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James Serra's Blog

James is a big data and data warehousing technology specialist at Microsoft. He is a thought leader in the use and application of Big Data technologies, including MPP solutions involving hybrid technologies of relational data, Hadoop, and private and public cloud. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 30 years of IT experience. James is a popular blogger (JamesSerra.com) and speaker, having presented at dozens of PASS events including the PASS Business Analytics conference and the PASS Summit. He is the author of the book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

SQL Server 2012: xVelocity

After SQL Server 2012 was released this past week, I saw a few mentions from Microsoft about a new feature in SQL Server 2012 called “xVelocity”.  I have been using SQL Server 2012 for months now, playing with all the new features, and never came across one called xVelocity.  How did I miss it?  Or did Microsoft add this feature after RC0 and kept it secret?

Turns out, xVelocity is not a new feature, but rather a renaming of an existing feature.  Vertipaq is the existing feature that will now be called xVelocity.  So the Vertipaq engine that is inside PowerPivot and Analysis Services 2012 Tabular is now called “xVelocity in-memory analytics engine”.  Also, “xVelocity” now refers to the column store index feature in the SQL Server 2012 relational database.

Here is a blog post from Microsoft that further explains the change:

Along with the SQL Server 2012 launch, Microsoft announced xVelocity in-memory technologies, delivering huge performance improvements for data warehousing and business intelligence.  The purpose of this blog post is to clarify what xVelocity means for business intelligence and Analysis Services in particular.

In SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft released PowerPivot for Excel which introduced an in-memory analytics engine called VertiPaq.  Vertipaq enables Excel to process hundreds of millions of rows with sub-second response times on desktop hardware.  This engine uses in-memory column-oriented storage and innovative compression techniques to achieve these remarkable results.

In SQL Server 2012, Microsoft has taken the same Vertipaq engine and integrated it into Analysis Services.  The results have been staggering with scan rates up to 10s of billions of rows per second on typical server hardware.  Customers who previewed SQL Server 2012 have also experienced compression ratios in excess of 100 times.

In SQL Server 2012, we are re-branding the Vertipaq engine that runs inside PowerPivot and Analysis Services to xVelocity in-memory analytics engine.  This engine is part of the xVelocity family that represents the next generation performance improvements across SQL Server.  We will stop using the Vertipaq name and transition the product, documentation and other collateral to use the xVelocity name.

More info:

No more Vertipaq, it’s now called xVelocity in-memory technologies

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