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SQLBI - Marco Russo

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Microsoft BI Conference 2008 - announcements on stage

We’ve seen it on stage. It’s Excel on the steroids. I’m talking about “big announcement” here at Microsoft Business Intelligence Conference. The several announcements are:

·         Madison: the announcement of integration between SQL Server and DATAllegro, release expected within 1H 2010. Look at it if you have a datawarehouse of hudreds of Tb or more.

·         Kilimanjaro: a sort of “R2” version of SQL Server expected to be released within 1H 2010. It includes self-service analysis (project code Gemini) and self-service reporting

The most interesting part is of course the Gemini project. It’s a column-based in-memory storage that seems to be part of Analysis Services (not so much details by now) and that can be used locally with Excel (just like you can use local cubes, I believe). At the end, you have an add-in for Excel that allows you to build relationship between data coming from different sources and simply “pasted” into the model. No model design required. Relationships between data are inferred by the engine and the navigation tool provided in Excel is an evolution of the PivotTable that you can then publish in SharePoint. In a few words, Excel is the reporting tool of the future. Just like today, but much more powerful.

I would like to use this user interface with existing SSAS cubes – the user interface to filter data is so much better than today… It’s better to not show this thing to end user until it will be released – in the meantime, we have to look at what really does and what are the real limits of this approach. I suspect that data cleansing and more “traditional” BI solutions are not going to disappear, but this approach can integrate very well and satisfy customer needs that cannot afford a complete project lifecycle before it can be delivered. More details in the next few days…

Published Monday, October 6, 2008 8:50 PM by Marco Russo (SQLBI)
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Microsoft OLAP by Mosha Pasumansky said:

So there were two sets of announcements just made during Ted Kummert keynote. 1. Project “Madison” –

October 6, 2008 2:17 PM

James Luetkehoelter said:

I'm really skeptical of self-service BI. I can see this translating into islands of repetitive data, no better than everyone having their own spreadsheets on their personal shares. The places where MS is weak in BI is consumption (although the Proclarity aquisition improves things), data quality (it isn't really even discussed in training and documentation) and the concept of authoritative data (although the upcoming release of their MDM acquisition is a step in the right direction).

October 6, 2008 2:24 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:


another related announcement is the incoming integration with Zoomix (, that has been bought by Microsoft a few months ago. This is an important step to give data quality control features to business users. You already mentioned MDM as another part of the puzzle for the authoritative data issue.

The first of your point is the really pain for me too. Excel 2007 is not enough. Proclarity is not as modern as an advanced analysis tool should be today (lack of advanced graphical presentation is part of the problem). I would expect some improvement here with the next version of PerformancePoint, but today it was not mentioned here. I'm looking for some news about this too...

The Gemini project is interesting and potentially dangerous if not handled well. However, I think that it could be useful to cover all the needs that cannot justify a complete project lifecycle in the BI arena. There are a lot of them, many will not survive and some of them could be the root of a more complete and durable formalized project. I only hope that marketing will not turn this tool into a dangerous data warehouse project-killing feature. Despite all the contrary efforts, someone will surely approach it in this way.


October 6, 2008 3:52 PM

mosha said:

> Madison: the announcement of integration between SQL Server and DATAllegro, release expected within 1H 2010. Look at it if you have a datawarehouse of hundreds of Gb or more.

Marco, I think you have a typo, you probably wanted to say "Look at it if you have a datawarehouse of hundreds of Terabytes or more" :)

October 6, 2008 5:01 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

Thank you Mosha, I corrected the post! :)

October 6, 2008 6:37 PM
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About Marco Russo (SQLBI)

Marco Russo is a consultant, writer and trainer specialized in Business Intelligence with Microsoft technologies. He runs the SQLBI.COM website, which is dedicated to distribute resources useful for BI developers, like Integration Services components, Analysis Services models, tools, technical information and so on. Marco is certified as MCT, MCDBA, MCSD.NET, MCSA, MCSE+I.

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