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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 .

SQL Server 2012 and other PASS announcements

Some announcements and notes from SQL PASS Summit 2011, going on this week:

It was announced that the official name of the SQL Server “Denali” product is SQL Server 2012 and will be released in the first half of the year 2012.  There will be a Release Candidate (RC0) that should be provided by the end of the year which will be feature complete.  Then it will be about fixing bugs prior to the Release to Manufacture (RTM).  Check out the new SQL Server 2012 Developer Training Kit.  The new twitter hashtag is #SQL2012.

“Project Crescent” has been officially named “Power View” (note the space in the name).  PowerPivot provides the self-service data modeling capabilities to integrate your data to create a BI Semantic Model (BISM) and Power View provides the highly interactive data exploration tool.  One of the new features that has been added since CTP3 is the ability to have multiple views of the data within an existing rdlx file (similar to the briefing book concept that ProClarity has where you would create and save multiple analytical views).  Also mentioned is that an “Export to PowerPoint” will make it into RTM.  There will also be a Power View on Windows Mobile.  It is going to ship in the latter half of 2012, months after SQL Server 2012 itself.  The new twitter hashtag is #PowerView.

Juneau is going to be released as SQL Server Data Tools.  The new twitter hashtag is #SQLDataTools.

It was also hinted during the keynote that more BI tools will be introduced to SQL Azure in 2012.

“Big Data” was also a much-talked about item, and Microsoft will be supporting Hadoop as a part of the data platform.  This means that you’ll be able to run Hadoop on Microsoft Windows as well as on the Azure platform.  As of last week you can download the Apache Hadoop connector for SQL Server and the PDW platform so that you can connect SQL Server to Hadoop.  Future releases include the Hadoop based distribution, as well as an ODBC driver and add-in for Excel and office to make it easier for people to get Hadoop data into the office platforms (so you will be able to get data from Hadoop directly into PowerPivot and SSAS Tabular without having to stage it in a relational database).  Microsoft will have a CTP version of their Hadoop platform available on SQL Azure before the end of the 2011 year, a Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server and Windows Azure (by end of year), and a Apache Hive ODBC driver and add-in for Excel (November release),

Microsoft announced “Data Explorer” which allows users to do self-service BI without realizing that they are doing self-service BI.  This allows users to easily see and read the data, most importantly taking the data and turning it into information that they can use to drive the company quickly and easily.   Data Explorer will plug into Microsoft’s Windows Azure Marketplace and allow developers to create richer data sets that can be published and made available for free or pay.  This is a web-based data integration tool for working with data from a number of sources such as SQL Azure, Excel, Access, and it also generates recommendations of data from the Azure Datamarket that you might be interested in.  It allows you to mash-up data from various different sources then publish the result as an OData feed.  Data Explorer connects to a SQLAzure database and discovers the data values.  If a second data source is added, such as an Excel spreadsheet, the “Mashup” option is enabled.  Mashups allow the user to overlay the data from both sources.  This functions as a lookup. Next, the Azure Data Marketplace contains data recommended to the user.  This data can also be added to the Mashup.  Applying OData interfaces, Mashups allow users to “join” data from disparate sources – in the cloud.

MS is investing heavily in the cloud and until now the message has been everything will be in the cloud within the next 2-5 years.  Now they’ve backed off quite a bit and are saying that the cloud is just going to enhance your current skills and just give you another avenue when it comes to deciding where your data’s going to go.

You can view the PASS Summit Keynote presentations here.

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