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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: November 2013

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) – October 2013 update

Since my last post about the SSDT update for August, there have been two updates, each containing one fix:

The September 2013 release has a targeted fix for the Schema Compare error when working with large display text or high DPI.

The October 2013 release contains an updated installer that… Read more

0 comments, 397 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 26 November 2013

Power BI for Office 365 video

A demonstration of Power BI for Office 365, showing you how all the various tools and technologies work together: Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map, Power BI sites, Data Management, Power BI Admin center, Power BI for mobile, and Power BI Q&A.

With so many tools it can… Read more

4 comments, 1,417 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 21 November 2013

Create video presentations

I recorded my first video presentation and demo using the screen recording and video editing software called Camtasia Studio for Windows.

It’s a great product that makes it easy to create videos that includes demos.  They also have a nice list of tutorials.

They offer a fully functional… Read more

0 comments, 199 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 19 November 2013

SQL Server Data Tools BI (SSDT-BI) for SQL Server 2014

Last month I blogged that SQL Server Data Tools for SQL Server 2014 CTP2 now available.  You can download that here.  This will run the SSDT install (not a SQL Server 2014 install).  This installs the Visual Studio 2012 shell, and makes available the SQL Server Database Project… Read more

2 comments, 2,019 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 14 November 2013

Power BI first impressions

I have been using Power BI the past few weeks (see my video of all the features) after I was invited by Microsoft to test the Power BI for Office 365 Preview (register here).  I have to say I am extremely impressed.  It allows for a self-service reporting and… Read more

11 comments, 557 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 12 November 2013

Tabular model: Not ready for prime time?

While the tabular model in SSAS makes it much easier to build cubes than the multidimensional model, I am not seeing it used as much as I expected.  One reason is if you are a BI developer and have been using the multidimensional model for a while, you tend to… Read more

14 comments, 21,936 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 7 November 2013

Fast-Track Data Warehouse for Windows Azure

Microsoft has introduced an image into the Windows Azure Virtual Machine Gallery that is pre-optimized for a Fast Track Data Warehouse (FTDW) workload.  FTDW is a reference configuration optimized for data warehousing.  Not only is there an image for SQL Server 2012 SP1 (rated for 400GB database warehousing workloads), but… Read more

0 comments, 526 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 5 November 2013

Windows Azure SQL Reporting discontinued

Windows Azure SQL Reporting was the new name of the reporting services component (which was formerly known as SQL Azure Reporting Services) that went live June 12, 2012.

However today, October 31, 2013, notification went out to current Windows Azure SQL Reporting customers that the service will be discontinued in… Read more

0 comments, 1,532 reads

Posted in James Serra's Blog on 1 November 2013