Analysis Services – Vision & Roadmap Update from Microsoft

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Look out world! Microsoft has finally given a pretty good roadmap for the next major release of SQL Server Denali”.

SQL Server Denali” looks pretty interesting with a new thing called the BI Semantic Model. On the face of it, Microsoft has a very compelling Business Intelligence offering that truly unifies Relation data with Multidimensional (tables and cubes). What does that mean? Hopefully one query, one business question can get the consolidated, aggregated and calculated information or report instantly without any one needing to know if the data is stored in cubes or tables. Business people consuming reports don't really care where the data comes from do they? As long as they get is FAST!

FAST means fast query time and FAST development time. Building business models faster for faster consumption.

Chris Web raised an a couple of issues with this new version of SQL that were:

  1. It appeared that SQL Server would not have a multi-dimensional data store and
  2. There seemed to be no migration path for people moving to the next release of SQL Server.

These issues have been put to bed and Chris explains here.

Now, the BI Semantic Model.  Here is a picture to get started.

Basically it is an interface that offers:

  • Data Modelling is the old UDM (Unified Dimension Model). For people who don't build cubes today, this will not make any sense so don't worry.  For developers, we now get two choices for building business models – cubes or tables.  Our current cubes will upgrade to this new model, apparently.
  • Business Logic and Queries which gives us calculations using MDX or DAX the new PowerPivot syntax.
  • Data Access.  There are two options here:
    • Cached. MOLAP data store (cubes) or VertiPaq.  MOLAP we know but VertiPaq is new.  It is the PowerPivot technology making retrieving data from tables super fast.
    • Pass Through using ROLAP or DirectQuery.

I can't wait to get my hands on SQL Server Denali”. The full version will have all the new functionality but the CTP's will have to do for now.  Every new version will have a new feature turned on so it is something to wait for.

What about CALUMO and SQL Server Denali”?  It takes James our Software Development Manager about 4 minutes to spin up a new server using Microsoft HyperV and add it to CALUMO's fully integrated testing regime. We expect the next CTP to have the required features CALUMO needs to do some testing and development.  SQL Server Denali” is very exciting for us at CALUMO.  CALUMO will remain the one place to go to know”.

If you want more information, please email me wleitch@calumo.com or leave a comment.

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