Goodbye Datazen, Hello Mobile Reports

24 hours ago I noticed CTP 3.2 being mentioned on MSDN and the download center.
A couple of hours ago it was released, AND HOW!

As we’re used by now, the SQL Server team has made a huge effort.
Get a jump start on all the new features here:

The real treat, and the subject of this blog post, lies in the integration of Datazen into SQL Server Reporting Services.


Mobile Reports released

I’m going to be very brief on this subject because it’s all still very new and I’m sure you want to get started yourself!

The workflow for mobile reports currently boils down to:

  • Authoring of reports in the SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher
  • Publish to on-premises SSRS
  • Consume in Power BI Mobile app

There’s even a new SSRS web portal which you might recognize if you ever used Datazen!

SQL-Server-Reporting-Services-web-portal[1]

For comparison, here’s the Datazen portal.

Datazen

Do you see what Microsoft did?
Perfect integration of Datazen into Reporting Services!
We even notice the differentiation being made between KPI’s, mobile reports and paginated reports.


Start your own Mobile Reporting!

  1. Get SQL Server CTP 3.2 over at the evaluation center.
  2. And get the CTP 3.2 downloads like Report Builder from the download center.
  3. While those are downloading, read up on

There is some sad news however, the Mobile Report Publisher is not available yet.
It is planned for the end of december.

IC840421[1]

Crucial step: Remember to provide Microsoft with a lot of feedback so they can improve the area’s that you think are not up to par yet.


Completion of the Microsoft BI Roadmap

If you’re wondering what the BI roadmap looks like, quickly check this blog post from almost 2 months ago!

After you’ve looked at the road map, you too will notice that this release is a huge leap for SQL Server. The on-premises BI stack now seems to be feature “complete”.
We already had

  • Spreadsheets (excel)
  • Paginated reports (SSRS)
  • Interactive reports (Power BI Desktop)

And we now also received Mobile Reports integrated in SQL Server!

The best thing probably is that your users can enjoy Mobile Reports and Power BI reports in one and the same app. This ensures that they will have the same experience and makes it a bit easier to manage for IT.

 

What are your thoughts on this course for Mobile Reporting in SQL Server?
Were you expecting something different from the Datazen integration?
Let me know in the comments or via twitter!

 

Did bits of SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2 just leak?

Update: CTP 3.2 now really has been released! I highlighted the greatest new feature for you over here


Only 2 weeks after SQL Server CTP 3.1 and there’s already bits of SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2 to be found on MSDN. For example, MSDN had this update on several SQL Server 2016 pages

MSDN SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.2

The page for the december update (CTP 3.2) is also already eagerly waiting for us

What's new in December Update

Sadly enough, for now, we get greeted by this headline

What's new in December Update 2

At the time of this writing the new image wasn’t available (anymore?) in Azure and there was no CTP 3.2 available for download from the Evaluation Center.

All the fancy downloads like Report Builder for CTP 3.2 etc are already available however!


I’m sure that we’re all dreaming about all the cool new features that Microsoft is going to release! After having seen R integration, will we now see Datazen integration? Will we already see improvements to R Services?

It will probably be another 2 weeks before CTP 3.2 is actually released.
If you’re like me, you’ll be regularly watching MSDN documentation for spoilers on the new features!

Until then, enjoy these SQL Server 2016 resources:


Got thoughts, information or just an opinion to share?
Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

Data science with Microsoft – Personal BI to Personal Data Science

How do you go from Personal BI to Personal Data Science?
Isn’t Data Science only for those rare unicorns that are smarter than most of us combined?
Can we even democratize Data Science within the enterprise?Personal BI & Data Science

Kimberly Hermans (twitter) and I presented on this topic last week, the 27th of November, at the Microsoft UK office. Jen Stirrup (blog | twitter) had organized a great event for the community there: “Data Culture Day London – Power BI Edition“.

This is a write-up of the presentation “Personal BI to Personal Data Science”, hopefully it will make you want to attend the presentation.
Currently you can still attend it at the next SQL Server Usergroup event in Belgium on the 8th of December.
After that date, take a look at my calendar to see if I’m delivering this session somewhere else.

Read on!

Read more

Data science with Microsoft – Training materials

Today I’ll be guiding you through the, sometimes very busy, world of Microsoft training material.
We’ll put the focus on the training material for data science.

Expect everything you need to become fluent with Microsoft’s Data science solutions.

  • Free training courses with certificates
  • Free webinars & recordings of live sessions
  • Free (e-)books
  • Documentation & Learning Paths
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy

Read on for the good stuff!

Read more

Data science with Microsoft – An introduction

Let’s be honest, Microsoft isn’t a name that would traditionally be associated with data science.
But just as we’ve witnessed in other areas, they have quickly caught up!

in the last year we’ve seen the following appear on the Microsoft Data Science radar:

  • Azure Machine Learning
  • Power BI
  • Cortana Analytics Suite
  • Acquisition of Datazen & Revolution Analytics
  • Integration of R in SQL Server

Looking at it like this, it’s just a list like any other. Not even a big list.
The magic happens when we look at what this means for the developers, consultants and ultimately the business.


Azure Machine Learning

We now have the ability to create AND deploy predictive models in minutes using Azure Machine Learning.

AzureMachineLearning2 AzureMachineLearning

This opens up interesting possibilities where we can send data from SQL Server, a SQL Azure Database or just live from a mobile application or excel to gain insights


Power BI

If you still need an introduction to Power BI then you’re doing something wrong.
Contact me on twitter, LinkedIn or via the comments.
I’ll gladly talk you through Power BI and why you should be using it for almost everything you do with data in your company.
I mean that, get in touch with me. Now! 🙂

But on a more serious note, I’m going to be crude to Microsoft here.
A long time ago, Power BI started as an over-hyped and underwhelming experience. Everyone saw the potential this Excel stuff had but I’m guessing the experience most people had was similar to mine. That is, Power BI back then was a disappointment because of what we were expecting.
The one good thing it did have at one point was PowerPivot.

Skip forward to august 2015.
The Power BI dream had suddenly come true!
Most of the things we were expecting in the past suddenly were there, in a web service AND a desktop application.
AMAZING!

Skip forward 3 more months and Power BI has exceeded our wildest dreams.
I could literally fill books with all the great stuff the Power BI team has done and enabled for the community.
The Power BI API, a plugin for PowerPoint, custom visualizations, support on all devices, enterprise ready and a lot more all combined with a CRAZY pace of new releases!

If you haven’t used Power BI yet, skip all the praise and commercial talk, go download the desktop application and start working with it. Soon you’ll be an Power BI evangelist as well 😉

custom-visualizations-same-page-100622406-primary.idge[1]


Cortana Analytics Suite

If I had to summarize Cortana Analytics for anyone, I’d say it is basically Azure Machine Learning for predictive analytics combined with Power BI for a beautiful presentation of your data. And sprinkled on top are some of the most incredible and integrated services you can dream of.

Cortana Analytics is not really a product, it’s more a combination of several services that work really great together and form a solution to your questions.
It enables different scenario’s for any case you can think of.

Whether you have a scenario with real-time data analytics, (real-time) predictive analytics or you’re just in need of a data lake to fill with your data for analysis, Cortana Analytics is where you need to be.

This picture from Microsoft summarizes the Cortana Analytics Suite the best.
It shows you how different tools fit different purposes in the chain from data to insight to action.

Cortana-Analytics-Suite[1]


Acquisition of Datazen & Revolutions Analytics

Not much to say except: WOW!
I bet I’m not the only one who did not see both of these coming.

Datazen was already known for it’s mobile dashboarding solutions. It’s acquisition could only mean something big was coming for on-premises BI.
And it did, Microsoft announced at PASS Summit 2015 that Datazen would basically be integrated with SSRS to provide an outstanding mobile BI solution for those who must stay on-premises.

Revolution Analytics was widely known in the world of the R programming language.
Where R standard is limited to a single machine and the memory that machine has, Revolution Analytics provided a scalable solution.
How cool is that? So cool that Microsoft wanted it integrated in SQL Server 2016!
I’m sure that the R services in SQL Server 2016 are just a starting point. But imagine the possibilities from a data science perspective when you combine this with the columnstore and in-memory technologies.

splash[1] architecture[1]

Integration of R in SQL Server

This isn’t just R in SQL Server, it’s an implementation of Revolution R Enterprise in SQL Server!

No longer do you have to pull data to your developer machine, data can just stay in the database where it should be.
Combine this with columnstore indexes and the in-memory technology and you know that the data scientists are now drooling.
2015-05-14_22-39-58


Summary

Microsoft has improved so much in the last year, it’s as if it’s a whole new company.
Data professionals are getting a lot of shiny new toys and can expect a lot more solutions to be build end to end on a Microsoft platform.
Whether that platform is on-premises or in the cloud is up to the business to decide.

Data science is no longer unknown territory for people who work with SQL Server, it’s already on our doorstep.
On top of that, Microsoft’s Cortana Analytics solution offers incredible value and an ease of use I’ve never seen before with something like this.
It took me only an hour to set up a solution that parsed real-time sensor data, combined it with reference data in a database and then show it on a Power BI dashboard.

One thing is sure, you can expect some interesting blog posts in the feature.
Not only from myself but the entire SQL Server community!

When you’re ready, move on to this list of training materials I compiled for you. Let’s get started!

Couldn’t attend PASS Summit 2015?

I’ve included the 3 sessions that I think will have the biggest impact on your daily work.
There are 19 sessions in total for you to enjoy, thanks to PASS.
So let’s watch some recorded sessions!

Read on to

  • See the worst performance tuning techniques
  • Learn how to reduce the impact of BI Workloads on your database
  • Learn some new techniques in SSRS

    Read more

Microsoft Foundation Sessions at PASS Summit 2015

This years PASS Summit has seen some of the biggest announcements in SQL Server and Microsoft Business Intelligence history.

  • We’ve finally gotten a clear vision where Microsoft is heading.
    And it even makes sense!
  • Microsoft already was the leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems
    But SQL Server 2016 will bring even more improvements.
  • In the past year, Power BI has gone from “OK” to “Nice” to “Wooooooooow“.
    With all the new announcements, it seems like Microsoft is not even taking it’s foot of the throttle.
  • Cortana Analytics Suite is Microsoft’s way to help you get insight and take action on your data.
    It’s basically everything you need for your Data Science scenario’s.

Below are some Microsoft Foundation sessions from the PASS Summit that talk about these products and what you can expect from them, now and in the future.

If you’re interested in just a list of features, check out Chris Webb’s blog post about the announcements.


Business Intelligence


Advanced Analytics


Big Data and Data Warehousing


Developing Modern Applications on Azure

 


Video’s via http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2015/PASStv/Microsoft.aspx

Microsoft’s Vision for BI Reporting

Watch out everyone, here comes Microsoft’s vision for the future of BI Reporting!
Straight from the PASS Summit 2015, thanks to several people on twitter kind enough to share.

From On-premises to Cloud solutions, the vision is complete starting right now!


In other news, SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0 has been announced.
Not only is it feature complete and amazing, it will just change the way we look at business intelligence.
Read more about it on the official blog and some more in this official post.

UPDATE:


Clicking below picture opens them in full size, for the last 2 it’s very useful because of the quality.
CloudandOnPremSolutions

MicrosoftProvidesCompleteSolution

TheFourMicrosoftBIREportTypes

This last picture is a bit blurry, but those who know the platform can discern the complete picture.

From creating Analytical and Power BI reports, to Mobile and Paginated reports.
It will all be manageable in the cloud on PowerBI.com or on-premises in Reporting Services.
And of course, the journey ends when the end user opens the reports on PowerBI.com, his mobile device or the corporate SharePoint.

VisionForMSBIReporting

 

SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.4 is here!

Microsoft is a busy bee these days… Providing all the updates we actually want and need!
Today there was another great release for the Power BI Service.
And more importantly, a HUGE release called SQL Server 2016 2.4!

This includes a long awaited feature for SSRS and an incredible improvement for analytic workloads.


A quick overview of what you can play with:

General

  • Some sad news for people with old machines: x86 server support is now deprecated!
  • Smart Maintenance Plans
  • Tempdb now has improved scalability

SSRS

  • Export reports to PowerPoint!
  • Position report parameters the way you want
  • Print reports from modern browsers
  • Even better support for new browsers
    • Like no requirement for ActiveX to print reports

SSRSPowerPointExport

Read more details about the Reporting Services changes in this post at the official SSRS blog.

SSIS

  • Excel 2013 finally made the cut as a source and destination
    • Now we wait for Excel 2016 🙂
  • Complex data feeds including Data Streaming destination!
  • oData v4 source support in addition to oData v3
  • Balanced Data Distributor
  • AlwaysOn support

Operational Analytics and In-Memory Data Warehouse

  • Updateable NonClustered Columnstore Indexes, but they no longer need an index rebuild!
  • Parallel building of these NonClustered Columnstore Indexes.
  • Increased speed for insert operations on delta Rowgroups
  • And of course improvede query performance using these NonClustered Columnstore Indexes

Read the official post with more in depth information here

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