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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.

Archives: July 2013

SQL Server 2014: Columnstore Index improvements

In SQL Server 2012, a new feature was added called Columnstore Indexes that resulted in huge query performance improvements.  In SQL Server 2014, there have been two major improvements on this feature:

Clustered: They have enhanced the columnstore to be a pure columnar store, so indexing is no longer required.… Read more

2 comments, 3,055 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 30 July 2013

Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture Presentation

I will be presenting the session “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” this Wednesday, July 31st, at 10pm EST for the 24 hours of PASS, PASS Summit Preview.  Info about the event, and the abstract for my session, is below.  I hope you can make it!

Mark your calendars… Read more

0 comments, 1,158 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 29 July 2013

TechEd Europe 2013 videos online

Microsoft has posted ALL the session videos for TechEd Europe 2013 and they are available for free!  Some great videos on the latest products and versions.  Check them out here.  There are four videos on SQL Server 2014:

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 In-Memory OLTP: Overview

Microsoft SQL Server 2014:… Read more

0 comments, 857 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 25 July 2013

SQL Server 2014: In-memory OLTP Engine, code-name: Hekaton

What looks to be the biggest and best new feature in SQL Server 2014 is called the “In-memory OLTP Engine”, code-name: Hekaton.  In short, Hekaton is a SQL Server In-memory OLTP Engine.  Hekaton provides in-memory OLTP capabilities built into core SQL Server database to significantly improve the performance of your… Read more

3 comments, 2,050 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 23 July 2013

Why You Need a Data Warehouse


You likely have heard about data warehousing, but are unsure exactly what it is and if your company needs one.  I will attempt to help you to fully understand what a data warehouse can do and the reasons to use one so that you will be convinced of the… Read more

11 comments, 5,858 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 18 July 2013

The benefit of placement firms

Why do companies use placement firms to find IT contractors instead of using internal recruiters?

Who better to answer that question that a recruiter who has been in the business for many years and now has his own small placement firm (and explains why using a small placement firm has… Read more

0 comments, 784 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 16 July 2013

I’ll take “Products that start with Power”, Alex


Geoflow (see Geoflow Preview for Excel 2013) is now called Power Map, and Data Explorer (see Microsoft Data Explorer) is now called Power Query.

Microsoft Power Query for Excel has reached General Availability and is now available for download.

More info:

“Data Explorer” is… Read more

0 comments, 882 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 11 July 2013

Power BI for Office 365

Announced at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 is Power BI for Office 365:

Power BI for Office 365 is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) solution that enables customers to easily gain insights from their data, working within Excel to analyze and visualize the data in a self-service way.  It works… Read more

2 comments, 1,482 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 9 July 2013

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) – June 2013 update

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) has a new update:

VS 2010: June 2013 version: 10.3.30618.1, December 2012 version: 10.3.21208.0, November 2012 version: 10.3.21101.1, September 2012 version: 10.3.20905.0, initial version: 10.3.20225.0

VS 2012: June 2013 version: 11.1.30618.1, December 2012 version: 11.1.21208.0, November 2012 version: 11.1.21101.1, September 2012 version: 11.1.20905.0, version shipped… Read more

1 comments, 2,110 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 2 July 2013