Thursday, March 11, 2010 #

Blog...Dead & New Address

Hi Folks!

For a while I was attempting (probably the correct word) to keep both this blog as well as my SQL Server Magazine SQL Server BI blog current. Working on growing B.I. Voyage , speaking, writing, and blogging is quite the work load. And so this blog suffered as a result. THANK YOU all who read my blog here on, I intend to leave it live for those who might benefit from its content at a later date. My consolidated, single blog can be found at .



posted @ Thursday, March 11, 2010 1:38 PM | Feedback (1)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 #

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

AttunityBI Voyage

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

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:                                                              

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 technology that identifies, captures, and delivers only the changes made to your Oracle data.

Leverage your SQL Server skills and software to reduce cost and accelerate Oracle data replication, synchronization, and real-time integration and enable operational reporting, business intelligence and data warehousing projects. Derek Comingore, Founder and Principal Architect with BI Voyage, and a SQLServer MVP, will explain CDC concepts and benefits and how CDC can assist you with Oracle data integration projects. Richard Thomas, Attunity's Technical Director, will present and demonstrate Attunity's Oracle-CDC for SSIS product, a fully-integrated SSIS solution for designing, deploying and managing CDC processes.

Title:  Oracle -CDC for SSIS – an easy-to-use solution for real-time data integration
Date:  Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Time:  1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST


MVPBI Voyage



Derek Comingore is the founder and a principal architect with BI Voyage, a Microsoft Partner specializing in BI solutions ( As a SQL Server MVP and a certified professional in several Microsoft technologies, including SQL Server BI, he speaks at local and national SQL Server user groups and is a published author on SQL Server topics. Derek has been using SQL Server for ten years, and focuses on building and delivering enterprise-class data warehousing and BI solutions with SQL Server along with the other Microsoft BI software products.

Richard Thomas, Technical Director at Attunity, has worked in Attunity’s US Office for nearly 18 years. An expert in Attunity solutions, Richard has extensive knowledge of Attunity’s products and Oracle data integration & CDC technologies. 
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer

posted @ Tuesday, September 15, 2009 9:28 PM | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 #

SQL Saturday #23 in Louisville, KY

I'll be speaking at the SQL Saturday #23 event held in Louisville, KY on October 24th, 2009. I will be giving two sessions, the first of which will be on SQL Server 2008 R2 and Project Gemini: BI for the Masses. My second presentation will be on a topic very near and dear to me, Change Data Capture (CDC) with Attunity's lineup of great CDC products. Long ago (before CDC was commonplace) I was charged with creating a real-time ETL process. It was a challenging requirement but at the end of the day it was meet (albeit with some roadbumps but thats to be expected given the high requirement back then).

If you've never been to a SQL Saturday event I highly recommend you attend one. I by no means represent the SQLSaturday organization but to me I kind of view these events as super local user group meetings. There are multiple presentations given, a fair amount of vendor participation, and a larger audience.

If you are going to be in the Louisville, KY area around the 24th of October I hope to see you there! We have several great speakers that will be presenting. For more information on this event please navigate to .



posted @ Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1:16 AM | Feedback (3)

Sunday, August 23, 2009 #

SQL Server 2008 R2: Quick Tips from the Forums

Forums are a great place to help your peers as well as learn quick tips/points on various Microsoft technical products.I am participating in the SQL Server 2008 R2 pre-release forums as both a moderator and a answerer. I will kick-off this post with some of the more valuable quick-tips I have come across regarding SQL Server 2008R2 in the pre-release forums, going forward I hope to keep this post current with new findings.

Note: Some of these tips may seem obvious to SQL Server experts, however for more typical users of the product these are more valuable/applicable:

  1. Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2003 sp2 are the same from a SQL Server 2008 R2 installation requirements perspective
  2. You cannot backup a database from an R2 instance and restore it to a non-R2 SQL Server 2008 instance
  3. SQL Server 2008 R2 Express does not ship with Management Studio Express. For those of you wanting R2 Management Studio Express I would imagine it will be in beta/ctp form prior to the products launch but it is not available at this time with the August CTP (to my knowledge :) ). If you want Management Studio support for the CTP you should install the full Enterprise Evaluation version.

posted @ Sunday, August 23, 2009 2:49 AM | Feedback (12)

Friday, August 21, 2009 #

SQL Server 2008 R2: Gemini Opening Up New BI Doors

I have been tracking the progress of Gemini and SQL Server 2008 R2 for quite some time now. I've been able to recently experiment with the tool inbetween my mainstream work and community activities. Here are some of my thoughts about the new self-service BI technology and its potential impact on the industry...

Gemini is a powerful tool for empowing the Information Worker (IW) in their ad-hoc analytical needs. IWs no longer require someone like me for their ad-hoc analytics and they can build these ad-hoc models with relative ease. Gemini is also a very performant solution both in terms of developing the ad-hoc views as well as Excel 2010's performance working with large datasets.

Where I see Gemini making large inroads early in its release is in two primary corporate scenarios:

  1. Mid Market & Enterprise Customers who may or may not have a corporate BI solution in place.
  2. Small Customers wanting to perform some basic analytics that leveage Excel heavily allready

As a result, I believe that Gemini (and similiar technologies) will begin to open "BI Door" for customers, allowing them to essentially build their own BI demos right in front of their very eyes. For scenario #1, I can also foresee how self-service views may attract the attention of executives in their usefulness and as a result become the new requirements documents of an existing corporate BI solution. Thus, Gemini may very well become both the end and the beginning phases of corporate BI solutions.

What do you think about the new Gemini technology and it's potential impact on BI solutions?

posted @ Friday, August 21, 2009 5:06 PM | Feedback (12)

Friday, August 14, 2009 #

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: . 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 communications (usually email and sometimes responses to my blog posts) about why Microsoft's BI "story" is not as good as it's competitors (or the more unprofessional "it sucks" comment).

Over the past 10 years of working in the BI industry I have come to the conclusion that no matter which Enterprise Business Intelligence Software Vendor you support there will be Naysayers....So first off all, let's be realistic about the situation. There is no perfect company and that includes BI Software companies. Companies are composed of people and people are not perfect (not I, not you, no one).

I could take two approaches to this blog post:

1) I could spout Gartner and other related BI industry market share metrics about how the Microsoft BI Stack is gaining a larger and larger % of the market. Analysis Services has been the #1 OLAP Server product on the market for a LONG TIME NOW.

2) I could get away from the published metrics on market share and bring about a "from my experience" perspective. I am choosing the later, primairly because this was the approach (somewhat) taken by the feedbacks I have recently received here on my personal blog (messages are embedded below in this post).

Excel has been and continues to be a strong part of the Microsoft BI "story". Why? Why take a spreadsheet program and slowly morph it into a dual purpose program for both spreadsheets and BI (reporting, pivot tables, scorecards)? The answer is simple: Because Excel is one of the most popular/deployed desktop software applications in THE WORLD!

Is Excel now at a point to fully replace a much richer OLAP front-end tool such as ProClarity? In my and most others opinion in the MSFT BI industry the answer is NO, not yet anyway. Is Microsoft continually making refinements to advance Excel's BI capabilities? Absolutely!

Microsoft BI Software is NOT FREE. SQL Server and Office license fees, while not the ridiculous amount some competitors charge for their equivilent offerings is not cheap but it is very competitive. Out-of-the-box with SQL Server you get Integration, Analysis, Reporting, and Relational Database Capabilities!

Regarding the comment that customers allready own the Microsoft software and yet pay $1500/month to get "real BI" is not exactly a fact. What I can say, is that I have personally worked for and built Enterprise DW/BI Solutions with the Microsoft BI stack of products for Fortune 100 and 500 customers. If those companies are using the products then why would  a SMB not?

And this other ridiculous comment about MSFT BI is for "gearheads" is quite funny. Show me a BI product that does not require a technical implementation and I will show you a BI solution that is either verticalized or built upon self-service, both of which fields currently do not offer the same degree of flexibility Enterprise Customers need from their Corporate BI Solutions!

The "get a clue dude" comment I am not even going to address. Take the energy you are wasting on posting negative content and build something that is better than Microsoft's products if you think they are so bad.

NaySayers Comments:

Left by MS sucks at 5/29/2009 12:31 PM

MS has never had any consistent solution for BI. Excel is the most ridiculous tool to use in this day and age...

Left by dl at 8/14/2009 10:20 PM

unbelievable that anyone could consider MSFT BI as a viable solution. It SUCKS. Validated by the fact that its free and customers large and small own it and still pay 1,500 per user for REAL BI. Get a clue dude. MSFT is for gearheads, not business people.

posted @ Friday, August 14, 2009 11:05 PM | Feedback (20)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009 #

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:

Happy Data Integration!


posted @ Tuesday, August 04, 2009 4:06 PM | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 #

Understanding Microsoft BI: New TechNet Articles Released

I had a great opportunity recently to write a series of articles for TechNet Magazine with fellow MSFT BI gurus Stacia Misner and Scot Reagin. The first two articles can be found in the upcoming Auguest issue of TechNet Magazine (the online versions of the articles can be found using the link above as well). Stacia writes a great introductory article on explaining what BI is and then the common solutions/technologies we employ in modern-day times to build such solutions.

In the second article I present a very simple yet concise set of dimensional modeling, data mapping, and SSIS packages that support the ETL requirements of the sample solution.

One key, recuring theme I have learned is that writing introductory content is actually harder than writing advanced content in some ways atleast.

Hope you find the articles useful, especially for those who are new to MSFT BI.


posted @ Wednesday, July 15, 2009 11:55 PM | Feedback (8)

Thursday, June 25, 2009 #

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 your company.

Join industry gurus Derek Comingore and Barry Ralston for 3 lessons + live Q&A and learn how to:

  • leverage Excel and Data Mining technologies that exist today
  • support the democratization of BI in your organization using Excel and SharePoint technologies
  • quickly provide enterprise visibility into your organization's key metrics 

See you there!

posted @ Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:53 PM | Feedback (2)

Sunday, June 14, 2009 #

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 mining’s slow adoption will dissipate. While the third reason is not going away, there is an alternative solution to the problem of SQL Server data mining requiring an installed instance of Analysis Services…The Cloud!

Azure, the Microsoft suite of cloud-based services includes a new technical preview of Data Mining in the Cloud “DMCloud”. DMCloud allows you to perform some basic data mining tasks leveraging a cloud-based Analysis Services connection. You can leverage a browser or download an Excel 2007 add-in to use DMCloud.

DMCloud is valuable capability for IWs that would like to begin considering SQL Server Data Mining without the added burden of needing a technology professional to first install Analysis Services. Additionally, IWs can use the DMCloud services no matter where they may physically be located as long as they have an Internet connection! The data mining tasks you can perform with DMCloud are the same Table Analysis Tools found in the traditional Excel Data Mining add-in. These data mining tasks include:

·         Analyze Key Influencers
·         Detect Categories
·         Fill From Example
·         Forecast
·         Highlight Exceptions
·         Scenario Analysis
·         Prediction Calculator
·         Shopping Basket Analysis
For more information on Microsoft’s Data Mining in the Cloud services please see

posted @ Sunday, June 14, 2009 8:09 PM | Feedback (3)

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