Amir Netz and Ariel Netz Talk on PowerPivot, DAX, Report Builder and PivotViewer

August 16, 2010

Ok, so the unexpected happened – about a month and a half after interviewing Mr. Donald Farmer, I got to interview Mr. Amir Netz and Mr. Ariel Netz! I know!…

You probably remember Mr. Amir Netz from his appearance in the recent keynote session in the BI conference in New Orleans. He spoke about what’s going to be new in PowerPivot. When I heard he was coming to Israel for a conference discussing Panorama and PowerPivot, I decided I’d try to get a few more tidbits from him…

In the keynote session, Mr. Netz had talked about adding the ability to define KPIs in PowerPivot. This is all very good and well, but as we constantly hear that PowerPivot is built on the Analysis Services platform, and also that DAX is not here to replace MDX, well… I thought maybe I could get from Mr. Netz a confirmation that MDX will also be a calculation language for PowerPivot. I know DAX was invented to give a more accessible solution for the Information Worker, but if IT is still in the loop with PowerPivot (and they are), then maybe a more complex calculation in PowerPivot can be done via MDX?…

Mr. Netz would not confirm such an addition to PowerPivot, but he did add that hierarchies may also be added to PowerPivot in its next version. So, and this is still just me guessing, but if PowerPivot has the AS Platform and hierarchies, then I’m thinking maybe the days of adding MDX won’t be so long. I would also mention that in my interview with Mr. Donald Farmer, he talked about DAX as a calculation language and of MDX as a more set based query language (video part 1, relevant question starts at 1:24 min.). So I’m still wondering if there won’t be a place for MDX in PowerPivot, especially as we will be able to import a PowerPivot solution into BIDS

Additionally, I thought one of the more important things for the Information Worker would be the quality of the data he’s analyzing. Again, looking at all the capabilities that already have been integrated into Excel 2010 – PowerPivot, data analysis and added visualizations along with Data Mining – then maybe data cleansing as well? That was also raised in the interview with Mr. Farmer, who talked about data cleansing through DAX (same question in part 1 as before). Again, Mr. Netz would not confirm nor deny… ๐Ÿ™

I think the part that surprised me most in the interview was Mr. Netz saying that the next release of PowerPivot will coincide with the release of SQL Server 2011. Maybe it’s me, but I just saw PowerPivot as such a part of Excel 2010 (rather than of SQL Server 2008 R2), that I thought that the next release won’t necessarily be bundled up with that of SQL Server 2011. Maybe I’m expecting too much of a quick release cycle, but I really thought the next version of PowerPivot would stand on its own and would not necessarily connect to Office or to SQL Server for that matter. I guess I just see PowerPivot as such a strong tool that stands alone (even though it does integrate with so many other applications).

So, if you’re looking for a bit more insight on what we can expect for PowerPivot, I recommend you look at the video of the interview:

(Like last time, if you’re reading this post through your RSS reader, then you’re going to have to go to the post on the internet to view the video, as I cannot embed it to the RSS feed).

I would also add that when I spoke about exposing the API of PowerPivot, I was referencing this post from PowerPivotPro and what Mr. Netz spoke about there.

Still, that does not conclude all the goodies!
As I stated in the beginning of the post, I also had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Ariel Netz. Mr. Ariel Netz had been involved mainly with Analysis Services, up until about a year ago when he became Product Unit Manager for SSRS.

On that topic, I wanted to get from him answers to two main questions:

1. On Report Builder 1.0 vs. Report Builder 3.0, the question I presented him was the following:

In my workplace I still use SQL Server 2005 with Report Builder 1.0. I feel like Report Builder 3.0 still doesn’t address all the functionality that exists in the 1.0 version. Are you planning on changing that for the next release? What’s planned for ad – hoc reporting?

More than anything, I really wanted to know what’s planned for the Report Builder 1.0 developers and users so I could better understand what I should do with my Models. I leave you to listen to Mr. Netz’s answer:

Ariel Netz Report Builder

2. On the new release for PivotViewer for Reporting Services:

PivotViewer Extension for Reporting Services has been recently released and has sparked a lot of interest in the BI community. Still, as Cristian Petculescu has mentioned in his post: “It’s not supported, and not a feature”. Considering the buzz it created, are you planning on turning it into part of the future SSRS 11 pack?

Mr. Netz is aware of the hype around PivotViewer, but would really like to encourage your feedback on it before deciding how to advance with it:

Ariel Netz PivotViewer 

These questions were recorded only by voice as this interview was held much later than the one with Mr. Amir Netz and my cameraman and sound technician had to go home earlier… ๐Ÿ™‚

Again, I would really like to thank my cameraman and sound technician, my supporting brother Adlai Maschiach. Also, a great big thank you goes out to KidMos who edited the video. Thank you both very much!

Hope you enjoyed the interview with Mr. Amir Netz and Mr. Ariel Netz.

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  1. AminAugust 16, 2010 ื‘ 0:23

    Hi Ella,

    Thank you for this nice interview.
    That is fantastic.

    Best regards,

  2. NaviAugust 23, 2010 ื‘ 14:26

    both are very intersting interviews. I believe that combinations of DAX/MDX as Donald define it, is the winning combination.