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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: October 2012

SQL Server 2012: New Business Intelligence features

SQL Server 2012 has many new Business Intelligence (BI) features and enhancements.  Here are my top 12, in order of importance:

  1. Power View.  A fun, visual, and powerful drag-and-drop ad-hoc reporting tool.  It is a web-based end-user BI tool based on Silverlight.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Power…

Read more

5 comments, 6,372 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 30 October 2012

Using PerformancePoint against tabular data

PerformancePoint (PPS) is typically used against multidimensional data sources (i.e. Analysis Services), but it does have the ability, albeit limited, to work against tabular data sources such as SQL Server tables, SharePoint Lists, Excel Services, Import From Excel Workbooks, and even PowerPivot (with its xVelocity engine).

Data sources serve as… Read more

2 comments, 2,132 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 25 October 2012

Master Data Services (MDS): Miscellaneous tips

I have come across a number of tips while using MDS.  These are tips not big enough for their own blog post, so I list them all here:

  • To “hide” an attribute in the MDS Excel add-in, set the pixel width to “0″
  • If you make a change outside of…

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20 comments, 3,818 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 23 October 2012

Should a placement firm tell you what they are billing the client?

As a 1099 consultant, I usually use a placement firm to find a contract job.  I always ask the placement firm what rate they are billing the client.  They usually tell me.  When they don’t, it’s a sure sign that their markup is excessive (but note sometimes they have an… Read more

7 comments, 678 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 18 October 2012

MDS: Copying models and data to another server

Having recently completed a model in Master Data Services (MDS), I needed to move the model from a development environment to a QA environment.  Below is some helpful tips if you need to do the same, along with details on a bug I ran across.

Use the Model Deployment wizard… Read more

5 comments, 3,267 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 16 October 2012

24 Hours of PASS videos online

All the videos for the sessions at 24 Hours of PASS (Fall 2012) are available for free.  Check the session schedule for a complete list.  Enjoy!

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0 comments, 543 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 12 October 2012

Interacting with Master Data Services (MDS)

There are four different way to interact with Master Data Services (MDS) to do things such as create a model, load data into MDS, manage business rules, versioning, etc.

  • Master Data Manager Web User Interface (“UI”), also called the Master Data Manager Web Application:  The Master Data Manager web application…

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1 comments, 2,225 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 11 October 2012

MDS Error: “Cannot insert the value NULL into column ‘Code’”

In Microsoft Data Services (MDS), when running a stored procedure to process a staging table (stg.udp_name_Leaf), I received this error:

“Cannot insert the value NULL into column ‘Code’, table ‘MDS2012.mdm.tblStgErrorDetail’; column does not allow nulls. INSERT fails.”

As described in the Connect item udpEntityStagingCreateLeafStoredProcedure Create Code values automatically… Read more

0 comments, 727 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 9 October 2012

SharePoint dependencies

Microsoft has made a big push the last few years to have all its end-user BI tools integrate with SharePoint, which is great if your company is using SharePoint.  Not so great if your company is not using SharePoint or if it is used internally but not setup to be… Read more

0 comments, 430 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 4 October 2012

Master Data Services (MDS): Bug deleting an attribute

UPDATE on 11/28/2012:  I had this same error when trying to delete a model.  Fortunately, SQL Server 2012 SP1 has fixed this bug!

In Master Data Services (MDS), when trying to delete an attribute in an entity, I received the following error:

“Subquery returned more than 1 value. This is… Read more

2 comments, 775 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 4 October 2012

Master Data Services: Copy Versions

In Master Data Services (MDS), you can use the Master Data Manager Web User Interface “UI” to copy a version of a model and create a new version of it (via the Version Management screen).  However, you may find the “Copy” icon on that screen grayed-out (although there is a… Read more

0 comments, 729 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 2 October 2012