Wednesday, 4 November 2009

More SQL 2008 R2 news

Gemini (posted about previously) has been renamed 'PowerPivot' or more precisely 'Power Pivot for Excel 2010', continuing MS's penchant for long-winded product names. I've had a play with the CPT2 and it pretty much works as advertised - giving the ability to slice-and-dice large, disconnected, datasets with ease on modest hardware, with massive levels of data compression. There's also options to combine it with non-datawarehouse type data such as industry trends analysis or high-level reports retrieved from outside organisations in excel-ready formats. It also includes some useful GUI tricks pinched from QlickView such as greying out slicers which have no data. Unfortunately CTP2 didn't include a connector for Analysis Services so I await that with baited breath in the November CTP.

Also in the news was the renaming of Madison (also mentioned previously) to - wait for it - 'SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse' - confirmed as coming out with R2 in the first half of next year. This is great news as it answers the frequent criticism that 'SQL doesn't scale'. Not only that, but unlike many other warehouse appliance providers (such as Netezza and Teradata) you have the choice of commodity hardware from 5 different vendors, and unlike Greenplum (an open-source hardware-independent appliance vendor) MS is hardly a tiny company that few have heard of. More information on the sort of architecture MS propose for their Parallel Data Warehouse can be found here.

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