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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 ( 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.

Fast Track for SQL Server 2012

When the Fast Track Data Warehouse 3.0 Reference Guide was published, it was based off of SQL Server 2008 R2.  With the release of SQL Server 2012, as expected that reference guide has been updated.  While an official release has not happened yet, there are some details that were made public:

  • There is no new hardware requirements in the configuration or spec.  It’s a simple software upgrade to SQL Server 2012
  • It has been optimized for ColumnStore Index (CSI)
  • For the scenario of a straight upgrade, there is no change in throughput
  • For the scenario of using a ColumnStore Index, there is a 2x Fast Track rated throughput increase over SQL Server 2008 R2 benchmarks using SQL 2012 CI (and would have been better if more RAM was added to machine)
  • There is now support of solid state storage.  Partners developing offerings include HP, Dell, EMC, Cisco, IBM, XIO, Nimbus, and Bull.  Selected partners will offer new reference architectures utilizing Solid State Devices
  • Support for AlwaysOn
  • Not sure if it will be called Fast Track Data 4.0 or Fast Track 2012, but the reference guide is in final production edit, and will be available in early April

More info:

Scalable Analytics & Data Warehousing: Fast Track Data Warehouse for SQL Server 2012 by Eric Kraemer at SQLServerLaunch


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