Here’s why I’m travelling 4735 miles to go to SQLRally Dallas!

I’m hugely honoured to be speaking at SQLRally Dallas on Friday May 11th. My subject is ‘Business Intelligence and Azure: SSIS and SSRS Focus’ and I’ll be doing a demo which shows, ‘end to end’, how we can take some data, load it into the cloud usng SSIS, and then review it in SSRS. 

The whole Schedule is here so I hope you’ll think about coming along! There is an awesome list of speakers, and you can find the full Twitter list here

Now, I’ll be travelling 4735.87 miles – or 4112.63 nautical miles – or 7621.65 kilometres to travel from London to Dallas. I’ve never been to Dallas before, so I must admit that I’m nervous. I’m looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones!

However, I’m travelling all that way to see my SQLFamily. I love being part of the SQLPass community. So if it is your first time at SQLRally – please come and say ‘hi’! I’ve never been to Dallas before, so I’m new too! Please make sure to say ‘hi’ at the Community Corner. 

I attended SQLRally Nordic last year in Stockholm, Sweden, and it was just an immense experience. It felt like home since there were so many people there, who were passionate about all and any aspect of SQL Server, and I would love to go again. At SQLRally Nordic, I unleashed my inner Viking. In Dallas, I’ll unleash my inner Texan, and I’m looking forward to joining in all the community fun!

There’s a serious side to SQLRally too. There’s a range of real experts, willing to share their knowledge and experience with you. I will share my knowledge on Azure, which I hope will help to make people’s jobs a bit easier by ramping them from zero to hero in Azure, pretty quickly! I will also be learning as well; there is an awesome list of speakers and I’m really looking forward to it. 

Without further ado, I’ve popped a lot of SQLRally information here for you, and I do hope you’ll register. If you see a little Scottish woman looking a bit lost, please come and say hi because it will be me!

Register by April 29 to receive the special rate of $399! 

SQLPASS have reserved May 10-11 for the most value-packed 2 days of SQL Server and BI training and networking you’ll find anywhere. Join over 500 SQL Server professionals and some of the best known SQL Server speakers from across North America for:

SQLPASS are also offering these 7 deep-dive pre-conference seminars taking place prior to the conference on May 8-9 – get a sneak peek at the pre-cons in this Q&A series with our speakers.
Precon costs $219.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

How to be a DBA – A Utility Belt of tools
Database Administration (DBA)
Tjay Belt (Imagine Learning)
Chris Shaw (AMS)
Storage For the DBA
Database Administration (DBA)
Denny Cherry (

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

99 Tips for Tuning and Enhancing Analysis Services
Business Intelligence (BI)
Greg Galloway (Artis Consulting)
How to Perform a SQL Server Health Check
Database Administration (DBA)
Brad McGehee (Red Gate Software)


Still need approval to attend? Check out our tips on how to justify your attendance.
Register for SQLRally Dallas today!

SSRS 2012 CTP Shared Datasets in SQL Azure

In preparation for my SQLRally Presentation in Dallas in May 2012, I’ve been investigating SQL Azure, using the SQL Server Data Tools to create SQL Server Reporting Services 2012 reports. One issue you might encounter is that your report runs perfectly well in SSDT, but does not run when it’s been deployed to SQL Azure. You might get the following error message:

  • The report server cannot process the report or shared dataset. The shared data source ” for the report server or SharePoint site is not valid. Browse to the server or site and select a shared data source. (rsInvalidDataSourceReference) 

The resolution for this issue is that Shared Dataset don’t seem to work properly, at the time of writing. The workaround is straightforward – don’t use a Shared Dataset. Here are some pointers:

 – Make sure your data source is pointing to your SQL Azure Reporting Services Report Server URL. Test your connection works, and that it is using the correct login.

 – When you create your report, don’t use a Shared DataSet. Instead, once you’ve set up your Data Source, go straight to creating your Report by right-clicking on the Reports folder and selecting the option ‘Add new report’.  

You can then deploy the report to Azure, and it should work fine.

As an aside, you could try your report out on a mobile device. If you need any instructions, just take a look here.

I hope that helps! Any questions, please leave a comment.

Power View outside of Sharepoint Enterprise

I often hear requests for Power View to be made available outside of Sharepoint.  Currently, Power View does require Sharepoint Enterprise 2010 and SQL Server 2012. I see that people are starting to love Power View. I love Powr View since I think it is facilitating businesses to ask the different questions of their data. 

If you want Power View outside of Sharepoint Enterprise, then go and vote for my Connect case hereYou can have input to the roadmap by going to the Connect case and leaving your thoughts there. I do know that the Microsoft team do listen carefully to Connect cases, but I don’t see Connect being adopted widely by folks in the community to feedback their suggestions.  

The system requirements for Power View can be found here

Personally, I love Sharepoint and I’ve implemented Microsoft Sharepoint Business Intelligence solutions that really deliver value to enterprises. Yes, I am a Sharepoint fan! However, I do sympathise with small customers who do not have Sharepoint Enteprise, but would love to have some of the features. 

Power View is still ‘early days’ and I accept that other packages such as Tableau are much more mature. The debate of Sharepoint in Business Intelligence rages on elsewhere, and it isn’t the point of this blog here; instead, I’m focusing on this particular request for Power View outside of Sharepoint, which I hear often at User Groups and via my Twitter conversations.

Technically, Power View is a Reporting Services Add-on.  If you want more information on Power View, you can look at the Microsoft material here. I am not copying and pasting the information – I hate it when people do that to me! – so you can head over and take a look at the official Power View documentation

I’d like to add that the Power View training materials are superb, so well done to the team who’ve carefully produced this documentation. You can look at some of my Power View posts on my blog for my presentations, articles and so on.

MSDN Analysis Services 2012 Tutorial and AdventureWorks Codeplex files Re-Pointer

I believe that the MSDN Analysis Services tutorial and AdventureWorks files on Codeplex aren’t quite matching up.
For the tutorial ‘Using a Modified Version of the Analysis Services Tutorial Project’ (, the reader is instructed to download the file ‘SSAS Multidimensional Model Projects SQL Server’

The reader is directed to ‘Browse to the Lesson 4 Start folder’ but this isn’t contained in ‘SSAS Multidimensional Model Projects SQL Server’

Instead, you find the folder ‘Lesson 4 Start’ in ‘Analysis Services Tutorial SQL Server

I hope that helps someone to get five minutes of their life back 🙂


Cross-Browser support for Power View

Currently, Power View is supported by a number of browsers: IE, Safari, and Firefox. What about Chrome? I’ve opened a Microsoft Connect case about this, and you can go and vote it up or down here.

For the full list, please take a quick look at the Microsoft documentation. I’ve taken an excerpt from the original Microsoft ‘Planning for Reporting Services Browser Support’ article, and here is the table below:

Windows 7
Windows Vista
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2008
Macintosh OS 10.6
– 10.7 (Intel-based)
Internet Explorer 9
32-bit, 64-bit
32-bit, 64-bit
32-bit, 64-bit
32-bit, 64-bit
Not supported
Internet Explorer 8
32-bit, 64-bit
32-bit, 64-bit
32-bit, 64-bit
32-bit, 64-bit
Not supported
Internet Explorer 7
Not supported
32-bit, 64-bit
Not supported
32-bit, 64-bit
Not supported
Firefox 7
Not supported
Not supported
Safari 5
Not supported
Not supported
Not supported
Not supported
32-bit, 64-bit

Chrome isn’t listed as one of the supported browsers. So, if you try and use Chrome for Power View, then it wouldn’t be supported and you may run into issues. This does not mean that it doesn’t work, and you might try it out and find that it works perfectly.

However, I have run into issues at a client site in using Sharepoint, where the default browser was Chrome rather than IE. The issues were easily resolved by switching to a supported browser.

I guess that the technical authors don’t list out unsupported browsers since it might be ‘chartjunk’ to do so. In other words, in order to keep the document as straightforward as possible, they’ve just listed out the browsers that they do support, rather than the plethora of browsers available that they haven’t tested for Power View. Other browsers include SimplePie, Lightning, Rockmelt, to name a few. Then you might also want to include ‘preview’ browsers as well, such as Bing Preview, whereby you ‘preview’ a page before you link on it. It would be nice to do this in Power View as well.

In order to assess the requirement for Chrome, I’ve opened a Connect case here. If you’ve got a need for Chrome and Power View together, then you can vote and comment at the case.   As always, you’re welcome to comment here, too, or over on Twitter.

Some tips on doing the Analysis Services 2012 Tutorials

I’ve had some questions from people using the AdventureWorks tutorials on Analysis Services 2012, so I thought I would answer them here.
When deploying the Analysis Services project for the first time, you might get the following error message:
‘A connection cannot be made. Ensure that the server is running. To verify or update the name of the target server, right-click on the project in Solution Explorer, select Project Properties, click on the Deployment tab, and then enter the name of the server.’
The first thing to check is that the login has access to the data source. Also, check that you’ve put in the full server\instance name if required: if you’re not sure how to check, open up SSMS and see if you can connect that way, and the full path will be in the login box.
If you’ve checked this, then it is worthwhile just checking that your Analysis Services service is actually started. This is simple: Go to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services and look for your Analysis Services service. If you don’t know which service to look for, try ‘SQL Server Analysis Services (MSSQLSERVER)’ and see if it is started.
Once you try to deploy the cube, you might get an error message about an Impersonation issue. If this is the case, then you will need to look at the Impersonation information that you’ve used in the data source. To do this, double-click on the data source, and choose the ‘Impersonation Information’. As per the tutorial, the setting says to use the option ‘Use the service account’ 
I hope that this answers some questions I’ve received – good luck, and please feel free to get in touch if anything isn’t clear.

Is Power View supposed to be a replacement for Oracle BI Answers in OBIEE 11g

In response to my last blog, I received the question: ‘Is Power View supposed to be a replacement for Oracle OBIEE 11g?’ This blog is aimed at answering that question. Before we start, however, I would like to say that these opinions expressed here are mine, and no-one else’s opinions. Therefore, if I’ve got some of the Oracle details incorrect, please do feel free to correct me and I will be grateful that you’ve pointed me in the right direction.

Power View, as I’ve said previously, is about helping business users to ‘surf’ their way through their data. It is designed to help them to think fast about the results of the data, and ask questions of it. It is therefore contrasted with other reporting packages which require a more ‘developer’ oriented focus, such as Business Objects WebI, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services.

My experience with users would make me put Oracle BI Answers in more of a ‘developer’ pot rather than a ‘think as fast as you click’ pot. If you take a look at the Microsoft Books Online Power View documentation, it shows you how easy it is to create small data visualisations in Power View. There is no discussion of variables, or syntax, or anything that requires typing.

On the other hand, when we look at Oracle BI Answers manual, we find that the discussion changes to include variables, custom date/time strings, formatting results and so on. Although this may be in the reach of many business users, it isn’t for everybody. This is in contrast to Power View, which requires minimal typing, drag-and-drop functionality with no requirement to create new formulae, making it simpler to use and assumes that the underlying data model is clean, correct and in place.

I’m not criticising the Oracle BI Answers solution; instead, I’m saying that it seems aimed at report writers who expect to do additional work to meet a particular reporting requirement. On the other hand, Power View is aimed at those users who expect the data model to be cleansed and sorted for them already, without requiring further work to deliver the data visualisation other than point, click and publish.
To answer the initial question: Is Power View supposed to be a replacement for Oracle OBIEE 11g? I don’t think that is the case. I look forward to your comments on this question.