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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.

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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.

SSAS errors: DefaultMember(Measures,Measures) (1, 1) The ‘[xxx]’ member was not found in the cube when the string, [Measures].[xxx], was parsed.

When attempting to browse an Analysis Services cube you may be presented with the following error message:

DefaultMember(Measures,Measures) (1, 1) The ‘[xxx]’ member was not found in the cube when the string, [Measures].[xxx], was parsed.

The error message is self-explanatory. There is a Default Member being referenced and was not found. But, pinpointing where this “DefaultMember” is being referenced may me a bit challenging.

The Root Cause

The root cause of this issue is quite simple: a deleted or renamed measure is still being referenced by its original name. Some of the areas where this deleted or renamed default measure could still be referenced by its original name include:

  1. Cube DefaultMeasure property
  2. Perspective DefaultMeasure property
  3. Calculations

The fix

The fix may involve adding the measure back or renaming the measure to its original name or digging through several areas of the cube where the deleted or renamed measure is still being referenced by its original name. Here are your options:

1. Add or rename the measure back to its original name.
This may not be the desired option, but it could be the easiest and quickest way to fix the issue.

2. Modify each Perspective’s DefaultMeausure property
Unfortunately, deleting or renaming a measure does not “trickle-down” where it is being referenced in a perspective. The original measure’s name will remain.

3. Change the cube DefaulMeasure property to the new measure name.
Similar to Perspectives, deleting or renaming a measure does not “trickle-down” its new name to the cube’s DefaultMeasure property. You will need to select a new measure in the DefaultMeasure property.

4. Modify the cube XML code
This option may be a little daunting to some, but in the end it is the quickest way to make sure the original measure’s name is replaced by the new measure’s name. To do this, in Solution Explorer right click on the Cube’s name and select View Code. The XMLA definition will open. At this point, press CTRL+H or click on Edit->Find and Replace->Quick Replace.The Quick Replace window will open. Type the original measure’s name in the “Find what” textbox and type the new measure’s name in the “Replace with:” textbox.

Afterthoughts: SharePoint Saturday Tampa 2011

This past Saturday June 11th, 2011 I had the opportunity to co-present at SharePoint Saturday Tampa thanks to a special invitation by its main organizer Michael Hinckley (Twitter|Blog|LinkedIn). It was a great experience and a very well-organized event. I met several SharePoint professionals I follow on Twitter for the first time and learned more about them and others in the industry that are in a few words, Rockstars!

Speaker Dinner & Event Networking
As a speaker, I was invited to attend the speaker dinner at Donatello Restaurant (website) on Friday evening June 10th.  The place was a great choice as we had the lounge & bar area mostly for ourselves. Food was excellent. At the dinner party I had the opportunity to connect with several friends from the area, some which I had not seen personally for a while such as

Michael Antonovich  (Blog|Twitter|LinekdIn),
Assistant Director of Web Services at Orange County Public Schools

Landon Bass (Blog|LinkedIn),
Systems Engineer III – SharePoint Engineer at Raymond James

Chad Miller (Blog|Twitter|LinkedIn),
Sr Manager Database Administration at Raymond James

I also met some other cool guys like

Chris Schwab’s (Blog|Twitter|LinkedIn),
Sharepoint & PowerShell guru

David McNamee (Blog|Twitter|LinkedIn),
SharePoint Technology Specialist at Microsoft

Michael Oryszak (Blog|Twitter|LinkedIn)
Practice Manager at Intellinet, SharePoint Server MVP, MCITP

Marc D. Anderson (Blog|Twitter|LinkedIn),
Co-Founder and President at Sympraxis Consulting LLC

The Presentation
Michael Hinckley and I co-presented “Extending Business Intelligence Solutions with SharePoint 2010,” in which we did an overview of what SharePoint 2010 has to offer for Business Intelligence. Michael did a great job doing an overview of SharePoint 2010 covering deployment considerations, licensing and edition comparisons. I then proceeded to do quick overview of Business Intelligence, what it is and what it is not. The audience was very engaged and we spent at least 10 minutes discussing the BI self-delivery model and the governance necessary around it to ensure the “single version of the truth.”

Click here or on image above to download the presenation

David McNamee from Microsoft attended the presentation and contributed to the discussion regarding governance and the self-delivery model. He made a statement that resonated a lot with me as an IT professional regarding these politics and battles between IT and the business:

..if IT and the Business don’t talk and collaborate and the business does not consider IT as a strategic partner, then I’m in the wrong organization.

This is very true and agree 100% with David. As a matter of fact, a big reason why I left a past employer was because of these unhealthy politics.

At the end  of the presentation I showcased Excel Services, Performance Point Services and one of the coolest features in SharePoint 2010 Decomposition Trees. We got great feedback and hopefully Michael and I have an opportunity to co-present again at other events. I felt Michael and I had a good synergy co-presenting (even with no rehearsal).

This may be a taste of things to come between the synergy the Tampa Bay Business Intelligence User Group and the Tampa Bay SharePoint User Group.

 The Sessions I attended
I attended just a couple of sessions as I spent most of my time networking with attendees, speakers and sponsors and promoting our own upcoming SQL Saturday #86 BI Edition on November 5th.

While I am not a SharePoint Developer (yet), I really enjoyed Marc D. Anderson’s presentation “Developing in SharePoint’s Middle Tier.” I learned about his awesome SPServices jQuery library publicly available at Codeplex (http://spservices.codeplex.com/) and also about his SharePoint XSL templates also available at Codeplex (http://spxslt.codeplex.com). Through his jQuery library and XSL templates you can easily customize the user experience of SharePoint forms like cascading dropdown menus, selectable textbox word hints, real-time data validation and much more. Really cool stuff.

During lunch time I attended a session / discussion by Kathy Malone (Meetup) and Blain Barton (Blog|LinkedIn) titled “Building Social Media Communities; How SharePoint Fits In.” This was an interesting discussion as it involved one of my favorite topics: Social Media. We discussed Twitter and how it can help startups and technical communities. I added my two cents ($0.02) and explained how great the #sqlhelp hashtag helps a lot of SQL Professionals with immediate answers from experts around the world. We discussed that for SharePoint there is #sphelp available. I was able to walk away with a signed copy of “Office and SharePoint 2010 User’s Guide” authored by my good friend Michael Antonovich. You can buy his book here.

Another great session I attended was presented by Ryan Morgan (Blog|Twitter|LinkedIn) titled “Silverlight Dashboards in SharePoint 2010.” I have not developed anything at all with Silverlight but was interested to learn how complex or easy it was to create custom dashboards in SharePoint 2010 with Silverlight. It turned out it was very simple, or at list Ryan was very effective at simplifying things that even a Silverlight newb like me understood it. I also learned how easy it is to query SharePoint lists using the API’s available using jQuery and LINQ. Very cool stuff.

I look forward to speaking and attending another SharePoint Saturday. There is so much to learn from the experts that speak at this event that I can apply on my line of work which is Business Intelligence. As Michael Hinckley and I have discussed, there is so much overlap between SharePoint 2010, SQL Server and Business Intelligence and the fact that Microsoft is focusing its efforts to make SharePoint the preferred enterprise information management platform, that SQL/BI and SharePoint folks need to engage more and more.

SSRS Error: Report Preview displays Access to the path ‘…\bin\Debug\Report.rdl’ is denied

While working on Reporting Services at a client site I came across this error when trying to preview a report in BIDS:

The report preview failed because the report could not be built. Read the errors, warnings and messages in the Error List window for specific build failures.

An error was raised in the Error List window below with the following message:

Access to the path ‘C:\Users\Jose\Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Projects\Report Project\bin\Debug\Report.rdl’ is denied

The root cause why this happens is unclear to me, but it seems that the Debug folder’s permissions get changed to Read Only for no apparent reason as can be seen on the screenshot below:

The workaround is to uncheck the Read-only attribute checkbox for the entire Debug folder or simply delete the Debug folder. BIDS will recreate this folder when you click on the Preview tab. If I come up with the root cause of this issue I will update this post.

The development environment is:
– VMWare virtual machine
– Windows Server 2008-R2 64-bit
– SQL Server Reporting Services 2008-R2 64-bit

SSRS errors: (rsReportServerDatabaseUnavailable) The report server cannot open a connection to the report server database.

Sometimes you may get this error when trying to launch your report server webpage:

The report server cannot open a connection to the report server database. A connection to the database is required for all requests and processing. (rsReportServerDatabaseUnavailable)

While the error is descriptive enough to let you know that Reporting Services could not find the report server database, it may be a challenge to some who have no idea where this database is and what is it used for. To your surprise, there is more than one database involved.

Reporting Services requires two databases to run:

  • ReportServer
  • ReportServerTempDB

In short, the Report Server database is needed to store report definitions, report history and snapshots, report models, shared data sources, resources, scheduling and delivery information, metadata and several other objects. ReportServerTempDB is where Reporting Services stores session and execution data, cached reports, and work tables that are generated by the report server. For more information about Reporting Services database visit: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms156016.aspx.

To solve the error mentioned above you need the following information:

  1. What is the SQL Server Reporting Services instance you are trying to reach?
  2. Where are the SQL Server Reporting Services databases hosted?

Assuming you have the right permissions, you will need to run the Reporting Services Configuration Manager and point to the Reporting Services instance as seen on the image below. You would normally find  Reporting Services Configuration Manager under Start->Programs->Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2->Configuration Tools

Once you connect to your Reporting Services instance through Reporting Services Configuration Manager, go to the  Database tab located on the left pane to view the name of the SQL Server instance where the ReportServer database is being hosted and the name of the ReportServer database as seen in the image below.

Keep in mind that in some environments the ReportServer database may be hosted in a separate SQL Server database instance and the ReportServer database may have been renamed to other than the default “ReportServer” database name. You will usually find this type of configuration in a scale-out architecture. For more information on scale-out architecture visit: http://sqlcat.com/technicalnotes/archive/2008/06/05/reporting-services-scale-out-architecture.aspx.

Once you located the SQL Server database instance where the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB database are hosted you need to follow this checklist:

  1. Is the SQL Server database instance running? Is the SQL Server service started?
  2. Can you verify connectivity to the SQL Server database instance?
  3. Are the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB databases attached and online?
  4. Does the Reporting Services service account have read/write access to the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB databases?

Once all of this is verified to be true and issues have been fixed, than the last step would be to restart the Reporting Services instance. If everything is right you should be able to access your reports. It is highly recommended to frequently backup both the ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB databases. If you lose you ReportServer database you may re-deploy reports, data sources and datasets, but you will lose all subscriptions, schedules and report parts that users may have created.

Also, keep in mind that the ReportServerTempDB database does not behave like the SQL Server TempDB. Per MSDN Books on Line:

“Reporting Services does not re-create the temporary database if it is missing, nor does it repair missing or modified tables. Although the temporary database does not contain persistent data, you should back up a copy of the database anyway so that you can avoid having to re-create it as part of a failure recovery operation.” For more details visit: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms156016.aspx

 

Lessons from my first week on Twitter.

I finally gave in to the peer pressure of social media and started tweeting and following fellow twiterers in the SQL/BI arena. The first set of questions that popped-up on my head when I made the decision to start my Twitter account were:

  1. What am I going to tweet about?
  2. Who will care about what I got to say?
  3. Will following too many people cause an information overload?
  4. Should I limit my tweets to SQL/BI only matters?
  5. Will I be lost with all the lingo and abbreviations as in SMS texting?
  6. Will I become addicted once again to something non-productive?
  7. If I have survived life so far without Twitter, why do I need it now?
  8. If I complain about not having enough time balancing work, family and professional development, how can I justify twittering?

Although,  haven’t been able to answer all of these questions, I decided to bite the bullet and get on Twitter. The closing case to become part of the Twitter gang was  made by Jorge Segarra @SQLChicken during a SQL Server R2 / Sharepoint 2010 presentation during the April 5th Tampa Bay SQL BI User Group meeting. Jorge’s statement about being a “legitimate business and professional tool for DBA’s” was heard by my boss as well, who I had invited to attend this particular meeting. Now I can justify my tweetering and blogging at work. Yey!

My next challenge was to justify my twittering at home. Of course, I wear the pants at home but…it is my wife who choses which ones should I wear, when and where. Her resistance was as expected and she just made me realize that I have become what I have always criticized her young sister about…a texting junkie! OK, so less twittering at home I concede. See what I talk about deciding when and where? She just knows how to keep the family harmony.

Eighty (80) tweets later within a week, tweeting  as @sqljoe , I have learned a couple of things:

  1. Twitter feels much like those old IRC chats in  which you can filter messages by sender and topic (#channels).
  2. Twitter is a great way to get in touch with respected SQL/BI experts such as seasoned DBAs, developers, authors and folks from Microsoft.
  3. Interesting to learn what other DBA’s are doing in their day to day tasks, challenges and their approach, as well as learning about the technologies they play with at their jobs.
  4. Twitterers and bloggers are an important part of technology marketing strategies to get the word out quickly about new products and features with minimum effort and cost, other than fine wine and limos (#sqlr2 Microsoft tweetup).
  5. There are SQL chefs, midnighters, chickens, sheeps, chicks, bucks,  knights, doctors, m-a-chanics, soldiers, runners and of course regular joes and green handed masters.
  6. SQL Twitterers use the word Pimpin a lot.
  7. Body disposal services can be contracted through Twitter.
  8. SQL experts have hair feuds as well.
  9. Margaritas make you enjoy progress bars way too much.
  10. DBAs do have lives and are a good source of recommendations for places to eat.

 Among other things,I think my first week on Twitter was with lack of better terms:  interestingly fun, cool and informative.

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