Microsoft Sql Web Server 2008 R2 Business Intelligence Advancement Workshop Tutorial – SQL Server 2008 R2 is Microsoft’s latest version of its business relational database and business intelligence (BI) platform, and it builds on the foundation of functionality established by SQL Server 2008. However, despite the R2 moniker, Microsoft has added many sets. of new features for SQL Server 2008 R2. While the new BI and PowerPivot self-service support have gotten a lot of attention, SQL Server 2008 R2 includes several other important enhancements. In this article, we will look at the most important new features in SQL Server 2008 R2.
Some of the biggest changes with the R2 version of SQL Server 2008 are the new releases that Microsoft has added to the SQL Server lineup. SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition has been added to the list of related database products and brings SQL Server product versions in line with Windows Server product versions, including its Datacenter Edition. SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition provides support for systems with up to 256 processor cores. In addition, it offers multi-server management and a new event processing technology called StreamInsight. (I will cover multi-server management with StreamInsight in more detail later in this article.)
Microsoft Sql Web Server 2008 R2 Business Intelligence Advancement Workshop Tutorial
Another new version of SQL Server 2008 R2 is the Parallel Data Warehouse Edition. Parallels Data Warehouse Edition, formerly called Madison, is a different beast than the other SQL Server 2008 R2 editions. It is designed as a plug-and-play solution for large data warehouses. It is a combination of hardware and software that is available through select OEMs such as HP, Dell, and IBM. OEMs provide and pre-configure all hardware, including storage to support data warehouse operations. The Parallel Data Warehouse Edition uses a distributed Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) architecture to support data warehouses from 10TB to hundreds of terabytes in size. As optimization is required, additional compute and storage nodes can be added to the data warehouse.
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As you might expect, Parallels Data Warehouse Edition is integrated with SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). For more information about SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse Edition, see “Getting Started with Parallel Data Warehouse,” June 2010.
More information about SQL Server 2008 R2 editions, their prices, and the features they support can be found in Table 1. SQL Server 2008 R2 supports upgrades from SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2005, and SQL Server 2000.
On the hardware side, SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition now supports systems with up to 64 physical processors and 256 cores. This support enables greater optimization in the x64 line than ever before. SQL Server 2008 R2 Business Edition supports up to 64 processors, and Standard Edition supports up to four processors.
It is worth noting that SQL Server 2008 R2 remains one of the few Microsoft server platforms still available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. I expect that this will be the last 32-bit version of SQL Server that Microsoft releases.
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Of course, the most heralded new feature in SQL Server 2008 R2 is PowerPivot and self-service BI. PowerPivot for SQL Server 2008 R2 for Excel (formerly Gemini) is essentially an Excel add-in that brings the SSAS engine to Excel. It adds powerful data analysis capabilities to Excel, the ultimate data analysis tool that knowledge workers know and use every day. Built-in data compression enables PowerPivot for Excel to work with millions of rows and still provide subsecond response times. As you might expect, PowerPivot for Excel can connect to SQL Server 2008 databases, but it can also connect to earlier versions of SQL Server as well as other data sources, including Oracle and Teradata, and even SSRS reports. In addition to its data manipulation capabilities, PowerPivot for Excel also includes a new cube-oriented calculation language called Data Analysis Expressions (DAX), which extends the data analysis capabilities of Excel with the multidimensional capabilities of the MDX language. Figure 1 shows the new PowerPivot add-in for Excel being used to create a PowerPivot chart and PowerPivot table for data analysis.
PowerPivot for SharePoint enables the sharing, collaboration, and management of PowerPivot worksheets. From an IT perspective, the most important feature that PowerPivot for SharePoint offers is the ability to store and manage business-critical Excel worksheets. This functionality addresses a major hole that plagues many businesses today. Important business information is often kept in masses of Excel spreadsheets, and unlike business software databases, in most cases these spreadsheets are not managed and often not stored or protected in any way. If they are accidentally deleted or corrupted, there are business consequences that IT can’t do anything about. Using SharePoint as a central storage and collaboration point makes it easy to share these important Excel spreadsheets, but perhaps more importantly, it provides a central storage location where these important Excel spreadsheets can be managed and supported by IT, providing the organization with a safety net for these documents that they didn’t exist before. PowerPivot for SharePoint is supported by SQL Server 2008 R2 Business Edition and later.
As you might expect, PowerPivot’s new functionality and self-service BI features require the latest versions of each product: SQL Server 2008 R2, Office 2010, and SharePoint 2010. You can learn more about PowerPivot and download it from www.powerpivot. com.
Some of the most important additions to SQL Server 2008 R2 on the relational database side are new multi-server management capabilities. Before SQL Server 2008 R2, the multi-server management capabilities in SQL Server were limited. Sure, you could add multiple servers to SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), but there wasn’t a good way to perform similar tasks on multiple servers or manage multiple servers as a group. SQL Server 2008 R2 includes a new Utility Browser, which is part of SSMS, to meet this need. Utility Explorer allows you to create a SQL Server Service Control Panel where you can list multiple SQL Server instances to be managed, as shown in Figure 2. Utility Explorer can manage up to 25 SQL Server instances.
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Utility Explorer displays integrated performance, capability, and property information for all registered servers. However, only SQL Server 2008 R2 instances can be managed by the previous version; support for earlier versions of SQL Server is expected to be added with the first service pack. Note that multi-server management is only available in SQL Server 2008 R2 Business Edition and Datacenter Edition. You can find out more about multi-server management at www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/R2-multi-server.aspx.
Master Data Services may be the most underrated feature in SQL Server 2008 R2. It provides a platform that allows you to create a central definition of all the different data sources in your organization. Almost all large enterprises have various databases used by different applications and business units. These databases have different layouts and different data meanings for data that is often the same. This creates a problem because there is no single version of the truth across the business, and businesses almost always want to bring disparate data together for centralized reporting, data analysis and data mining.
Master Data Services gives you the ability to create a master data definition for the business to map and transform data from all the different date sources into that master data repository. You can use Master Data Services to act as a data center for an organization, where it can serve as an authoritative source of business data. Master Data Services can be managed using a web client, and provides a workflow that can notify assigned data owners of any data breach. Master Data Services is available in SQL Server 2008 R2 Business Edition and Datacenter Edition. Learn more about Master Data Services at www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/mds.aspx.
StreamInsight is a real-time event monitoring and processing system. It is designed to process thousands of events per second, selecting and writing important data to a SQL Server database. This type of high-volume event processing is designed to process manufacturing data, medical data, stock exchange data, or other types of process control data streams where your organization wants to capture real-time data segments for data mining or reporting.
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StreamInsight is a software system and does not have a graphical interface. Available only in SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition. You can read more about SQL Server 2008 R2’s StreamInsight technology at www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/R2-complex-event.aspx.
Not all businesses jump into the analytics side of BI, but almost everyone has jumped on the SSRS train. With SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft has released a new update to the SSRS Report Builder section. Report Builder 3.0 (shown in Figure 3) offers several improvements.
Like Report Builder 2.0, it sports an Office Ribbon interface. You can include geographic data in your reports using the new Map Wizard, and Report Builder 3.0 includes support for adding columns and data bars to your reports so that queries can be reused across multiple reports. In addition, you can create Shared Datasets and Report Fields that are reusable report objects stored
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