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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 .

Microsoft Data Explorer

Data Explorer (download), which I first mentioned in my blog about PASS Summit 2011 (SQL Server 2012 and other PASS announcements), has finally taken the next step and is now a public preview.

Think of Data Explorer as a self-service ETL tool for the Excel power user.  The official title is now “Microsoft Data Explorer Preview for Excel”.  It enhances the self-service Business Intelligence experience in Excel by simplifying data discovery and access.  In short, you can quickly and easily import data from a variety of sources.  It even has an Online Search which enables you to search the web for datasets.

With “Data Explorer” you can:

  • Identify the data you care about from multiple sources (SQL Server, Windows Azure, Access, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, SharePoint List, OData feed, Hadoop HDFS, Windows Azure Marketplace, Active Directory, Facebook, Web pages, Excel, text and XML files, Windows Azure HDInsight, Teradata, PostgreSQL)
  • Discover relevant data using the search capabilities within Excel.
  • Combine data from multiple, disparate data sources and shape it in order to prepare the data for further analysis in tools like Excel and PowerPivot.

I am looking forward to using Data Explorer as I believe this is a powerful tool that will enable users to pull in their own data without having to bug IT.

More info:

A new build of “Data Explorer”, and an Auto Update feature

Data Explorer Help

Announcing Microsoft “Data Explorer” Preview for Excel

Exploring Data Explorer

Using Data Explorer with Power View

Public Preview of Data Explorer

Get Microsoft “Data Explorer” Preview for Excel today

Data Explorer hits full preview

Data Explorer brings Big Data connectivity to Excel 2013

Best Oscar winning Film? My first Data Explorer adventure…

SharePoint OData and the Excel Data Explorer

Importing Data From Multiple Log Files Using Data Explorer

Introduction to Data Explorer Preview for Excel

Installing Data Explorer Preview & Demo with IMDB Data

Microsoft Data Explorer Preview for Excel–Part 1

DATA EXPLORER FOR MICROSOFT EXCEL 2013 – VIDEO INTRODUCTION

Getting Started with Microsoft Data Explorer

“Introducing” Data Explorer

Using Data Explorer with SSIS

Excel Data Explorer and the Twitter Search API

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