Business Intelligence

Régis Baccaro

Automating database tests with Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server

October 31, 2014 by

This is the third post in the series about database development and testing using SQL Server Data Tools and Team Foundation Server.

Post 1: Continuous Integration with SSDT and TFS

Post 2: Unit testing with SQL Server Data Tools

You can run test in Visual Studio to test the quality of your build. In VS 2012 and 2013 there are 5 kind of tests that are available for the user Read more »

Steve Simon

How to clean data using Data Quality Services and SQL Server Integration Services

October 29, 2014 by

Introduction

A year or so ago, I worked for an online web grocery software house located in the northern United States. At that time I had my ‘baptismal’ exposure to ‘genuinely dirty data’. Granted most of the data entry was done manually and many times from offshore. The point being that I could not fathom just how many ways there were to spell the brand name of a major cereal manufacturer. Why is this such an issue? The answer is fairly straight forward. Imagine the scenario that you are trying to ascertain the dollar value of breakfast cereals sold in the country from the local supermarket standpoint all the way up to national sales. Imagine this utilizing a SQL Server Multi-dimensional cube. The ‘eagle – eyed’ reader will recognize that the results will not aggregate correctly should our aggregation attributes have a plethora of different ways of being spelt. Read more »

Evan Barke

SQL Server Business Intelligence – Using recursive CTE and persisted computed columns to create a calendar table

June 2, 2014 by

Introduction

Those of you that have worked extensively with dates in SQL Server (or any other relational database management system (RDBMS)) will know how finicky and complicated it can be to use DATE functions, DATEPART, DATENAME, DATEADD, GETDATE(), CURRENT_TIMESTAMP etc. Personally, I find it very useful to have a calendar table that stocks all of the necessary, pre-calculated fields in one place. Whether you’re doing BI or web, it can be very helpful to have a fixed ID for a date in order to really optimize your data analysis and processing. Read more »
Evan Barke

SQL Server Business Intelligence – Expanding fact tables in an established data warehouse

May 30, 2014 by

Introduction

As in often the case in life, things that sound simple are not always the easiest things to do. In computer science this is even more often the case. In fact, one of the most challenging things about information technology work is often the communication with bosses that know little about technology and require justification for time spent on seemingly simple tasks. However, by the same token, tasks that seem impossible to the untrained eye are often fairly straightforward and quick to implement and can earn you easy respect. Read more »
Evan Barke

SQL Server Business Intelligence features – creating reports based on OLAP cubes

May 19, 2014 by

Introduction

In order to build a SQL Server business intelligence solution one needs to:

  1. Design a de-normalized data warehouse
  2. Build and schedule an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) package that will feed the data warehouse at regular intervals with new data from the OLTP database.
  3. Setup, personalize and process a cube based on the data warehouse.
  4. Add the processing step to the ETL schedule to ensure the whole chain is automated.
Note: These steps are covered in detail in other articles in the series. If you do not yet have an OLAP cube set up and automated and you need more info as to how to do so; please refer back to the relevant step.
Read more »
Evan Barke

SQL Server Business Intelligence Features – Creating a Simple OLAP Cube

May 9, 2014 by

Introduction

Multidimensional cubes and transactional databases are two very different things. From experience I have seen even veteran DBAs avoid the subject of cubes completely because it is too much of an unknown area for them. Often cube work is passed on to developers because of their comfort with using Visual Studio. This is a great pity because it is, in reality, not very difficult at all to create an OLAP cube. It is safe to say that most of the work needs to be done in a traditional SQL Server database engine / SSIS environment from creating the data warehouse model to keeping it fed with ETL packages. This article assumes you already have a data warehouse and uses AdventureWorksDW2012 as an example. Following these steps should put you on the road to a decent SQL Server business intelligence solution based on a read-optimized OLAP cube. Read more »
Evan Barke

SQL Server Business Intelligence Features – SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence

April 30, 2014 by

Introduction

In our previous article on the introduction to SQL Server business intelligence we covered the general structure of an enterprise business intelligence solution. The tools needed to build these solutions were briefly mentioned. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a deeper understanding into the creation of an ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) dataflow. To do this one needs to use SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence (previously known as BIDS or Business Intelligence Development Studio). In this article we’ll take a look at the basic functionality of SQL Server Data Tools and how to use it to keep your data warehouse up to date. It’s worth noting that there are many different ways to go about building your ETL solution. This article gives sound advice and pointers as to how to approach the problem. Read more »
Evan Barke

SQL Server Business Intelligence – Introduction

April 23, 2014 by

What a load of Bl…

You may be wondering what Business Intelligence is. If you’re reading this article you probably have prior experience with Microsoft SQL Server or at least one other relational database management system (RDBMS). If this is the case you’re probably used to managing a lot of valuable data. If you’re a DBA you may be used to maximizing performance by rewriting stored procedures, creating indexes or running profiling traces.
Read more »
Marko Radakovic

Using an XML file to configure an SSIS package

March 16, 2014 by
To configure an SSIS package means to choose property/value pairs added to a completed package, and include them in the configuration file for the further modifications. If for any reason some of the values has been changed after the deployment is finished and the package run, they can be added later, opening the package in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS), and changing the values Read more »
Marko Radakovic

Ways to use and execute SQL Server Integration Services packages

March 13, 2014 by
SSIS packages (SQL Server Integration Services) are a part of the Microsoft SQL Server database platform and a tool for building high performance data integration and workflow applications. It is also a tool for data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL), and can be used to automate maintenance of the SQL Server databases and updates. Basically, they can be used for moving data, with no transformations, from a variety of source types to a variety of destination types, including text files and other SQL Server instances Read more »