Wednesday, May 22, 2013

SSAS Tabular Model...

When Microsoft decided to provide tabular model by incorporating in memory analytics capability there was a lot of debate and still going on in the BI space. The debate was that which technology is Microsoft going to support in the future, will it be multidimensional or tabular. Well based on discussions in sql server community, it seems like both will coexist with each serving a different type of user base. With lot of in memory analytics vendors in the market, Tabular model will sure be grabbing a lot of attention from Microsoft and the user base. With SQL Server Data Tools in SQL Server 2012 one can create Tabular Model Projects. Please use the following link to get started on SSAS tabular Model Projects. This is available at MSDN (Microsoft).

One of the most important aspect of tabular model projects would be the .bim file which gets created when a new tabular model project is created. It goes without saying that SQL Server 2012 (SSAS) Tabular Model needs to be installed on the Server.
The next couple of years will be interesting for tabular models as more companies begin to embrace in memory technologies, how they scale and what value they offer for the business. One of the leading vendors in the In Memory space is QilkView.

Monday, May 13, 2013

SSIS Vs Store Procedure/T-SQL

One of the interesting debates/discussions which happen while discussing an SSIS implementation/Strategy is whether to use SSIS as a shell and do majority of the work the transformation/loading work done by SQL/Stored Procedures. The second option is to leverage the features in SSIS package and reduce the amount of TSQL/Stored procedures. In order to arrive at a optimum solution there are certain key points that need to discussed. The first would be the requirement from SSIS solution, in this there could be the following sub categories.
1. What would be the frequency of Data load into the target system.
2. What type of transformation is required.
3. What would be the requirement for the availability of data to the users.
4. What type of hardware is available at this point and how does it play into the requirement.

It is very important to understand the capabilities of the tools available while building the SSIS solution. Each piece of the ETL toolset would have a capability, positives/negatives, it is very important to understand them.
SQL/Stored Procedures are very good at performing SET based operations and CRUD operations. SSIS is very good at doing parallel processing, String based transformations, lot of functions for different type of operations based on data types, also it is graphical in nature. It is also very important to perform lot of testing while doing a SSIS implementation to get a good understanding of performance in the given server/hardware environment. With respect to transformations, get a good understanding of the complexity of the transformations required by the ETL solution. It would also be highly recommended to look at the metadata of the data sources and destinations and see if any design patterns can be arrived at. From a developer's view point it is important to understand the level of code maintenance involved.

In case you to get more insigh into SSIS best practices, please look into the discussion in Linkedin:
There are very good points listed in the link above by different SQL Experts, it is worth checking it out.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Analytics Reporting and Dashboards...Part 2

In continuation with my earlier blog post, I had the opportunity to get references to some more Analytics reporting and dashboard products. The good news is there is a wide range of tools, also all of them have offerings for the growing Mobile and tablet market. There is a increasing need for delivering BI Solutions on mobile platforms. The 2 Products I have checked out so far has been Strategy Companion (this works on Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise OS, the software does not install on Windows 7 Premium) and bioXL from Pyramid Analytics (has similar set of requirements from Strategy companion). The web site for strategy companion is They have products which work for mobile platform as well, they have very good demo videos on the web site and a very helpful support staff. Once you register for a product download they also offer setup support videos which are very useful. They have 3 products Analyzer enterprise, Analyzer Saas and Analyzer mobile. The web site for Analyzer Mobile is and to quote from the web site: Using a “Build Once – Deploy Everywhere” approach, Analyzer Mobile™ enables you to easily provide mobile BI supporting iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets, BlackBerry smartphones and tablets and Windows Phone 7. No software of any kind needs to be downloaded to anyone’s desktop or mobile device in order to build or deploy your mobile BI reports and dashboards. I found the demos very impressive and would definitely check out more of this product. There other vendors who have product offering in the same space:
They are CALUMO (, their product offerings range from Reporting/Analysis to Dashboards and KPI's. The line up of products are CALUMO for SSAS, CALUMO Skylights and CALUMO Sparks. The company also offers products for Mobile BI Capabilities.
The next vendor I would like to mention is TARGIT,, they have products offering wide range of capabilities,, they state that they do social analytics as well, these days there a lot of effort being directed towards getting valuable information from Unstrucutred data. The product which supports SQL Server can be downloaded from
I am have been spending my time trying to get through these products in terms of features, each one of them look impressive in terms of capabilities. In case anyone of you know more about these products please do drop a comment and share your experiences.