Microsoft SQL Server 2014 released – What does it mean for BI?

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 was released for General Availability on April the 1st and brought with it a host of new features including integration with Azure, in-memory OLTP, security enhancements and improvements to AlwaysOn. (you can go here for more details)

The most compelling change for Business Intelligence workloads from SQL Server 2012 is the introduction of Updatable Columnstore indexes.

Columnstore indexes introduced in SQL Server 2012 increased throughput and improved common data warehouse query execution times significantly.    However, the read-only nature of the indexes proved to be a limitation.  This meant they had to be dropped and recreated when updating the underlying table causing additional processing overhead which proved difficult to accommodate near real-time BI.  Another drawback encountered was the extra space the columnstore index required as the indexes had to be stored in addition to the existing row-based tables as they were built on top of the unpinning tables.

In comes SQL Server 2014 with its updateable Columnstore indexes.  This development will change the way in which traditional SQL Server data warehouses have been implemented.  Immediate improvements include:

  • Columnstore indexes are created without reliance on row based storage which reduces space and processing requirements
  • As they are now updateable, there is no need to drop indexes and rebuild hence supporting near real-time data provisioning

In short, this is a key improvement to SQL Server 2012, which will change the way in which we think about data warehousing in the future.

You can download the Evaluation for SQL Server 2014:

On Premise

Cloud

 

 

SQL Server 2012 released

​It’s out, and its delivering more reliable data, faster than ever before!

We at BizData like how SQL Server 2012 is making the business of delivering business intelligence much faster, whilst providing a strong data governance foundation.

N.B. The editions have changed, so make sure you have software assurance in place before April 1st!
Contact your licensing partner or get in contact with us to find out more.

A snapshot of what’s new:

Data Quality Services – a whole new suite that will allow you to manage a knowledge base of data cleansing rules, as well as connect to third party data cleansing services through Windows Azure

Master Data Services – an improved set of features to manage a reference data hub and provide platform for data stewardship. Including performance improvements (we’ve looked under the hood to make sure), and a new ad-in for excel which is available for download.

Column Store Index – the ability to create indexes on an existing data warehouse to improve query performance by 10 – 100 times.

In-Memory, Compressed, Column-based Storage – quite simply: instant retrieval and aggregation of data for large data sets. The underlying technology that will provide a user experience of “train-of-thought” data analysis.

Tabular Projects – a design environment that makes building a semantic model for reporting and analysis easier and accessible to a wider audience.
This will appeal to advanced analytics/data mining practitioners as a much faster data preparation workbench alternative.

Power View – self-service, ad-hoc data discovery and visualisation that anyone can drive. And yes, it can be interactive in a PowerPoint slide deck using live data. Expect a lot more mouse clicking in executive leadership meetings!

PowerPivot – available for download now, a new version of the desktop data mashup environment for Excel. Ideal for quick analytical and reporting prototypes by power users.

Also Microsoft continues with its compelling alternative to expensive data warehouse appliance renewals.

Fast Track for SQL Server 2012 – a reference architecture that will reduce the costs of performance tuning and deliver massive throughput for your data warehouse queries for up to about 20Tb.

SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance Update 3 (AU3) – The Tier 1 large scale data warehouse appliance provides scalability to 100’s of terabytes at a fraction of the cost of the usual suspects, which is expected to deliver 10x performance improvements with this release.

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