Project Botticelli

Happy Birthday, SQL Server 2012!

7 March 2012 · 1103 views

RTM, Power to the User & xVelocity

SQL Server 2012 has just been RTMed, or “released to manufacturing”—a lovely term that replaced the “Golden Release” milestone, when gold-coloured CDs used to be burned and passed to the factories that made the final disks sent to customers. Happy Birthday, SQL, you are quite a handsome, young adult now!

You can download a trial from here. The general availability is coming soon, on 1 April 2012.

This release is very important to anyone working in the field of Business Intelligence. In fact, most of its new features, both the smaller improvements, like ability to deal with larger strings or files, and the huge advances, like Tabular Modelling, share something in common: they all make analysis of bigger data easier. Of course, the very essence of Big Data, and the story of Microsoft’s newly found openess towards all things open, like Apache Hadoop, is huge news, too.

Or, perhaps you are a performance geek, in which case you will want to follow a group of new features, which Microsoft gave the cool name xVelocity. At the moment, the key member of this group is xVelocity for Data Warehousing, also known as the Columnstore Index technology, which borrows from PowerPivot’s older Vertipaq in-memory columnar store, expands it with paging, and brings it to any tables in your database, but perhaps most usefully so to larger data warehouses. I explain this technology in our Introduction to SQL Server 2012 BI online course. Incidentally, the older name Vertipaq is being retired by Microsoft altogether, so we now also have xVelocity for Business Intelligence, which is the new name for PowerPivot’s Vertipaq, but more importantly, it is also the name for the columnar technology that powers Tabular Mode of SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services. We expect more xVelocities in the future.

Another aspect of today’s launch, which I am happy to celebrate, is the elevation of the role of the end user. Power to the User is the motto, hence we have the new Power View for data exploration (have you seen this video), and previously, PowerPivot, for the DIY analyst. I suppose it is fitting, that it all now works inside PowerPoint too. Personally, I cannot wait to see Power View on the brand new iPad HD, also launched today—support for iOS in SQL BI is promised for a little later this year.

At Project Botticelli, we are just in final post-production of a brand-new training course focussing on SQL Server 2012 BI, which you can access by clicking here. There are 5 hours of content filled with newest demos, including a big section on Hadoop and Big Data. The first two of the four modules should go live this week, the remainder will follow. This will be our first of many premium offerings as part of benefits of our paid-for membership, which we also launching this week. Make sure you register on our web site to be notified when it is available.

Good luck to you with BI in 2012.