SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP
Microsoft just released SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP. The November CTP is "feature complete" so this should be close to the real thing, before they ship SQL Server 2008 R2 in 2010.
I guess you could tell from the news coming from PASS that this would be in the wings. First of all, there was word that the next CTP would be delivered during November (which translates to: now!) and secondly, projects that before would be code named - now have their formal name. Madison is now Parallel Data Warehouse and boasts scalability for the 100+ terabyte DWH and Gemini is now PowerPivot.
So what's new in comparison to the August CTP?
For Reporting Services I think the highlights are:
- New Data Visualization Report Items - Data Bars and Indicators just as you may know them from the conditional formatting in Excel 2007 and also sparklines.
- Shared report items and datasets - taking them from the server for re-use in your own report.
- BIDS support for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 in the deployment of reports and report projects.
- Aggregate on aggregates - giving you the ability to run, for instance, an average on a sum. I think this is really brilliant as this comes pretty close to calculations I would previously do in MDX.
For more details, please look at Robert Bruckner's post, giving you all the details for SSRS in this CTP.
Better support for the SharePoint Integration - In Reporting Services that translates to a query designer for SharePoint lists as a data source and support for RTL text in the SharePoint UI (which could be relevant if you're living in Israel or the neighboring countries ;)).
In PowerPivot this means that there is a Management Dashboard data on queries executed and hardware resource utilization for PowerPivot service and workbooks.
On a side note, I would again stress how SharePoint is becoming more and more a part of BI within Microsoft's strategy.
PowerPivot now supports more data sources and enables you to edit more parameters in the connection string to your data sources. And there are a lot of ways for you to learn PowerPivot.
There is more news to this release including Master Data Services, but I leave it to you to continue reading on the SQL Server 2008 R2 CTP3 and download it.