SSAS and SSRS in SQL Server 2011

November 13, 2010

Don’t know if you’re aware of it, but Microsoft just rocked your world!

I remember interviewing Mr. Ariel Netz, Product Unit Manager for SSRS.  I wanted to hear from him what’s planned for Report Builder 1.0 as I didn’t feel like Report Builder 3.0 covered all the functionality that was in 1.0. I also wondered what sort of answer we will get for ad – hoc reporting against SSAS in SSRS. Mr. Netz said as much as he could I guess, as things were still under NDA. And now the future of Reporting Services is here…

Project Crescent was just presented in the keynote PASS Summit going on in Seattle (to view the keynote you need to register to PASS.  Registration is free and well worth it. Demo starts at 1 hour 24 minutes into the keynote. Earlier, at 1:13:00, starts the presentation of SQL Server 2011 – codename Denali). Project Crescent gives you ad – hoc reporting with great visualizations based on Silverlight and running in the browser. Project Crescent gives us one environment for building and seeing the report (no more switching between design mode and run mode). So, a great new tool for reporting? A definite and very big YES. But… As Mr. Teo Lachev pointed out in his blog, Project Crescent is now “the fifth report designer after BIDS, Report Builder 1.0 (not sure if RB 1.0 will survive SQL 11), Report Builder 3.0, Visual Studio Report Designer”. Also, as the next day of PASS Summit ended, more details came about. Apparently, again from a post by Mr. Lachev, Project Crescent only works against Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) – what’s that?  

This is where SSAS in SQL Server 2011 jumps into the picture. BISM is a new layer added to cubes in SQL Server 2011 and was first received in mixed feelings as described in Mr. Chris Webb‘s blog (in a very interesting post that I recommend you read). A post from the SQL Server Team blog published later, started to clear up a bit more. In that post, BISM is described as “a relational (tables and relationships) model with BI artifacts such as hierarchies and KPIs”. As Mr. T.K. Anand also points out in that post, “we envision that the BI Semantic Model will offer the choice of MDX as well, but this will likely come in a release after Denali.” In the meanwhile, it supports only DAX. BISM will run side by side to the UDM in SSAS, and you choose which to use.

I feel like we’re looking at another big change. Possibly one that’s even bigger than the move from cubes as we knew them in SQL Server 2000 to the new shape in SQL Server 2005. And this one doesn’t just affect SSAS 2011, but encapsulates everything. BISM is powering PowerPivot for Excel and PowerPivot for SharePoint, and is the new model to query in Project Crescent. I feel like BISM is the new face of BI in SQL Server 2011.

Another big announcement is the integration of the VertiPaq in-memory column store into SSAS. In the Keynote demo, you could see just how quickly you could get results with VertiPaq in comparison to the old engine, and how this now gives new way to ROLAP in SSAS.

So, there’s a lot going on and I recommend you go into all the links I gave you above for the complete picture, as I have only given you the bullet points.
All in all, I think this means that now will be a good time to start learning DAX!

And this is only the beginning for SQL Server 2011…

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one comment

  1. danAugust 25, 2011 ב 0:30

    If you want the functionality of Crescent but would like to have it without installing the entire Microsoft stack, please take a look at this comparison of Microsoft Crescent and Windward AutoQuery. AutoQuery provides all the functionality of Crescent with no server components to install, configure, and administer.