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James Serra's Blog

James is currently a Senior Business Intelligence Architect/Developer and has over 20 years of IT experience. James started his career as a software developer, then became a DBA 12 years ago, and for the last five years he has been working extensively with Business Intelligence using the SQL Server BI stack (SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS). James has been at times a permanent employee, consultant, contractor, and owner of his own business. All these experiences along with continuous learning has helped James to develop many successful data warehouse and BI projects. James has earned the MCITP Business Developer 2008, MCITP Database Administrator 2008, and MCITP Database Developer 2008, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. His blog is at .

Archives: July 2011

Dual monitors, dual laptops, and the best way to manage them

Here is a tip that could make you much more productive:  At home, I have a desktop computer with dual-monitors (via a HDMI connection and a DVI connection with 1920×1080 resolution.  One monitor is 24-inch, the other 21-inch).  I also have a laptop that I travel with and on that… Read more

0 comments, 996 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 29 July 2011

SQL Server does not script indexes by default

Here is a got-ya that happened to me.  In SQL Server I want to generate a script of all the tables in case I need to re-create them.  This is usually the case in a development environment when I’m building a database.  So in Object Explorer I click on the… Read more

10 comments, 3,693 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 27 July 2011

Setting role security in SSAS for a role-playing dimension

Here is a common got-ya.  You are modifying the cube dimension security for a role-playing dimension.  You make the changes and the cube processes successfully.  But when you try to connect to the cube, you get the following error message: The ‘XXX’ attribute in the ‘YYY’ dimension has a generated… Read more

0 comments, 789 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 25 July 2011

Visual Studio vNext

“vNext” is the codename Microsoft has chosen for the next version of the Visual Studio.

A big feature is improving the application lifecycle management (ALM) process.  Check out this pdf “Visual Studio VNext: Application Lifecyle Managment” or the video The Future of Microsoft Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management or the… Read more

0 comments, 361 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 22 July 2011

SQL Server “Denali”: New Certifications

According to the post SQL Server “Denali” Experts–We Need You! that asks for your feedback on the Microsoft certifications for the next version of SQL Server, there will be seven exams:

Four certification exams are planned for SQL Server “Denali” Business Intelligence roles:

  • Writing queries with Transact-SQL (T-SQL)
  • ETL Developer…

Read more

4 comments, 934 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 20 July 2011

SQL Server “Denali”: Details on the next version of SSIS

CTP3 of SQL Server Code Name “Denali” was made available recently, and it offers a lot of new features for SSIS.  Some of my favorites are:

Read more

0 comments, 685 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 18 July 2011

SQL Server “Denali”: Installing SSAS Multidimensional vs Tabular Mode

As I play with the recently released CTP3 of SQL Server Denali, I wanted to point something out about installing SSAS, since there is now two “modes” you can choose from due to the the new BI Semantic Model (I covered these new features here).

During installation, when you… Read more

0 comments, 1,111 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 15 July 2011

SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 Released

Microsoft has released the final build of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1. It includes fixes from SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM Cumulative Updates 1 through 6, and some new features introduced since those cumulative updates.  Release notes for SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 is available here.

More info… Read more

0 comments, 772 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 14 July 2011

SSIS package taking forever to load when you open it?

When you open a SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) package in SSIS Designer or add components to a package, SSIS by default checks the data sources used by the various components. This process for SSIS package validation ensures that the external metadata is valid.  If the metadata is not valid,… Read more

1 comments, 1,121 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 13 July 2011

SQL Server “Denali”: CTP3 now available!

CTP3 of SQL Server Code Name “Denali” was made available for download this morning. You can download the 32-bit and 64-bit versions here. Official announcement from the SQL Server team blog and the announcement from the Analysis Services and PowerPivot Team Blog. Note that there was not a publically… Read more

0 comments, 1,014 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 12 July 2011

Environment variable in SSIS not being recognized

If you are using environment variables in SSIS when using package configuration, chances are you will run into a situation where you add or change the value of an environment variable, and SSIS does not recognize it.  There is a misconception that in order for the packages to start recognizing… Read more

1 comments, 809 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 11 July 2011

Free SQL Server 2008 R2 Business Intelligence Training Course

If you are new to Business Intelligence (BI) and learn best by watching videos and “playing”, then this course is perfect for you.  The SQL Server 2008 R2 Business Intelligence Training Course (SQLInsights) will help you build your first Microsoft Business Intelligence solution.  It will teach you the basics of… Read more

2 comments, 3,495 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 8 July 2011

SQL Server Analysis Services Operations Guide published

Another whitepaper to add to your “to read” list: SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services Operations Guide

This white paper describes how you can test, monitor, capacity plan, and troubleshoot Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services OLAP solutions in SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008 R2.

It… Read more

0 comments, 569 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 6 July 2011

SQL Server “Denali”: Project Crescent

Project “Crescent” is a new interactive data exploration and visual presentation experience coming in the next version of SQL Server, code-named “Denali”.  It will offer a fun, visual, and powerful drag-and-drop ad hoc reporting experience.  It is an web-based end-user BI tool based on Silverlight.

At first… Read more

1 comments, 677 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 5 July 2011

SQL Server “Denali”: SQL Server Developer Tools, codename ‘Juneau”

Juneau is the code name for the new SQL Server Development Tool (SSDT), to be released along with the next version of SQL Server, codenamed “Denali“.  Its purpose is to provide a single development environment for all database-related project types by bringing BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio), “Data… Read more

0 comments, 637 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 1 July 2011