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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: 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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