Chris Webb's BI Blog

Analysis Services, MDX, PowerPivot, DAX and anything BI-related

Archive for December 2006

Second Blog Birthday

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Today is my blog’s second birthday; two years is pretty ancient in blog years I think. Thanks everyone for sticking with me this long!

Professionally, this year has seen a lot of changes for me: I’ve left the world of permie work and set up my own company, been made an MVP and seen my name on the front cover of a book for the first time. Working as a freelancer has certainly provided me with a lot of good material for this blog (watch out for some interesting stuff on cache warming and query parallelism in the next few weeks) even if it’s meant I’ve had much less time to write it up; the blog has, in turn, proved to be a good source of advertising for my consultancy work. I’m really enjoying myself at the moment – I hope 2007 is as good as 2006 has been.

Resolutions for next year:

  • Post more on the Analysis Services MSDN Forum and microsoft.public.sqlserver.olap. I’ve been a bit slack over the last few months.
  • Get myself some of these new BI certifications that have come out.
  • Stretch myself more, technically. It’s too easy to stick around in my Analysis Services comfort zone. I need to improve my SSIS and C# skills for instance.
  • Get into PerformancePoint.
  • Lose weight. I was with a customer a few weeks ago and one of the guys there remarked that I looked older and fatter than I did in the picture on my blog (what Jon calls my ‘BI in the Jungle’ picture), although I looked thinner than the last time he’d seen me earlier in the year. Hmm, this is the result of working from home and not getting enough exercise.
  • Keep having fun…

Written by Chris Webb

December 30, 2006 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

SP2 CTP3

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SP2 CTP3 is now available for download here:
 
Unlike previous experience with service packs where I didn’t notice any of the promised performance improvements, I have seen some big differences in performance between SP1 and the SP2 CTP I’ve been running, particularly around YTD calculations and the optimisation that Mosha blogged about here:

Written by Chris Webb

December 21, 2006 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Analysis Services

Santa Dashboard

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More Xmas silliness from the people at DSPanel:
“Running a large scale operation where time to market is extremely important makes having the right information at the right time highly valuable. With a very fast implementation, quickly understanding the critical issues and underlying business models, DSP has been instrumental in ensuring a successful Christmas of 2006 and also ensured that the demands put upon the organisation by Sarbanes-Oxely has been met.”

Santa Claus, Director of christmas joy and happiness

Written by Chris Webb

December 19, 2006 at 8:40 am

Posted in Off-topic

Deployment Wizard Bug

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The Deployment Wizard is meant to allow you to deploy a project from BIDS but not overwrite certain parts of the associated Analysis Services database. Examples of things you’d not want to overwrite on the server include partitions, connection strings and security settings. However once I started actually using this functionality with my customers over the last few months I came across (or rather was informed of by one of said customers and was able to repro with others) a pretty major bug: when you select the ‘Retain Roles and Members’ option to not overwrite any of the security roles, while it does indeed not overwrite any of the roles it sets cube access in all of them to None and this in turn loses all the dimension security settings defined on the roles. So, be warned… it’s with PSS at the moment but I’m told it probably won’t be fixed in SP2.

UPDATE: I haven’t tested this myself, but according to Dan English this has been fixed in AS2008:
http://denglishbi.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!CD3E77E793DF6178!490.entry

Written by Chris Webb

December 16, 2006 at 9:49 pm

Posted in Analysis Services

The Twelve Days of a BI Project

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Here’s a Yuletide song for you and your colleagues to sing (to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas", if you haven’t guessed already) before you disappear down the pub for an important offsite meeting this Christmas:

On the first day of work my consultants gave to me
A bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the second day of work my consultants gave to me
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the third day of work my consultants gave to me
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the fourth day of work my consultants gave to me
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the fifth day of work my consultants gave to me
SQL 2005,
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the sixth day of work my consultants gave to me
Six star schemas,
SQL 2005,
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the seventh day of work my consultants gave to me
Seven ETL jobs,
Six star schemas,
SQL 2005,
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the eighth day of work my consultants gave to me
Eight UDMs,
Seven ETL jobs,
Six star schemas,
SQL 2005,
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the ninth day of work my consultants gave to me
Nine slow reports,
Eight UDMs,
Seven ETL jobs,
Six star schemas,
SQL 2005,
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the tenth day of work my consultants gave to me
Ten lame excuses,
Nine slow reports,
Eight UDMs,
Seven ETL jobs,
Six star schemas,
SQL 2005,
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the eleventh day of work my consultants gave to me
Eleven hotfixes,
Ten lame excuses,
Nine slow reports,
Eight UDMs,
Seven ETL jobs,
Six star schemas,
SQL 2005,
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

On the twelfth day of work my consultants gave to me
Twelve angry users,
Eleven hotfixes,
Ten lame excuses,
Nine slow reports,
Eight UDMs,
Seven ETL jobs,
Six star schemas,
SQL 2005,
Four Gb of RAM,
Three servers,
Two project plans
And a bill for their exorbitant fees.

Written by Chris Webb

December 16, 2006 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Off-topic

PerformancePoint CTP

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I was away last week, so I missed the news that the first CTP of PerformancePoint was available for download from Connect. Since the world and his dog have subsequently blogged about it I haven’t bothered until now; I have to admit that I’ve not got round to downloading or installing it yet either (though it will be providing me with justification for buying a new server to install it on in the sales). Other bloggers like Patrick Husting, Charlie Maitland and Ian Tien are probably better bets for the latest news in this area. I’m a little bit suspicious of the amount of hype surrounding it too… hmm, well, we’ll see what it’s like next summer.

Written by Chris Webb

December 13, 2006 at 5:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

FORMAT_STRING derivation

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If you’ve ever wondered (as I have, on occasion) why the FORMAT_STRING property of a calculation is sometimes inherited from whatever measure you’re using inside your calculation and sometimes not, here’s a short KB article describing the rules that are applied:

Written by Chris Webb

December 11, 2006 at 1:17 pm

Posted in MDX

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