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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: September 2013

SQL Server 2014: Partition Improvements

SQL Server 2014 has enhancements to two common database maintenance operations:Partition Switching and Online Index Rebuild.  This will greatly increase enterprise application availability by reducing maintenance downtime impact.

The two new features are:

  • Managed Lock Priority: This allows you to manage the priority of table locks acquired by partition SWITCH…

Read more

0 comments, 349 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 26 September 2013

Data Warehouse vs Master Data Managment

Sometimes I see confusion on the difference between a data warehouse (DW) and master data management (MDM).  Below is a good list of how they differ.  Note the typical scenario is the data in a MDM database is fed into a DW.

More info:

Master Data Management vs Data Warehousing Read more

0 comments, 446 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 24 September 2013

Power BI for Office 365 preview released

I first blogged about Power BI for Office 365 two months ago (see Power BI for Office 365) when it was announced.  Microsoft has started inviting participants subscribed to the Power BI for Office 365 Preview to test the prerelease version of Power BI.

Power BI is aimed at… Read more

2 comments, 369 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 19 September 2013

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) – August 2013 update

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

VS 2010: August 2013 version: 10.3.30822.0, 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: August 2013 version: 11.1.30822.0, June 2013 version: 11.1.30618.1, December 2012 version: 11.1.21208.0, November 2012… Read more

0 comments, 391 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 17 September 2013

Microsoft Certified Master program killed

The Certified Master and Architect community was collectively notified Friday, August 30, at 10PM PST that the Certified Master (MCM/MCSM) and Certified Architect (MCA) programs are dead.  The email transcript has been reported by Neil Johnson.  For those of you who are already in the process of earning the… Read more

1 comments, 381 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 12 September 2013

Presentation Slides for Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” at the Houston Area SQL Server User Group Monthly Meeting.  The abstract is below.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Here is the PowerPoint presentation: Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture

Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture Read more

0 comments, 372 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 11 September 2013

SQLBits XI videos online

All the videos for this popular conference are online (69 of them).  Take a look at the recorded sessions at http://sqlbits.com/content/Event11.  All are free to watch!

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0 comments, 312 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 10 September 2013

Vendor Management Systems

A vendor management system (VMS) is a web-based application that acts as a mechanism for businesses to manage and procure staffing services (temporary and permanent) as well as outside contract or contingent labor. Typical features of a VMS application include order distribution, consolidated billing and significant enhancements in reporting capability… Read more

0 comments, 336 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 5 September 2013

Presentation Slides for Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture

Thanks to everyone who attended my session “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” for the PASS DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter.  The abstract is below and the recording of the session will be available soon here.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Here is the PowerPoint presentation: Building an Effective… Read more

1 comments, 331 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 4 September 2013

Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture Presentation

I will be presenting the session “Building an Effective Data Warehouse Architecture” today at 11am CST for the PASS DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter.  Info about watching the presentation online is here, and the abstract for my session is below.  I hope you can make it!

Building an Effective… Read more

2 comments, 292 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 3 September 2013