Blog

  • SQL Server Art using Spatial Data

    This post follows on from an earlier post on drawing with SQL Server, and explains how to create much more complex drawings using a couple of neat tricks and SQL Server spatial data. Firstly, apologies to those at my session at SQL Bits to whom I promised this blog post, I did say I’d try and get it posted in a week, and it’s been a month – but it’s here now! So, what are we trying to do? In my earlier post I demonstrated…

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  • SQLBits 8 in Photos

    Well what a few days. Everyone I spoke to agreed that SQLBits 8 has been the best SQLBits conference yet. The organisers did a fantastic job, the whole event seemed to run incredibly smoothly and was very well received. I’m sure there’s a certain element of the swan effect, with frantic paddling behind the scenes, but they pulled it off very well indeed. A massive thanks for all of your effort. For me, this was the first SQLBits…

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  • Drawing a logo or diagram using SQL spatial data

    I have to admit that I’m really excited about presenting a session at SQLBits 8 in Brighton next week. I’ve been an avid supporter of SQLBits since the first conference that I attended (SQLBits 2), and am thoroughly looking forward to finally getting a chance to be a part of the event and presenting my own session. If you’re going, I hope to see you there!   My session is about using SSRS, SQL spatial data and DMVs to visualise SSAS…

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  • SQL Server User Group – Birmingham

    It’s only a week to go until the first Midlands SQL Server User Group, being held on March 10th 2011 at the Old Joint Stock pub in Birmingham. We’ve got two of the best speakers in the UK lined up, Allan Mitchell and Neil Hambly, we’re putting food on for you (pork pies and chip butties!) and it’s being held in a pub so beer will also be involved. SQL Server, pork pies and beer – all in one place?! Go on, how can…

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  • Speed up SSIS by using a slower query

    This isn’t a technical blog post of my own, but a shout out to Rob Farley and an excellent blog post explaining how to use SQL’s OPTION (FAST x) hint. He explains how you can speed up an SSIS data flow by slowing down the source query. It may seem illogical at first, but you’ll understand after you go and read Rob’s post! Read Rob’s post here: Speeding up SSIS using OPTION (FAST)

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  • Debug MDX queries using Drillthrough in SSMS

    One of the great features of using Excel to browse an SSAS OLAP cube is the drillthrough ability. If you double click on any cell of an OLAP pivot table, Excel will create a new worksheet containing the top 1000 fact records that went to make up the figure in the selected cell. N.B. The limit of 1000 rows can be altered, as per one of my previous blog posts here. This feature is pretty well known, but not many folk realise how easy it is to…

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  • How to add calculations in SSAS cubes

    One of the most useful aspects of a Business Intelligence system is the ability to add calculations to create new measures. This centralises the logic of the calculation into a single place, ensuring consistency and standardisation across the user base. By way of example, a simple calculation for profit (Income – Expenditure) wouldn’t be provided by the source database and historically would be implemented in each and every report. In a data…

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  • Forecasting the Performance of SSIS packages

    SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) packages are used in numerous scenarios for moving data from A to B. Often they are developed and tested against a cutdown, often static, subset of data. One of the problems with this is that yes you’re testing the functionality of the package as it’s being developed, but there’s no way to determine whether the performance will scale up to a full size production environment. This level of testing is…

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  • Deploying MDX calculation scripts with xmla

    If you’re a Business Intelligence developer I assume you have BIDS Helper installed. If not then stop reading this post and go and install it. Now. It adds a number of very useful features to the Business Intelligence Development Studio which provide help with many aspects of SSIS, SSRS and SSAS development. One of my favourite utilities is the Deploy MDX Script function. This takes the calculation script for an SSAS cube (named sets,…

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  • Business Intelligence in the Cloud

    The Cloud is pretty much top of the list of the corporate buzzword bingo phrases at the moment. It's clear what the benefits are from a SAAS perspective, but it's been less clear how the Business Intelligence world will start to make use of it.

    Data Warehousing, Management Information, Cubes, Data Mining etc. all involve a lot of data, usually gigabytes or terrabytes even for medium sized organisations. Internet connectivity (speed and…

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