Business Intelligence Nuggets

BI Methodolgoies, Best Practices, and Considerations.

Oracle-CDC for SSIS - an Easy-to-use Solution for Real-time Data Integration

Oracle-CDC for SSIS - an Easy-to-use Solution for Real-time Data Integration Join Attunity & SQL Server MVP Derek Comingore of BI Voyage for a Webinar on September 22 https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/693735512 Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:                                                                       https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/164602473 Why move all your data when you can just move the changes? Ready to make batch windows, full loads and expensive tools history and make efficient, cost-effective Oracle data integration a reality? Register today to find out how! Learn about Attunity Oracle-CDC for SSIS, a complete and affordable solution for integrating continually-changing Oracle data using wizards built into SQL Server Integration Services, leveraging best-of-breed CDC...

Addressing the MSFT BI Naysayers

Update: Check out Richard's (he posted a comment on this post) about his own thoughts on MSFT BI Delivery and Leadership Topics here: http://thoughtsonbi.blogspot.com/ . I agree with just about everything he states. Overall, could MSFT BI be a better story (see ProClarity)? YES. Does MSFT need a better, unified platform vision for it's BI story? YES. All that being said, the MSFT BI software products are good platforms for building an enterprise BI solution on top off. As Richard mentions, 90%+ of an actual implementation's success depends upon the people involved (both consultants and customers).   Every so often, I receive...

Attunity Receives Readers Choice Award for Oracle-CDC for SSIS

If you have not yet checked out Attunity and their line up of data integration components for SSIS your missing out! Attunity is without question one of the elite SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) 3rd Party Providers and the company's recent award of a Reader Choice Award from Visual Studio Magazine is yet another sign of the company's commitment to SSIS Excellence. This award was in reference to Attunity's recently released Oracle CDC for SSIS product (a personal wish list item of mine). The full press release can be here: http://www.attunity.com/press_releases.aspx?newsId=1262 Happy Data Integration! Derek

Join me on October 15th and learn how to quickly deliver actionable information to your company's leaders

Learn how to strengthen your company's overall health and help your business thrive in this tough economy - without ever leaving your desk. Attend this exclusive series and discover how to quickly deliver actionable information without any significant software costs or long running data warehouse projects. Cut excessive costs, identify your most profitable customer's attributes, improve operations, and reap additional business value from your organization's existing data assets Get real-life tips and to-the-point training on how to leverage Microsoft BI to reduce uncertainty and generate quick ROI for...

Azure: Data Mining in the Cloud

SQL Server data mining has always been somewhat of an overlooked, niche technology. There are several logical reasons for SQL Server data mining’s slow adoption. First, there are few companies that take the time to consider if they can benefit from the technology (OLAP tends to be the technological “stop point” in modern day). Furthermore, there are few Information Workers (IWs) and technology professionals that are trained in data mining concepts. Finally, SQL Server data mining requires the availability of an installed SQL Server Analysis Services instance. I do believe that over time the first two reasons for SQL Server data...

Silverlight Dashboards

Silverlight 2.0 & 3.0 About a year ago now I witnessed my first Silverlight dashboard in a product Microsoft created called Microsoft Enterprise Cube (MEC). The dashboard was amazingly rich and interactive. I quickly became a fan boy of Silverlight dashboards and finally understood the important relationship between data and data visualization (a term until then I felt was a bit overhyped). A recent project I have been working on has given me the ability to exploit Microsoft Silverlight 2.0 for Business Intelligence purposes. Basically, Silverlight (including the 2.0 release) is a lightweight, cross-browser plug-in developed by Microsoft that facilitates rich,...

MCM & MCA Programs...Great if you’re not in BI

This is my biggest frustration with the advanced certification programs at Microsoft. Microsoft has clearly identified the need to create advanced certification programs yet Business Intelligence has zero representation! I have created past Connect suggestions and even made in-person suggestions on live meetings yet I keep receiving a response of “not now”. Is Business Intelligence not deserving of its own advanced certification programs? Clearly Microsoft sees the value in the Business Intelligence industry via its large efforts on creating the best enterprise BI platform available in the market! Derek

Tomorrow's Microsoft BI Platform

Tomorrow’s Business Intelligence Platform One of my favorite aspects about Microsoft is the company never stands still from a product development standpoint. The company is constantly driving innovation and releasing new products to the market. On the heels of the release of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (which serves as the foundation for the Microsoft Business Intelligence Stack), Microsoft is already beginning to discuss its next generation Business Intelligence products. The information in this article is a result of my personal research efforts and none of its content is under NDA with Microsoft Corporation. The Foundation: SQL Server 'Kilimanjaro' SQL Server ‘Kilimanjaro’ will provide...

BI in a Tough Economy

The signs of a tough economy surround us all. Many Fortune 500 companies have laid-off workers and those who are still employed fret over their job’s near-term outlook. The housing and financial markets have been shaken to their core and the new president is promising change that cannot seem to come quick enough. So what are businesses to do in such hard times? The same things they do when times are good, continuously improve their organization on a variety of dimensions. Specifically, the application of Business Intelligence (BI) in tough times is a very strategic ‘play’. By leveraging BI to cut...

Game Changing Announcement for Microsoft BI

Adapted from my colleague's (Barry Ralston) post at SQL Server Magazine BI Blog... http://www.sqlmag.com/Article/ArticleID/101322/101322.html   Today, in a message to the Business Intelligence Partner Community, Microsoft announced a major change in the alignment of the BI flagship product, Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server. The net-net of the announcement is: Supporting the democratization of BI (aka BI for the masses) with the consolidation of PerformancePoint Server Monitoring and Analytics functions into Office SharePoint Server Enterprise. The new capabilities will be called PerformancePoint Services. As I read the announcement, PerformancePoint Planning has been put out of our misery. Service...

Extending Integration Services Capabilities with Premier 3rd Party Products

I have evaluated and/or deployed various SSIS 3rd party components over the years. Two of the best 3rd party SSIS companies I have come across are: Attunity & ETI. Attunity (www.attunity.com) extends SSIS’s ‘reach’ by providing connectors for the following systems: Adabas (mainframe and open systems) DB2 (on the mainframe) DB2/400 (iSeries) nscribe (HP NonStop) IMS/DB (mainframe) VSAM (mainframe) SQL/MP (HP NonStop) Additionally, Attunity ships a SSIS Change Data Capture (CDC) Accelerator that generates packages...

OLAP's Ante to Play: OLTP

I'm starting to read various chapters from 'Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2008' by Leonard Lobel and his co-authors. I found his Chapter 14, 'Data Warehousing', contains a very good section on the solutions and technologies that were 'main stream' prior to the deployment of data warehousing and business intelligence solutions. This brings up an excellent (debatable) point. In my opinion, anyone wishing to enter the field of DW/BI (regardless of software vendor) should have good solid prior experience in traditional OLTP-based applications and systems. This is my opinion because (as 'Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2008' mentions), OLTP systems have been around long...

Business Intelligence Explained for the DBA

Business Intelligence (BI) systems exist for one sole purpose: to support improved organizational decision making. BI can be accomplished using a variety of techniques and solutions. There is however pros and cons of the various methods one can implement to support BI. Additionally, you will typically see a life cycle of BI in an organization as it matures:   Maturity ...

Change Data Capture w/o the SQL Server 2008 Relational Engine

With the arrival of SQL Server 2008 we gained access to a new feature called Change Data Capture (CDC). CDC enables you to constantly stream change data to a consuming process, most notably Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) applications. In the SQL Server environment the ETL tool used is of course SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). As a side note, one thing that has bugged me since studying CDC in SQL Server 2008 over the last several months has been Books Online (BOL) statement’s about CDC as a SSIS feature. There are a few instances of such statements, for example...

SSAS 2005: Cube Performance Tuning Lessons Learned

Intro. A recent project has forced me (which is a good thing) to learn both the internals of SSAS 2005 as well as various performance tuning techniques to get maximum performance out of the OLAP server. It goes without saying that the grain of both your underlying data warehouse's Dimensions & Facts will drive how large your cubes are (total cube space). It also should be a given that Processing Time & Query (MDX) Execution Time usually compete with one another. Given the same grain of a model, the more Grain Data, Indexing, and Aggreggations you process upfront should generally...

The Importance of Planning in BI

Business Intelligence projects (like software development projects) are prone to bad or completely absent planning prior to their start. Most of us that work in the technology industries are busy professionals that can never seem to find enough time. When you consider that mindset and then the fact that project planning requires additional time...well you get the point. By our very nature we do not want to waste time! BI projects are large endeavors, rather BI enterprise projects are large endeavors. Personally, I have been fortunate enough to plan, design, and implement several enterprise systems over the years with some of...

Value-Add: Data Warehousing & Analysis Services Cube Storage Estimates

A common question I hear from my clients is “how much storage do we need?” Now wait a second, I thought storage was cheap these days right? Wrong, consumer storage is cheap; enterprise storage is still not what I would classify as cheap. Add to this fact that Enterprise Data Warehouses (EDWs) commonly break into the several terabytes range and the matter of planning storage capacities becomes greater. Consulting firms that simply ignore this common client question are missing a value-add scenario. Your clients need to know how much space to plan for and if you simply say “roughly X...

So you want to be a Microsoft DW/BI Pro

  As a follow up to some recent feedback (actually a question) here is some more in depth information on becoming proficient in the Microsoft Data Warehousing/Business Intelligence stack. Get the terms straight Business Intelligence or BI is an umbrella term for various business processes, tools, and methodologies which support improved organizational decision making. Data Warehousing (and thus data warehouses) on the other hand are organizational repositories designed to facilitate highly scalable reporting & analytics. DW and BI go together like PB & J (ah the good ol' days). So is Data Warehousing synonymous with BI...NO! Data Warehousing is a common solution (due to its many advantages) implemented to enable BI...

The Business Behind BI

Hope everyone is doing well out there. A good friend of mine across the pond mentioned that he has started to read a lot of my content across the blogs, my SQL Magazine Articles/BI Column, etc. His feedback was excellent and relates to a general perception issue with the field of BI. "They are highly technology based" was his comment in so many words... First a few clarifications are in order, writing for SQL Magazine means you will be discussing the actual data platform called SQL Server at some length. This blog and other places though I could write more BI...

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