with PowerPivot for SharePoint and “Enterprise BI” with Analysis Services UDM and Tabular mode. I showcased the free PowerPivot add-in for Excel 2010 and later demonstrated how easily a PowerPivot workbook can now be turned into an enterprise grade Tabular database using the new Business Intelligence Development Studio in SQL Server Codename Denali and how simple it is to deploy them.

You can download the slides here or by clicking on the picture above.

Designing  and Optimizing Analysis Services Hierarchies

 

On my second presentation Designing and Optimizing Analysis Services Hierarchies I also had a great time interacting with the attendees. The session was designed as an intermediate session but changed it a little bit to more beginner level from the results of my skillset level audience survey. I had great questions and participation from the attendees.

You can download the slides here or by clicking the picture above.

Thanks to everyone who attended my sessions and to the organizers and volunteers that made SQL Saturday #79 a success!

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