Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Data Virtualization...

With companies/business having different types of  data marts/datawarehouses there is a fear that these could become independent silos and could not provide value to the business as a whole. There has been lot of resources(Time,Money,People) being invested in building a datawarehouse/data marts. The business would like to get value from the disparate datawarehouses/data marts, so the concept that has been in play for quite a while is Data Virtualization. Data Virtualization could be defined as process of building a agile data layer for easy data access and delivery. This is also sometimes referred to as the data abstraction layer so that users can get access to data quickly. Having defined Data Virtualization, where does one use this concept: Here are some of the situations where Data Virtualization could be used.
1. Data Federation - Scenario: A application requires data from multiple incompatible data sources.
(Example: Federated Views, Virtual Data Marts)
2. Data Warehouse Extension: The Datawarehouse does not contain the required data to create reports (Example: Datewarehouse Extension)
3. Data Virtualization - Build a Agile Data layer for easy data access.
4. Big Data Integration: How to combine Big Data with traditional data for analysis (Example: Hadoop)
5. Cloud Data Integration: Need to integrate systems on site with the Applications running in the cloud (Example: SaaS Application Integration)

Based on the scenario and type of question we are trying to answer, Data Virtualization could be a solution. The concepts described here were based on a article related to the Composite , a data virtualization/Integration tool from Cisco (http://www.compositesw.com/data-virtualization/).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SQL Server 2014-EBook

With SQL Server 2014 being released, there are lot of lectures/talks being organised by SQL PASS for folks who want to get a understanding of what is available in SQL Server 2014. There is a free ebook written by Ross Mistry and Stacia Misner on SQL Server 2014. The eBook is titled "Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Overview". The ebook is around 116 pages and contains primarily 2 Parts: 1. Database Administration, Part 2: Business Intelligence Development.
The Part 1 has 3 Chapters, these chapters highlight the 1. SQL Server 2014 Engine Enhancements, 2. In-Memory Features, 3. High Availability, Hybrid Cloud and backup enhancements.
The Part 2 Focuses on the BI related enahnacements available in SQL Server 2014.  The 3 Main Areas focused on are: Chapter 4 on Self Service BI, Chapter 5: on Power BI, Chapter 6: Big Data Solutions. All of the chapters describe the future BI solutions that are going to be available. The Chapter 6 dwells into the Microsoft Big Data Framework HDInsight. Here is the link for the eBook:
http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/ebooks

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

AS-IS - TO BE...Business Process Management

When I work/worked on BI projects, one of main reason for initiating a project is to make a process better for the business and provide increased value to business in terms of revenue/profits. A good analysis and design of the business requirements would yield very good results. One of the methodologies i have been exposed to as part of Business Process Management is the AS IS TO BE analysis method. As part of this method the first step that is to be done is to understand the current process which is called as the AS IS State. Here one builds a flow diagram of the present system/process in place. Once this completed, the analysis of the current process takes place. In this step any possible flaws/deficiencies are identified, also any possible opportunities to optimise the process is also discussed/documented. The goal here is to identify steps that improve the overall process and provide Business value. Once this step is completed, then we move on to the TO BE stage where the proposed/improved process is documented. In this step the improvements/optimisations are captured. A walk through of the proposed process is performed and made sure that the design can be implemented. There are different tools to perform the AS IS-TO BE methodology. One of the tools available is from visual paradigms, here is the link http://www.visual-paradigm.com/. The specific product that helps with the AS-IS - TO-BE Process is Logizian: Here is the description of the tool from the web site at a high level. One of the reasons to write a blog post on this topic was to highlight the importance of analysis and design in a project where BI solutions are going to be implemented.
http://www.visual-paradigm.com/product/lz/

Logizian - BPMN 2.0 Business Workflow Design Software

Easy-to-use and cross-platforms business process design tool that supports business process modeling with Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) 2.0, Data Flow Diagram (DFD), decision table and organization chart. Logizian supports also advanced business modeling features like to document working procedures for workflow elements, animating business process diagram, process simulation, reports generation and publishing workflow design to website.
 
 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SQL Server 2014 - Evaluation...

As folks are getting comfortable SQL Server 2012, In some cases I have heard that users want to bypass SQL Server 2012 and upgrade straight to SQL Server 2014 from SQL Server 2008. One of the big attractions is use of in memory technologies across the OLTP, Data warehousing and BI platforms. There not been much of improvements in SSIS and SSRS but SSAS/BI has got some new features. Please check the following link for all the features and the product itself.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server/#fbid=l3BkTG6tymf.
The image below was taken from the SQL Server 2014 Data Sheet...which talks about In memory across all workloads.



Hope one of these days I will get to install and evaluate SQL Server 2014.