I expected this week to be a really interesting week with SQL Pass happening. As I was sure to see some really good and interesting updates from Microsoft and it sure is living up to this.
There has been a lot of information on Twitter and on other blogs, so here is my take on the developments.
SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0 (SQL Server Database Engine, SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Integration Services)
There was a whole host up dates with SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0, which is great to see, as well as some announcements of what we can expect in subsequent releases.
I am just going to highlight below what I think is relevant in the BI space. But there will be links below where you can find the related blog posts, which have more information from the Microsoft teams.
With regards to SSAS, it is good to see how much effort and work is going into the Tabular model. Which is what I thought would be the case.
I think that it is really great to see that they have changed the underlying structure from XMLA to JSON. The way that I see it, this is how they have implemented Power BI in terms of having the SSAS database sitting in memory in Azure. And without a doubt I am sure that they have learnt a lot, and from this they can then leverage this and bring it into the On Premise product. We all know how fast it is online!
The MDX Support for Direct Query is also a great update. I can see a lot of people leveraging this, and when you partner this with APS you can pretty much start to enable real-time analytics. Which can be a real game changer.
All the other updates that are coming into SSAS have mostly been completed either in Power BI Desktop or in Excel 2016. So it is great to see this in the Server product which will go a long way to ensure that it can scale and perform for enterprise workloads.
I have eagerly been waiting to see what was going to happen in the SSRS space. And whilst I had seen some of the now released information it is great to see it being released to the general public. As well as how well it has been received.
The pinning of SSRS reports into Power BI is a really smart move. And the ability to also refresh this report in Power BI is pure Genius. What this means now is you can leverage both of your On Premise and cloud investments. And to the users this will be seamless.
What I also really like is that you can often create really interesting SSRS reports, and the executives and high level managers do not need to see the details. They just want an overview. And now by leveraging this all into Power BI, it becomes their one stop shop!
There does not seem to have been a lot of love for SSIS, and to be honest it is a stable and really good product.
But what I did see is the Control Flow Template, and I am hoping that this is something similar to what you can currently do with BIML. What that is how I perceived it to be. And I am hoping that you can create different control flow templates for different control flows. So for example you could create a control flow template for a SCD Type 2. And then once you have it designed the way that you want, any other developers can then utilize it. This would go a long way in enterprises where you want to standardize the way of doing things.
You can read about all of the above here:
- SQL Server Database Engine: SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview 3.0 is available
- SQL Server Analysis Services: What’s new for SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services in CTP3
- SQL Server Reporting Services: Pin Reporting Services charts to Power BI dashboards with SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0
Power BI – Chiclet Visual Slicer
The one thing that I have been struggling with in Power BI was how to get a slicer to work, so that it looked good.
And low and behold there is a new visualization which can how do this. And to have it with images also is really smart. As people love to click on Images.
Another great announcement was from James Phillips that Microsoft would be releasing a new visualization every month, indefinitely. This is really great and I am sure that we will see some really interesting and useful visualizations in the future.
You can read all about it here: Visual Awesomeness Unlocked: The Chiclet Slicer
Power BI – SparkPost Content Pack
This week there is another interesting and great Content Pack. This time for SparkPost. Which you can now use to monitor your Email campaigns.
You can read about it here: Monitor Your SparkPost data with Power BI
Power BI – Weekly Service Update
Not only was there a host of announcements at SQL Pass, there was the weekly Power BI Service update.
Once again I am going to quickly highlight what there is in this week’s update.
They have made quite a few improvements with regards to the way we can share the dashboards in Power BI. All of these updates make it a lot easier to share the dashboard and to enable people to see how good Power BI is. The additions are (Sharing the Dashboards with AD Groups, People Picker and Sharing with a large number of Email addresses)
Along with this is the ability to start passing parameters into the URL. I have no doubt that passing URL parameters will keep on increasing and giving additional flexibility in the Power BI service.
You can read about it here: Power BI Weekly Service Update
Power BI – Personal Gateway Update
There was an update late last week for the Power BI Personal Gateway and it is mostly around bug fixes and performance improvements. Which is great to see because I do know that often we want it to run as smoothly and quickly as possible
You can find more information here: New version of Personal Gateway is now live!
Power BI – Tiles in SharePoint
And finally the guys from DevScope have now created a Power BI Tile for SharePoint.
I think that this will work really well, because it will give the ability to showcase all the work done in your Power BI reports, as well as not having to re-create reports over and over again.
If you want to find more details and pricing, you can find it here: Power BI Tiles for SharePoint