Business Intelligence

Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to stop a runaway SSIS package

September 13, 2016 by

There are many reasons for terminating a long running SSIS Package. Picture a scenario whereby an inexperienced DBA/developer accidentally kicks-off a monthly job instead of a daily job, inadvertently impacting SQL Server performance. Whatever the reasons, you are more than likely to encounter a situation in which you have to temporary stop a long running process.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to use SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to execute SQL Agent Jobs

August 22, 2016 by

Every production ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) solution is often intrinsically linked to a scheduling mechanism that is used to execute that ETL solution. In a SQL Server-based environment, SQL Server Agent is one of the scheduling mechanism that can be utilized to schedule an execution of ETL solutions such as SQL Server Integration Service (SSIS) packages. In the organization that I currently work for, we’ve had several instances (for various reasons) whereby as the data team we’ve been required to provide a platform for business users to execute an ETL at their own convenience (i.e. on-demand). In this article, we will demonstrate on how we went about delivering self-service ETL execution requirement.

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Steve Simon

Reporting in SQL Server – Combine T-SQL and DAX queries to produce effective reports

July 27, 2016 by

Introduction

With today’s challenging economic times it has become more and more important to manage and rectify changing sales patterns and trends.

In today’s “get together” we shall be expanding our outlook by creating efficient and effective reports utilizing SQL Server Reporting Service 2016 and T-SQL, together with the DAX code that we created in our last “fire side chat”.

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Steve Simon

SQL Server and BI – How to document your Tabular model with Reporting Services 2016

July 20, 2016 by

Introduction

A few weeks back I had been working on an interesting proof of concept for a client within the food/grocery industry. The objectives were to be able to provide the client with information on sales patterns, seasonal trends and location profitability. In our previous “get-together” we discussed how to create a tabular model project and how to create efficient and effective reports utilizing Excel.

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Daniel Calbimonte

Using Power BI Desktop to connect to SQL Server and Facebook

July 12, 2016 by

Introduction

Power BI is an extremely popular new Microsoft Tool to create reports. In a previous article, we talked about Power BI Cloud based services. In that article, we connected from a SQL Azure Data Warehouse database to the Power BI Cloud services. In this new article, we will work with the Power BI Desktop Tool from zero. The Power BI Desktop is a reporting software that can be installed in your Windows machine to create reports locally and connect to different data sources like Azure, SharePoint, Active Directory, Exchange, Facebook, Google Analytics and many other data sources. We will create Reports from a SQL Server database and finally we will extract information from Facebook. With Power BI, you can easily access to maps at street level around the world.

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Steve Simon

SQL Server and BI – How to document your Tabular model with Excel

July 12, 2016 by

Introduction

A few weeks back I had been working on an interesting proof of concept for a client within the food / grocery industry. The objectives were to be able to provide the client with information on sales patterns, seasonal trends and location profitability. The client was an accountant and was therefore comfortable utilizing spreadsheets. This said, I felt that this was a super opportunity to build our proof of concept utilizing a SQL Server Tabular Solution and by exploiting the capabilities of Excel and Power Reporting for the front end.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

New Excel slicer feature for report users in Office 2016

May 9, 2016 by

Whilst researching for the article Report filtering: Excel slicers vs SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) parameters, I discovered a new Excel Slicer feature in Microsoft Office 2016 that allows users to select/deselect multiple items without having to hold down the control (Ctrl) keyboard key. For some people, this may not be a sufficient reason to upgrade to Office 2016 but for developers of business intelligence (BI) solutions, this new feature further enhances the experience of consumers of BI solutions.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

Report filtering: Excel slicers vs SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) parameters

May 4, 2016 by

At the heart of interactive reporting is the ability for end-users to filter report datasets according to their preference. Therefore, a great data visualization tool is the one that caters for report filtering. Some of the popular data visualization tools used by some of my clients to consume my Business Intelligence solutions usually include SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Microsoft Excel. Although these tools share a similar publisher, Microsoft, they have several differences on their report usage and configuration. One difference they seem to share is in the way they are configured to enable report filtering, which is the focus of this article.

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Shawn Melton

SSIS and PowerShell – Execute process task

April 11, 2016 by

Introduction

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and PowerShell (PS) together offer a plethora of opportunities, and some shortcuts when having to import, export, or at times moving data. I have come across packages that contain a Script Task with lines and lines of C# code that, done with PowerShell, could make maintaining that package much easier. Overall, the most common thing I see Script Task doing is accessing the file system or doing some manipulation on a file. One thing I hope that picks up speed in the BI world of SSIS is utilizing PowerShell for these type of actions. This is not to say one is better than the other as you should pick what is best in your eyes, but when I can do operations against the file system with a one-liner in PowerShell it is just easier to maintain that in the package. In this article I will go over how you can use the most common task utilized for executing PowerShell code in an SSIS package: Execute Process Task.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

Working with ragged right formatted files in SSIS

March 16, 2016 by

In the world of SSIS development architecture, preference should be given to extracting data from flat files instead of non-Microsoft relational databases. This is because you often don’t have to worry about driver support and compatibility issues in your SSIS development/server machine that is often attributed to non-Microsoft database vendors. In fact, I’ve been in several situations whereby we cannot upgrade to another version of SSIS (i.e. BIDS to SSDT) due to the lack of external vendor driver compatibility issues in the newer versions of SSIS.

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