Thursday, December 29, 2005

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Goodies

In case you did not realise I am on Holiday, well from work anyway. It’s been great I have spent a whole five days away from my laptop.

Today I have managed to catch up on a few things, checked out what’s new for SQL 2005. I came across a couple of things that are worth a look.

  • Get Ready for Microsoft SQL Server 2005

    Microsoft has put out a series of free training courses that can be downloaded and done in your own time. The great thing about the nine courses is they are free until November 2006. Plenty of time to get your head round Administration, Programming and Business Intelligence features checkout:

    Get Ready for Microsoft SQL Server 2005

  • Feature Pack for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 - November 2005

    This is a major release of add ons for SQL server 2005 from Microsoft. It includes handy free database drivers for SAP (preview) and IBM DB2. The Microsoft SQL Server 2000 DTS Designer Components for SSIS, and Datamining Viewer Controls are also included, the list goes on. Checkout:

    Feature Pack for Microsoft SQL Server 2005

  • SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence Add ons

    This is an excellent start on a for SSIS metadata reporting framework. There are two downloads containing SSRS reports and report model that reports against the SSIS log table. There is a dependency analyser for SSAS and SSIS. Checkout:

    SQL Server Integration Services Log provider reports using SQL Server Reporting Services

    SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence Metadata Samples Toolkit

Sunday, December 11, 2005

If you have not heard there is an Updated Books Online

Microsoft has released updated Books Online and samples. There are a few cool things in this updated that makes it a must for downloading besides being the most up to date documentation. Rather than repeating Brian Welcker's Weblog on the new updates go and check out it at:
Antics (SQL 2005 Documentation Updates)

To download the latest copy of BOL:
SQL Server 2005 Books Online (December 2005)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Big Plug for Dave Duvarney

Well I just came across Dave's Blog. He took SQL 2005 ascend course last year in Sydney. He has also written a couple of books on Reporting Services. Well worth keeping an eye on what he is up too.

Check out:
Dave Duvarney Blog

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Report Builder and the UDM

This month is definitely Report Front end development month. After presenting at our cabana session at SQL Server 2005 launch I have been getting busy with Report Builder and Reporting Services 2005. The project I am working on is a small scale reporting solution.


At first I had a good look at using Analysis Services as my main repository for storing all my business logic and handling querying against the source system. This has its advantages; it reduces the load against the source system and offers high performance.

The main disadvantage was the complexity of getting data out of an OLAP solution. Of course it is easy with RS 2005 now, but the navigation across the OLAP cube can be a bit daunting to a novice business user.

Report Builder

Then there is Report Builder. Now there is something, an easy to use interface to create reports against any SQL Server/Analysis Services data source. The report writing is done via a report model. The model removes the need to create queries that require knowledge of the data source. This is great for users that don’t want/know how to join tables.

There is a gap in Report builder when it comes to complex reports. Report builder is a limited report designer allowing users to create reports in a controlled interface. For complex reports I always go for Report Designer. There is a not so well document feature that allows you to create Visual Studio Report Designer reports against a report model.

Russell Christopher wrote a neat little piece on using a report model as a data source. Check out: Using a Report Builder Model as a Report Designer data source in SQL 2005

How about both Report Builder and Analysis services?

The best solution is using a combination of Analysis Service cubes and Report Builder to provide an easy access way for users to reports. Using this hybrid approach will enable high performance query and reporting response times with user interface that’s not a pivot table.

It is a challenge to create a Report Model based on Analysis Services. The quickest way is creating a shared data source in reporting services. Follow these steps:
  • Select the shared data source in report manager

  • Click on Generate model button

  • Enter a Model Name, Description and Location Click ‘Ok

  • Open Report Builder and select your new model.

Mark Russo has also blogged on creating a report model against Analysis services in BI Studio. Check out: Report Builder Model with UDM

Friday, December 02, 2005

This Months Book Recomendation

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Data Transformation Services DTS
by Timothy Peterson

With SQL Server 2005 launched and ready to go it is easy to forget that there will be a lot of DTS 2000 systems ticking over for a long time. This means you may need a good reference book with great descriptions of everything DTS wise.

Timothy did an amazing job describing every DTS Task, workflow and practical solution possible. It is the only DTS 2000 book I have in my bookshelf.

I hope Timothy writes a SSIS book I would definitely buy a copy.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Get down with the feed!

Ok so it’s taken an email from someone in Sydney to make me finally add a feed to my blog. I am using feed burner to provide a site feed. Now I need to select a viewer for all the other blogs I am reading. Got any suggestions?

For my feed:

Which SQL Server 2005 BI features are you going to use the most?

Well November has not been a good month for me when it comes to Blogging. I have been flat out doing the Nationwide SQL Server 2005 Launch in New Zealand. It was amazing to meet so many keen SQL Server Developers.

Microsoft was very impressive running three events in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. Great support for us Kiwis.

This month I ran a quick poll on ‘What BI features are Developers most interested in’. The results are well inline with what I am doing.

It is interesting to note that only 5% are looking at Data mining, and the shift from ETL(SSIS) to Reporting Services.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This Months Book Recommendation - Impossible Data Warehouse Situations: Solutions from the Experts by Sid Adelman

Ok so it is time I really recommend a book instead of linking to one in Amazon.

Starting a data warehouse project or in one? Want a worst case scenario guide. Well this book is for you. The book is based on newsgroup posts and real world projects. This book gives you an insight into everything from running a Data warehouse project to managing Tool vendors. I have read this book and found it funny and insightful. It’s the only book I have read that touches on the corporate and political situations that occur on a data warehouse project. It’s most definitely not a book for reading on Client site or at project meetings.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

All Things Reporting Services Blog

Just came across a great Reporting Services Blog By Brian Welcker. Its well worth a look if you are a RS nut. Brian even has a post on moving from CTP to RTM for Reporting Services reports.

Check Out:
Direct Reports (Brian Welcker's Weblog)

Monday, October 31, 2005

How to install SQL Server 2005 RTM over September CTP

I have just installed SQL Server RTM from MSDN. Here are the steps that worked for me when installing RTM successfully over CTP releases.

Note: You cannot have a side by side installation of SQL sever 2005 CTP and RTM, but you can have a SQL 2000 and SQL 2005 using name instances. This also works for Analysis Services as well.

Step 1: Remove SQL Server 2005 CTP. Using the remove tool (Build Uninstall Wizard) from the original CTP installation files. \..\SQLDEV\Tools\Setup Tools\Build Uninstall Wizard\sqlbuw.exe

Step 2: Uninstall SQL CTP or Beta Tools such as the Upgrade Advisor

Step 3: Uninstall .net framework 2.0.

Step 4: Install SQL Server 2005 RTM from MSDN

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Huge week for SQL Server 2005

It’s been a huge week for SQL Server 2005. Microsoft have launched several new initiatives in preparation for November

  • New BI developer Qualification, I am looking forward to doing this qualification. Not since SQL Server 7.0 has Microsoft created a certification dedicated to BI developers. Have a look at MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer

  • RTM is now available to MSDN subscribers for SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio. Check out

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Top 10 SQL 2005 Features for RTM

Hello All,

This post is all about the top ten features I am looking forward to in SQL Server 2005. You may be surprised it’s not just SSIS nor is it just about reporting services.

1. SQL 2005 RDBMS: There have been some huge improvements in the core database engine. The two major areas of improvement that bring this area as number one are: Query Performance and Disaster Recovery. These two features I will use on every project. Listed below is functionality in detail that made up the number one ranking.

  • Query Performance: There are two areas that have improved query performance, Covering Indexes and Partition tables. The major change is in covering indexes. They can have more than 16 columns as long as the total number of page bytes (8k) is not exceeded. This is great for fact tables with a large number of dimension keys that need to be indexed. Partition tables are the other feature that makes a difference to query performance on large tables. This feature not only allows the partitioning of data but indexes as well. Check out: SQL Server 2005: Two Little Known Features That Matter Big! and BOL: Index with Included Columns and also have a look at BOL: Designing Partitioned Tables and Indexes
  • Disaster Recovery: The Backup and Recovery have been improved in this release. The best new feature is the Online restore. Allowing User access to the database once the redo logs have start. This is an awesome feature allowing the restore time to be reduced significantly. For more info check out BOL: Performing Online Restores
2. Analysis Services: This is really a tie with the database engine. The new features in AS2005 are almost boundless. The all the limitations of AS2000 have been addressed. One of the key changes is around deployment. Everything is now fully scriptable using the new Analysis Services Scripting Language (ASSL). A new query standard XMLA has been implemented which is widely accepted by front end tools. There have been huge changes in the engine room of analysis services. We no longer have to create virtual cubes to meet the need to service mixed grain cubes. Performance and large cubes have been updated too with proactive caching. Listed below is functionality in detail that made up the number two ranking.

  • Deployment of Analysis Services Cubes: The new ASSL scripting allows for creation and maintenance of Analysis Services Databases and Cubes. Check out BOL: Analysis Services Scripting Language (ASSL)
  • Performance Enhancements: Analysis services is fast becoming the reporting back end for high performance reporting. Features such as Proactive Caching, and the improvement in storage models allows users a fast query response against OLAP and Relational data sources.
  • Analysis Enhancements: There are several key enhancements in the area of analysis. Key performance indicators (KPI), are now stored within the OLAP cube. Drill through has been enhanced and translations have been created to help developers with international users.
  • Dimension: One of the limitations that I continue to struggle with in AS2000 is the use of member properties to extend dimension usability. Of course this has been addressed in AS2005. No longer are dimensions based on hierarchies instead they are based on attributes. In line with most reporting requirements. Hierarchies are instead based on attributes.
  • UDM (AS2005 OLAP Cube): One of my biggest gripes with AS2000 was the inability to handle mixed grain cubes. Generally relating to the multiple fact tables within one cube requirement. Of course we could use virtual cubes to create the big super cube solving this issue. In the case of AS2005 this is no longer an issue. Through the use of measure groups we are able to handle multiple fact tables with different grains. This is further enhanced by dimensions being allowed to handle many to many relationships with fact tables.

3. Reporting Services: RS2005 is jam packed with new features that just makes it better to write reports than the last release. New controls have been enabled for multi parameter selection. Calendars controls for selecting date parameters, and of course direct printing. Listed below is functionality in detail that made up of number three ranking.

  • Multi Parameters: One of the missing features in RS2000 was the ability to select multiple values in a list. This has been resolved in RS2005 with a check box list option for parameter selection.
  • Calendar Control: One of my favourite features in this release. This is automatically enabled as long as your parameter is of a data type “Datetime”. The control will automatically appear when viewing reports.
  • Direct Printing: The printing functionality in reporting services has been greatly enhanced. ActiveX control has been created to enable printing from within the browser.
  • MDX Query Designer: Ever had to create a report against an OLAP cube in RS2000? It was not pretty as you had to create MDX statements manually. RS2005 provides you with a query builder for MDX.

4. Report Builder: This is the first attempt by Microsoft to enable report users to create reports from relational database sources and not just an OLAP cube. Report builder was a product called ActiveViews that was purchased by Microsoft sometime ago (See: Microsoft Adds ActiveViews to Free SQL Reporting Services Add-On). This is the first version from Microsoft and currently only supports SQL Server and Analysis Services. This was the product that I really enjoyed presenting at Tech05. It is a great product for the report users to create reports without having to understand the underlying database structure. For an overview Check out BOL: Working with Ad Hoc Reports using Report Models

Listed below is functionality in detail that made up of number four ranking.

  • Report Models: The major component of the report builder is a business model that allows report users to create reports. This is the central repositiry for creating: common business calculations, Drillthrough paths and complex queries. Just like integration services and analysis services, report models are based on a data source views. You are able to hide database complexity by creating made queries for complex joins and data source calculations.
  • Ad hoc Reporting: Once a report model been created and published. Any user can navigate the underlying RDBMS without having to join any tables. It’s a great tool for reducing the complexity of creating reports. Reports can take three forms cross tab, table, and my favourite charts. All reports are published to the report manager portal. If the report model supports Drillthrough functionality users are able to navigate the data model.
  • Report Manager: Drillthrough functionality is one of the best things this happened to reports in reporting services. Report builder reports also support floating table headings. With scrollable headings large reports can be displayed in the browser in a greatly improved format.

5. Integration Services: I liked DTS, but I really love integration services. This should really have a top ten feature list of its own. Perhaps I will have to do one after this blog. The key feature I’m really interested in are around reusability of data in the data pipe. Its a great feature and one of the biggest changes. Other features include Fuzzy Lookups, Slowly Changing Dimensions Transformation, Loops, the list goes on. Listed below is functionality in detail that made up of number five ranking.

  • Control/Data Flow: One of the first features that most DTS developers will notice when using integration services. The control of flow allows developers to seprate workflow from transfromation tasks. Transfroming with DTS 2000 was a read once write once operation. Data flow allows you to read data in and transform multiple times(read once write mutlipule operations). This reduces disk I/O but ultimately requires more memory. This results in a huge performance gain with reduction of disk operations. Check out:BOL: Integration Services Programming
  • Fuzzy Lookups: Data quality affects every data warehouse project. A new transformation called fuzzy lookups is a tool to help address this problem. The functionality allows you to apply some data mining techniques to profile data that would normally fail on load.
  • Slowly Changing Dimensions Transformation: OK why did I not rank this features number one. By far this is one of the cooler features in integration services. This transformation allows you to handle type I and type II slowly changing dimensions. This is one of the things I’ve had to create my own architecture in SQL server 2000 to handle. Check out :BOL: Slowly Changing Dimension Transformation
  • Loops: What can I say all of us have wanted to do loops with DTS 2000, it is now standard feature with an integration services. The best example of this is looping through a set of text files and loading them with one data transformation.
  • 6. Data Mining: Seven Data mining Algorithms! OK hands up who has done data mining with AS2000? I myself have only done it on three projects. The biggest limitation with data mining in 2000 was a lack of a work bench to test your mining hypothesis. Then if you want to display the results you had a limited number of display options. Needless to say data mining has been greatly improved in this release. Microsoft research has continued their quest in the development of new algorithms for us to use. The two algorithms provided in SQL server 2000 have been greatly improved. If the statue with data mining to have this tutorial for books online: BOL: Creating a Forecasting Mining Model Structure (Data Mining Tutorial)

    7. T-SQL: New SQL functions - finally I can rank. T-SQL has been approved with inclusion of new features such as CLR support, and new text Data types. Check out:
    BOL: Transact-SQL Data Types

    • Rank(): I can honestly say I have need something like this for a long time. With this function I can rank my results with a rank number. I can even rank with a partition of the result set. Check this out if you use Reporting Services and need to rank the results I bet you will use this function. See: BOL: RANK (Transact-SQL)
    • Replacement text data types: The search limitations of using text and ntext was handled by using the full text search engine. Two new data types have been created varchar(Max) and nvarchar(Max). The new data types can be used to in the where clause is standard conditions.
    • XML data type: XML is now treated with its own data type. The new data type fully supports XQuery. See: XQuery Against the xml Data Type

    8. Database Tunning Advisor: Now we can tune the whole database. No really the whole database. DTA can be used in a similar way to the index tuning wizard only this time it looks at the entire database right down to the file groups and database table structure. It is well worth a look if you are trying to understand some of the new performance enhancements SQL Server 2005 has to offer. To get started with the database tuning adviser, check out:BOL: Database Engine Tuning Advisor Tutorial

    9. User Interfaces: Ok it’s a bit lame but the complete refresh of the UI was required. And this time someone listen to us developers and created an integrated workbench for the development of business intelligence projects. The old user interfaces have been replaced by two new applications, the SQL server management studio and business intelligence development studio.

    • SQL Server Management Studio: a cross between the old enterprise manager and query analyzer. To it as a single point for managing all server instances this includes Reporting Services, Analysis Services and Integration Services. Management studio is also the main query engine for SQL server.
    • Business Intelligence Development Studio: fully integrated into visual studio 2005, developers are able to create end to end business intelligence solutions. This a single point for developing integrated services, reporting services, and analysis services projects.

    10. Upgrade Advisor: Need to upgrade? Check out your current SQL server 2000 instance before installation. The first step should be the upgrade adviser. This can be found on the installation CD and is not installed by default and can be run independently of SQL server 2005 applications. It requires .Net framework version 2.0. You may wish to migrate instead of upgrading; SQL Server 2005 can be run as a side by side installation with 2000.

    To download the CTP version of Upgrade Advisor check out:
    Upgrade Advisor - Community Technology Preview (CTP) September 2005

    This list is based on the September CTP so it’s missing DB Mirroring which was in my top ten. I haven’t begun to talk about the new BI products such as the new scorecard accelerator that will have to be in another post.

    What are you’re top ten features you’re looking forward too in SQL 2005?
    Don’t be shy feel free to leave a comment as I have enabled anonymous user comments.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    SQL Server 2005 Books Online

    I have finally found the SQL Server 2005 Online books at MSDN. I have been looking for it for ages. Its a great resource to refer for Newsgroup and Blog posts.

    Check out at:,SQL.90).aspx


    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    Getting ready for SQL Server 2005

    Well it’s not long now till RTM, in fact its 5 weeks or so to launch. Just enough time to go through the last CTP before November. I have downloaded the September CTP release from

    After the download was complete I hurriedly installed the CTP on my laptop. Here are few comments on what I found with the latest CTP.

    • There are few changes in the User Interfaces here and there. So be prepared to look for the odd thing. Most of the UI changes are great at reducing the complexity of some areas. The main two I have noticed are Report Builder and SQL Server Management Studio.
    • Apps consolidation has also featured in this CTP. A lot of wizards have been moved to SQL Server Management Studio. So if you are looking for the Analysis Services upgrade wizard like me try the following:
    1. Connect to your AS2005 instance in to SQL Server Management Studio and right mouse click on the AS server icon in the object explorer.
    2. Select the Migrate Analysis Service database
    • Database mirroring one of my favourite features has been parked for a service pack. It is still available in RTM but will require some low level configuration and will not be supported. For more info see this article
    • This is the only CTP I have installed on my host OS and not a VPC. The only problem I have come across is development disconnected form the network. The problem is around connecting and browsing cubes. This results in an OLE DB error.
    Well that’s about it for now. Over the next couple of posts I am going to cover some of the features I am really looking forward to.

    Till next post,


    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    The Status of Database Mirroring in SQL 2005

    I just came across this article about Database mirroring. It appears that it will not be available/hidden in the RTM release in November. The link to article below contains Tom Rizzo comments.

    Monday, September 26, 2005

    This Blog is dedicated to Jim

    Who rightly points out I have not blogged in weeks, it’s not been from the lack of wanting to put something down, and I have just been a bit busy with work.

    So Jim sits next to me at work in a completely unrelated field of mobility. And seeing how Jim does not work with BI systems, I thought it would be good to have a look at the features that SQL Server 2005 has for Mobile applications. While I am at I will put a blog about it.

    First off there are no direct BI features for SQL Mobile applications. In fact there are none. Accept for the standard Reporting Services web services that can be customized.

    So what are the Mobility Features?

    First off a new DB that replaces SQL CE. SQL Management Studio is a single point for maintaining and developing SQL Mobile databases. There is full integration with Visual Studio. It’s a huge improvement over CE.

    Product Overview Getting Started

    Development Centre for SQL Mobile

    Well I know that’s a bit short and sweet, next post I will have a bit more of a BI favour.


    Wednesday, September 07, 2005

    Introduction to the Unified Dimensional Model (UDM)

    I was talking to a colleague about Analysis Services and how awesome the Unified Dimensional Model (UDM) is. I then realized I have not blogged in ages about anything useful. So I have pulled together some of my thoughts about the UDM.

    I was really introduced to the UDM on the Yukon Ascend program last year in Sydney. At the time I was still trying to find out what the UDM was in Analysis Services 2005 (AS2005). The simple answer is “The UDM is a Cube in AS2005”. Ok that may be glossing over the UDM a bit, but you will not find the UDM in AS 2005. There is no CREATE UDM function in AS2005. An AS2005 cube ties all the UDM features together.

    The UDM, I mean cubes provide the ability for reports (OLAP, Reporting Services) to be generated against standard OLAP cubes as well as Relational data sources. Queries can be optimized to either run against aggregates from OLAP storage or directly against the relational data sources offering a high performance reporting environment. Reporting services has been extended too with a UI to create MDX queries (something that was sorely missing in SQL 2000).

    The feature list for the UDM is huge. Data mining has been extended in AS2005 with seven algorithms. New KPI functionality has also been introduced in this release. The list goes on. I have put together some Useful links to UDM and Analysis Services 2005 resources.

    Introduction to the UDM

    Analysis Services 2005 Processing Architecture

    Enabling Drillthrough in Analysis Services 2005

    Introduction to Data Mining

    SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (SSRS)

    I have started my research in earnest into how I am going to use the UDM on Business Intelligence projects. I hope this is a good start for any one looking at the UDM.


    TechEd 2005 Auckland NZ Session slides


    My session slides have now been posted on to

    For my session on Analysis Services 2005 migration tips see:

    For Ad-hoc reporting with report builder see:


    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

    TechED Photos

    Hello All,

    Mark who attended my morning session has sent me some pics of me getting ready for the migration to AS 2005.

    Thanks Mark.


    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    What I got out of TechED

    Wow TechED is over, three days of sessions and two presentations of my own. It was a full on event for NZ IT scene.

    Besides presenting at TechED I did get to a couple of sessions. Looking back at them I took something from each session, listed below are my thoughts.

    BIN301- Cube Design in Analysis Services 2005 - Best Practice for Performance and Functionality - Richard Lees.

    This was the only session on AS 2005 that I was able to attend this year. Richard covered the UDM in detail and gave us a run of all the client tools for AS 2005. The best was the review of the proactive caching for loading cubes and the use notification services for automation of cube processing.

    The UDM really does have a large amount of features around query performance. Something I am going to look into in more detail on this blog at some stage.

    BIN310 - SQL Server 2005: End-to-End Part 3 (Analyze and Act) - Thierry D'Hers

    It was great to get to meet Thierry. I spent a bit of time with him on is brief say here in NZ. His insight into the direction of the MS BI platform was very informative. Thierry’s session reviewed all the SQL 2005 features with a take on MS direction for the product range.

    DBA313 - Architecting a Large Scale Data Warehouse with SQL Server 2005 - Doug Barrett

    Doug took us threw some of the key DW features for creating a DW on SQL 2005. The session was more of a traditional approach to DW architecture. He cover table partitions and loading with SSIS packages.

    I realy feel that any new BI projects on the MS platfrom will be based around the UDM.

    Microsoft is going to post all TechED presentations on their NZ site latter this month. I will post a link to these sessions on blog.

    Till next time


    Fuzzy Lookups and Groupings Provide Powerful Data Cleansing Capabilities

    Hello All,

    I came across this neat MSDN Article on Data Cleaning using SSIS. It was raises some great points on how to use the new Fuzzy transformations.

    Fuzzy Lookups and Groupings Provide Powerful Data Cleansing Capabilities


    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Beginners Guide to Business Intelligence: What is Business Intelligence About?

    I have decided to do a beginners guide to BI on my blog. I thought this would be a great way to tie all the resources I use and give you a good idea for an approach to BI projects. I am starting off with a question that needs to be answered.

    What is Business Intelligence About? Decisions of Course

    I often find myself in situations where I have to try and explain Business Intelligence. It’s not that easy to define BI in a universal definition that everyone agrees with. BI is as much a collection of technologies and principles as anything else.

    So here it goes,

    ‘Business Intelligence is about taking the guess work out of the decision making process.’

    That’s right it’s not about technology or a wonderful new process. It’s about the management decision making process that occurs in every business. To demonstrate this in more detail lets review what the Management Decision Making Process (MDMP) is about.

    The MDMP was introduced to me on my first data warehousing project by Peter Nolan the architect of the project. He took me through the concept of why you want to start a BI project in the first place. He posed a simple question, ‘How is Business?’

    There are four primary drivers that make up a cycle that form the MDMP. Consider each factor as deliverables forming a BI platform. The diagram below shows four primary drivers for the MDMP.

    Made an Investment – Every organization makes an investment either in a product or a service. The tracking of the investment is the first driver in the MDMP. For example a product stock keeping or a resource schedule report allows a compony to track its resources.

    What Happened? – The second driver covers the result of the investment. Did the investment payoff, did we make a sale? For example a sales report allows business to track the success of the investments.

    Why did it happen? – The third driver is to analyse the success of the investment. Organizations use OLAP analysis Ad-hoc reporting to drill down to the reasons for the performance.

    What if? – The fourth and final driver and the most difficult to implement. Organizations are constantly looking for new opportunities to invest, questions like; what is the impact of further investment? What if we gave 10% further discount? Looking for new opportunities with data mining and forecasting techniques helps answer this question.

    So how do you deliver MDMP?

    When starting a BI project you must set firm goals around the end deliverables. A great place to start is taking a single business process and mapping to the MDMP. (Selecting a business process is an entirely different subject for a blog.)

    Once a process has been selected a solid business case been derived using the MDMP. The four primary drivers of MDMP will allow you to set clear goals for delivery that the business can understand.

    SQL Server 2005 vs. MDMP

    Reviewing the SQL Server 2005 product against MDMP shows how much BI functionality Microsoft has release in the version. Below is a table showing the reporting functionality SQL Server 2005 has built into support the MDMP.


    Basing your BI project on the MDMP you have a common point of view across the business and technology requirements are key to delivering a successful project. For further information on the MDMP check out the resources below.


    Getting Started and Finishing Well By Peter Nolan

    Where is Peter?

    Beginners Guide to Business Intelligence: What is a Data Warehouse?

    Friday, August 19, 2005

    Download SQL Server 2005 now!

    Hello All,

    Again I am completely snowed under with work so I have not written any blogs since Monday.

    I am currently working on feature for this blog and I will have it out soon.

    Now is a good time as any to get started with SQL Server 2005. Download the current BETA CTP from

    Good Luck


    Friday, August 12, 2005

    What I am going to see at TechEd 05

    Hello All,

    Well its 17 days out to New Zealand TechEd 05 and I can’t wait.

    I know I have not blogged for a long while. This is due to work commitments and TechEd prep. I am still in the middle of a large Data warehouse project. It’s been running for the last 8 months and nearing completion.

    There are a few TechEd sessions I am really looking forward to seeing. I thought it would be a good idea to share them with you. Below are the key sessions I don’t want to miss.

    • BIN303 - Exploiting Data Mining in SQL Server 2005 - Richard Lees
    • BIN304 - SQL Server Integration Services: Deploying, Managing and Loading a Data Warehouse - Tony Bain
    • BIN310 - SQL Server 2005: End-to-End Part 3 (Analyze and Act) - Thierry D'Hers
    • DBA313 - Architecting a Large Scale Data Warehouse with SQL Server 2005 - Doug Barrett

    I haven’t listed the times here as the schedule may change for the latest TechEd schedule see:

    Bye for now.


    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    TechEd 05 Preparation – Project Real

    Hello All,

    While I am doing prep for TechED 05, I came across a couple of really good public links to project Real. For those of us that are going to be converting a lot of SQL 2000 Clients to 2005 it's on the 'must read list'.

    Check Out:

    Project REAL: Technical Overview

    Project REAL—Business Intelligence in Practice

    Happy Reading


    Monday, August 01, 2005

    News Group Post: Slowly Changing Dimensions Type 2

    Note: This is a response to a news group posting. Due to formatting problems I have reposted the response on my Blog. Don't worry I don’t intend this again.

    Rico asks how I can implement type 2 changes in a dimension.

    Hello Rico,

    Type 2 is relatively easy to implement, but it can be a pain for users to understand and use.

    Implementing Type 2

    Generally I use a set of standard flags to track the changes in the dimension. Each flag is used to determine the state of the record. I am assuming that you are using Surrogate keys in your dimensions and Fact tables.

    Date From – The date the record arrived in the dimension
    Date To – The date the record is deemed to be changed
    Current Flag – The State of the record Y or N

    With these flags you can track changes of the dimension at the lowest level such as employee changes.

    Employee Dimension

    You will have to come up with at change capture process. If you have type 1 deployed already it would be the same logic for identifying the changes, with the exception of updating old records and a creating new records in the dimension. Remember you will have to update your surrogate key lookup in you fact table build to load with the current dimension record. I.E. “WHERE Current Flag =’Y’ ”

    Implementing Type 2 without Flags

    To be honest I have not tried this method but it worth considering if your Business users have problems reporting using the Type 2 Flags. Rather than having one Employee Dimension create a series of mini dimensions against the fact table. This would allow you to track changes against the fact record instead of the Dimension.


    Employee Dim is broken into three new dimensions (Dim Manager, Dim Employee, and Dim Job Title) as shown in the diagrams below

    There is a HUGE draw back to this you end up a large amount of dimensions and a really wide fact table if you have to include a lot of them.

    Hope this gets you started.

    Myles Matheson
    Data Warehouse Architect

    Saturday, July 30, 2005

    TechEd 2005 Sessions Schedule

    Hello All,

    My Sessions have now been confirmed. Both sessions are on the last day of TechEd (Day 4: Wednesday 31st August)

    I am presenting the following sessions,

    9.00am - 10.15am Session 12

    Project REAL and Tips for Migrating from SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services to SQL Server 2005

    3.45pm - 5.00pm Session 16

    Ad Hoc Reporting with Report Builder: Extending the Capabilities of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services

    Check out the link below for the TechEd sessions schedule

    See you all there!


    Saturday, June 11, 2005

    TechEd 2005 – Auckland New Zealand

    Just a quick post to let you all know, that I am presenting two sessions on the next version of SQL Server 2005.

    I will be covering the advanced features of Report builder New in SQL Server 2005. Also I will be covering migration tips from Project REAL for migration of Analysis Services 2000 OLAP cubes to AS 2005.

    Once I have a confirmed schedule I will publish my session times.


    Friday, June 10, 2005

    SQL Server 2005 - Formally Known as Yukon

    Ok it’s been along wait; in fact it’s been a very long wait. To be truthful when I joined the Yukon Beta 1 program in the UK, I knew Yukon was special. SQL Server 2005 is jammed packed with new features with a large number around Business Intelligence.

    SQL Server 2005 is the first major release of the SQL server product line since SQL server 2000. Microsoft has reviewed the editions of SQL Server to provide cost effective solutions. Have a look at the following new editions for SQL Server 2005.

    SQL Server 2005 Features Comparison

    SQL Server 2005 is the only platform to offer end to end BI. From Extract, Transform, Load processes with Integration Services through to Information Delivery with Reporting Services and Report Builder. Not only will my development time decrease I will be able to deliver a cost effective solution without having to integrate multiple vendor products.

    I have put together are few links to help you get started.

    Get Ready for Microsoft SQL Server 2005

    SQL Server 2005 – Business Intelligence

    SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence Web Casts

    Monday, June 06, 2005

    Getting Started with DTS 2000

    Hello All,

    I thought it would be a good idea to list some useful sites for first time users of Microsoft SQL server 2000 DTS.

    Check out the following links. These will help you get started using
    DTS as an ETL development platform.

    DTS Tutorials

    The link below is a great overview of DTS designer

    DTS white papers

    DTS Programming Techniques Used in Microsoft SQL Server Accelerator for
    Business Intelligence

    Best Practices for Using DTS for Business Intelligence Solutions
    (updated web version)

    Good Luck,


    Sunday, June 05, 2005

    Hello World

    Hello All

    Welcome to my small part of the web. I have started this blog to share my thoughts on Business Intelligence and its applications using Microsoft Technologies primarily SQL server, and of course anything else that interest me.

    But first a bit about me.....

    I have been working in the field of Business Intelligence for the last seven years. During that time I have worked in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. My focus has been delivering BI solutions using SQL Server 2000. I have completed numerous projects across multiple industries. I am currently living back in New Zealand leading BI projects in Auckland.

    Mainly I hope to tie all the key web resources I use and publish my thoughts on the direction I am taking. Of course I want to hear what you are doing. I guess that’s the great thing about blogging everyone can have a say.

    So stay tuned,