New MSSQLDUDE Videos: SQL Inventory with MAPS and WP7 Cloud BI

If you would like a short 10-minute intro on how to get started using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAPS) to inventory, discovery and record your SQL Server footprint, versions, utilization, users, licenses, etc., then you can have a look at the video that I just posted on our Microsoft YouTube channel for SQL Server data warehouse & BI group here in the East Coast U.S. field organization: BTW, the MAPS tool is a FREE download from, see it here. This is version 6.5 of this tool and if you have any version prior to it, I suggest that you upgrade to it and run another SQL Server assessment on your network. This version of MAPS now has the awesome feature of virtualization discovery, proposal and recommendations built-in. This makes MAPS the premier SQL Server tool when consolidation your SQL Server environment.

And if you have a Windows Phone 7 and would like to see what a WP7 Mobile Cloud BI App would look like, take a look at this video that I just posted for our Microsoft field national DW & BI team:!. This describes the updated V2 improved version of the WP7 App for Microsoft Cloud BI on a mobile device which I described in my slide presentation here.

These are some of the BI data visualizations that you get out of the box with this WP7 app on your phone through the native app:



2011 End-of-year Microsoft BI Wrap-up

Welcome to the final week of 2011 everyone!

I have a couple of really quick loose ends to tie up here in the blogosphere for Microsoft Business Intelligence. Ever since Microsoft acquired Proclarity in 2006, they have shown a real commitment throughout the organization to business intelligence. Microsoft’s investments and focus on democratization of BI and BI for the masses has been a huge success, particularly with self-service for business decision makers and the decision to make BI accessible to Excel and business users.

So, that being said, there are just 3 topics that I want to close up on in my MSSQLDUDE blog this year:

  1. A few friends of mine here in the Microsoft SQL Server & BI field on the east coast here in the U.S. have started a YouTube channel where we are recording our monthly lunch ‘n learn sessions, with a focus on BI & DW:
  2. I have written about the new Enterprise Information Management (EIM) capabilities that SQL Server 2012 is exposing and expanding at blogs such as SearchSQLServer, MSSQLDUDE and SQL Pro BI Blog. I can remember pushing hard for data quality, MDM and expanding those capabilities into ETL through SSIS back in a series of meetings in Redmond in 2007. That is all coming into place now in the SQL Server product and coming to market finally. I wanted to point you all to a nice series of videos to explain how to get started with the DQS product coming in SQL Server 2012 to provide data quality services to your BI solutions here.
  3. Lastly, I wrote a quick blog with an intro to the new Silverlight Power View BI reporting and data exploration tool in SQL Server 2012 here. Unfortunately, the image links do not seem to be working, so I’ve included the thumbnails to th screenshots of Power View and the SharePoint BISM data connection page below. Notice the awesome Silverlight-based data visualizations that you can now generate out-of-the-box with Power View, which is part of SQL Server Reporting Service in SQL Server 2012. You can try this now, today, with the SQL Server 2012 RC0 download.

Happy New Year!!

Catching-up: Updated Goings-on in October

Sorry that I’ve been so busy lately, I have not yet had time to complete part 1 of my System Center series for SQL Server DBAs. I promise to have the SCOM section out this weekend.

I do want to point you all to 2 updating “goings-on” in my world:

  1. We are running a free 4 hour SQL Server 2008 R2 performance monitoring and tuning seminar sponsored by Sebastian Meine of SQLITY.NET on October 20 in our Malvern Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) here in the Philly burbs. You can register for that free event here.
  2. And I finally got around to complete a new SQL Server Magazine BI Blog post today focused on the SQL Server Denali CTP3 release of SSIS, demonstrating the new version control features here.
  3. I am finalizing my demos and presentations for Philly Code Camp on October 15. You can register here, it is FREE and lots & lots of training on .NET technologies and we have BI & SQL Server tracks. This is the 3rd update to my series on leveraging Silverlight in Microsoft BI to make cool visualizations and dashboards. Code Camp is one of my favorite events of all-time, I always have a great time at these events. I also will update my presentation and demos and post those next week, just prior to the event.


Philly Code Camp 2011.1: BI Visualizations

Many thanks to all who came out on a beautiful spring Saturday here in Philly for the 1st of 2 Code Camps in 2011!

First – many special thanks to Bill Wolff and the gang @ the Philly.NET user group. What a tremendous job these guys do and the work that they put into the UG and Code Camp is amazing.

Second – Here is the link to my presentation on Microsoft BI data visualizations. There are links embedded in the slides that also point you to some of the demos that I showed around the Data Connector for GIS visualizations, PivotViewer for sorting through large data sets and Silverlight binding.

Here are a few more links to help with the demos and code that we reviewed yesterday:

  1. Using ADOMD to connect to MDX data sources like SSAS
  2. Here is the Silverlight 1.0 pie control that I demo’d which you will want to upgrade for Silverlight 4.0 and modify for your own needs in Expression Blend
  3. The 3rd party vendors to look @ for the Silverlight controls to include in your solution that I mentioned are Telerik, Infragistics, ComponentOne, Neudesic and Visifire
  4. My blog for using cloud and mobile BI is part of a series that I am running in SQL Magazine’s BI Blog

You can use the comments section if you have further questions or would like more material. Thanks! Mark

SQL Saturday Philly: Silverlight BI

Thanks for to who were able to attend my talk this past Saturday at SQL Saturday Philadelphia on Microsoft BI Silverlight Dashboards. I had a great time and hope that you did, too.

If I missed anything here in this blog or post-session follow-up, please use this thread to ask your questions and we can discuss openly here. Or you can always reach out to me directly.

You can grab the presentation that I used here. And if you would like copies of the Silverlight code for the 1.0 MEC controls from the Microsoft Enteprise Cube project, I made a few of them available here previously. I am working on also making available the Silverlight map and pie chart, too. So keep checking back here to my MSSQLDUDE blog for those updates.

BTW, I promised a link to Silverlight support on the MAC, so here it is

And whenever I give this talk, I like to point you to Bart Czernicki’s book Silverlight BI. My opinion is that for using Silverlight with Microsoft BI, it is the definitive guide out there.

Best wishes, Mark

More on Microsoft Silverlight Business Intelligence

I have highlighted Bart Czernicki’s book on using Silverlight for Microsoft BI in a few of my blogs and presentations in the past. He is out with a Silverlight 4.0 version for Microsoft  Business Intelligence. You can go to his site here. It is an excellent book that I used recently in building out some next-gen dashboard prototypes for customers. I used some of the techniques in a presentation that I did for the NYC SQL Saturday in November.

Those that follow my blogging here and at the SQL Magazine BI blog will know that I lead a solution product at Microsoft a few years ago called Microsoft Enterprise Cube (MEC) where we highlighted RIA UIs, Silverlight, pre-built analytics and ETL and other areas necessary to have a “packaged BI” offering. When I left for Oracle after that project dried up, many of those same concepts were put into Oracle’s “BI Applications” like Project Analytics and P6 Analytics.

But it is heartening to see some of the assets and concepts still interest people and still exist today. I previously posted some of the original Silverlight 1.0 XAML from MEC concept screens and other concepts like the ETL Toolkit expanded over the years. Bart’s book had this to say about those efforts:

Microsoft Enterprise Cube (MEC), which is the epitome of BI 2.0

I think that’s true, although I think that generic Microsoft SharePoint 2010 with SQL Server utilize Fast Search and SharePoint’s messaging capabilities with PerformancePoint Services 2010 probably gets you close to that same point now today. There are Microsoft partners that can do a lot of the same things that MEC was intended to do. Having a pre-built set of ETL, analytics, data models, dashboards and cool RIA UIs can help accelerate time to market and quicken ROI, but it is not necessary, which is probably one of the reasons that products like MEC did not survive as a Microsoft SKU.

Silverlight Map Controls for Microsoft BI

Just up with latest post on SQL Mag BI blog to complete the series on Silverlight for Microsoft BI here. It’s a final part of the series that Derek and I worked on to show Silverlight, mobile apps and other cool ways to visualize your Microsoft BI solutions and make them more compelling. Check it out, enjoy and send me your feedback & comments! Thanks, Mark