Business Intelligence

Koen Verbeeck

Analysis Services (SSAS) Multidimensional Design Tips – Data Source View and Cubes

April 28, 2017 by

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and best practices regarding the design of OLAP cubes in Analysis Services Multidimensional (SSAS). Most tips – if not all – are applicable for SSAS 2008 to 2016 (and later most likely). Since Analysis Services Tabular – the in-memory columnstore OLAP database from Microsoft – is a completely different design experience, it will not be included in this article.

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Daniel Calbimonte

How to migrate MySQL tables to SQL Server using the SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) and SSIS

April 25, 2017 by

Introduction

In this article, we will demonstrate how to migrate MySQL tables to SQL Server using the SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) and SSIS. We will give a brief introduction to MySQL and create a table. If you do not have any experience in MySQL, this tutorial will teach you your first steps. After that, we will migrate the created table and existing tables. We will also mention common problems when we migrate tables.

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Thomas LeBlanc

Connecting to Data Source(s) with SQL Server Analysis Services

April 18, 2017 by

For someone new to SQL Server Analysis Services, a decision must be made on whether to use a Multidimensional Cube or Tabular Model. Both types can be installed on the same server, but they must be different instances. That could mean additional license costs. But, with the developer’s edition, both can be installed and reviewed before a production decision is made. Data Source connections are the first step to review with both versions.

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Andrea Martorana Tusa

How to create geographic maps using Power BI – Filled and bubble maps

April 5, 2017 by

The project

This is the first article of a series dedicated to discovering geographic maps in Power BI.

My goal is to illustrate to you the different visuals available in Power BI for making maps. Remember that Power BI is a product undergoing constant evolution; new features are added every month at a fast pace. And over the time Power BI has gained more mapping capabilities compared to the starting point.

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Thomas LeBlanc

SQL Server Data Warehouse design best practice for Analysis Services (SSAS)

April 4, 2017 by

Before jumping into creating a cube or tabular model in Analysis Service, the database used as source data should be well structured using best practices for data modeling. Some might say use Dimensional Modeling or Inmon’s data warehouse concepts while others say go with the future, Data Vault. No matter what conceptual path is taken, the tables can be well structured with the proper data types, sizes and constraints.

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Koen Verbeeck

How to optimize the dimension security performance using partitioning in SSAS Multidimensional

March 27, 2017 by

Introduction

In the articles How to partition an SSAS Cube in Analysis Services Multidimensional and Benefits of Partitioning an SSAS Multidimensional Cube, the concept of measure group partitioning is introduced and the advantages are clearly illustrated. One of the biggest advantages of partitioning is partition elimination, where only the partitions necessary to satisfy the query are read instead of all the data.

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Thomas LeBlanc

How to execute a Deployed Package from the SSIS Catalog with various options

March 21, 2017 by

In my previous two articles on SQL Server integration Services (SSIS), Parameterizing Database Connection in SSIS and Deploying Packages to SSIS Catalog (SSISDB), packages were developed, deployed and configured in the SSIS Catalog. Now, it is time to execute the packages with various options. There are a couple of ways to do this, but we need to be able to change the parameter values as well as monitor for failures or successes.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

The evolution of SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) for Business Intelligence development

March 9, 2017 by

By all accounts, the introduction of SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) in SQL Server 2012 was a watershed moment for many SQL Server developers. For better or for worse, SSDT as an IDE for business intelligence development changed – amongst other things – the way we deployed our SSIS packages (i.e. package vs project deployments), simplified Tabular Model development, and also introduced us to the SSISDB. Likewise the replacement of Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) with SSDT had its detractors who were noticeably not very happy that in addition to installing SQL Server 2012 you still had to do a separate download and installation of BI templates for SSDT (previously, BI templates in BIDS were available as soon as you installed SQL Server 2005/2008). Although SSDT-BI is still being offered as a separate installation, subsequent releases of SSDT have included several enhancements changes that should go a long way to winning the hearts of its critics. In this article we conduct a comparative analysis of all versions (up until 16.5) of SSDT and identify all the major improvements that have been introduced in the BI templates.

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Craig Porteous
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How to automate SSAS tabular model processing in SQL Server 2016

March 6, 2017 by

There are many ways to process your SSAS Tabular Model. This can be achieved in SSIS using the Analysis Services Execute DDL Task or manually, through Management studio GUI but to have a little fun & make the task more flexible I’m going to script this with ASSL/TMSL & build a notification round it. We can then schedule this as a step in a SQL agent job, call it from SSIS or PowerShell.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

Top 5 Deprecated Features in Reporting Services 2016

February 17, 2017 by

It’s not often that I write negative articles surrounding SQL Server’s latest release but ever since we upgraded one of our BI boxes to run SQL Server Reporting Services 2016 (SSRS 2016), I have picked up on some frustrations from my team when using the upgraded Report Manager portal due to the unavailability of features that used to exist in versions prior to SSRS 2016. I have since realized that in spite of the many exciting features and improvements introduced in SSRS 2016, there is a downside to this latest version of reporting services that is likely to leave many administrators frustrated.

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Craig Porteous

SSRS Failed Subscription Alerting

February 10, 2017 by

Even now, with SQL Server 2016 SP1 released only a few months ago, it baffles me that there is still no built-in functionality to alert admins or users of failed subscriptions in Reporting Services. We still rely on scripts like the one I’m about to describe or report recipients contacting administrators/helpdesks when their report emails don’t arrive or fail to appear in file shares. This is something that people have had to work around for years. There is some documentation that Microsoft provides to help you get started with monitoring subscriptions from the log files with direction on using PowerShell but it is not by any means a complete solution. (Monitor Reporting Services Subscriptions)

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to resolve Excel Timeline Filter Errors caused by SQL Server OLAP Data Sources

January 31, 2017 by

Over the course of my career, I have developed and deployed to production several business intelligence solutions. These solutions have been consumed using numerous data visualisation tools. One of those data visualisation tools, is Microsoft Excel – which remains a popular data visualisations tool for many of my end users. Like many software products, newer version releases of Excel usually introduce new features. One such feature is the Timeline filter control which was first introduced in Microsoft Office 2013. The Timeline filter control enables end users to visually filter Excel PivotTables using fields defined as dates. The Timeline filter has several benefits compared to the traditional Excel dropdown filter. Figure 1 illustrates one of those benefits whereby the Timeline filter allows end-users to easily apply a filter (i.e. using a scroll bar) again a PivotTable. It also has useful annotations that describes what you have filtered on – in this case, we have chosen sales period between February and March 2011.

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Koen Verbeeck

Integration Services Performance Best Practices – Writing to the Destination

January 26, 2017 by

With this article, we continue part 1 of common best practices to optimize the performance of Integration Services packages. As mentioned in the previous article “Integration Services (SSIS) Performance Best Practices – Data Flow Optimization“, it’s not an exhaustive list of all possible performance improvements for SSIS packages. It merely represents a set of best practices that will guide you through the most common development patterns.

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Koen Verbeeck

Integration Services Performance Best Practices – Data Flow Optimization

January 26, 2017 by

In this article, we’ll present a couple of common best practices regarding the performance of Integration Services (SSIS) packages. These are general guidelines for package design and development which guarantee a good performance in most use cases. However, there are always exceptional cases and outliers. The mantra of “measure twice, cut once” also applies here. Thoroughly test any changes to your packages to conclude that a change made a positive effect. This means not only running the in the designer, but also on the server. Also, this article is not an exhaustive list of all possible performance improvements for SSIS packages. It merely represents a set of best practices that will guide you through the most common development patterns.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to administer SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) subscriptions using PowerShell

January 23, 2017 by

In the article Report Subscription Changes in SQL Server Reporting Services 2016, I covered several changes to standard and data-driven subscriptions that were introduced in the release of SQL Server 2016. However all of those changes related to administering report subscriptions using a GUI (i.e. Report Manager Portal, SSRS Configuration Manager). The release of SQL Server Core, SQL Server on Linux and enhancements on Windows PowerShell, reinforces the growing shift by Microsoft to have SQL Server professionals adopt scripting as one of the ways to carry out their daily tasks. In this article we continue to explore SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) subscription feature by discussing some of the Windows PowerShell commands that can be utilised to administer report subscriptions.

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