I’m prepping a Session on the BI semantic Model for Tech Ed Africa. I came across this old but excellent blog post detailing the differences between the Tabular Model and Multidimensional model – handy if you’re starting out in exploring the changes with SQL 2012.
As you will have heard by now, some exciting announcements were made at SQL Pass. One of those was Hekaton , the exciting new in-memory database platform for SQL Server. I’ve found some more information on Hekaton.
Before I move onto that though, remember that xVelocity ColumnStore debuted in SQL 2012 , and the performance results are already impressive. I did a blog post on ColumnStore here, and the results were very impressive.
But that currently only applies to Data Warehouse workloads. Now we have “Hekaton” , which promises to bring the xVelocity technology to OLTP workloads. What we’ve heard at pass about Hekaton :
- Will ship with the next major version of Sql Server
- Will be integrated into SQL Server – no separate interface or programming model
- Basically allows you to place most frequently used OLTP data tables in memory , in order to boost reads and writes ( that’s a very simplified explanation of it )
- You can keep your other OLTP tables on normal storage. So a database application can be designed to run with a hybrid storage mechanism.
I would imagine that at some interval , the in-memory table data is written to disk. According to Microsoft , some customers on TAP are testing this at the moment , and are seeing anywhere between 5 and 50 times throughput gains. While I don’t like repeating such claims , we did see the evidence of such speed boosts with ColumnStore , so this is very exciting.
In the mean time , start ordering more RAM for your servers ….. J
Big big announcements at SQL Pass. Firstly , SP1 is now available for SQL 2012. There seems to be the usual fixes , but there also seems to be a lot with regards to compatibility with Excel 2013 and SharePoint 2013 for BI. If you’re planning to roll out BI on the 2013 platform , you need SP1. More impressively …….
The Column Store ( xVelocity ) technology that we saw for Data Warehousing applications will be available for OLTP applications ( NOT in SP 1 just to be clear ). There is no release date but this is exciting. Those of you who have seen what Column Store can do for Data Warehousing know that its pretty significant.
What we now know is that ColumnStore for Data Warehouse applications will become writable in the next major release of SQL Server ( no more dropping indexes to load ). But the impact of having this technology for OLTP means that all database applications will benefit from it and get that massive performance boost. How big a boost ? Well , Hekaton apparently means 100 in Greek ……
Well Windows 8 has landed , and with it…. shape shifters. No , not what you’re thinking ( I actually don’t know what you’re thinking ) . Shape shifters ( convertibles? ) are basically laptop PC’s that can swing around their screens to become tablets. We were promised something of a PC revolution with Windows 8 , with the new touch interface being the biggest change to Windows since ’95. What many didn’t realize though , is that with it we would see all types of interesting hardware devices surface as well ( see what I did there ). And the first batch are here…..
Engadget has just reviewed the new Dell XPS 12 : here
Looks quite interesting. If you’re too lazy to click the link , here’s a pic of what the beast looks like
Now this is all interesting because we could be looking at the future here. Even with tablets being more and more popular , notebooks aren’t going away. You’ll still see them at airports, coffee shops etc. But how will they all look in a few years time ? They’ll be smaller , yes. They will all have touch screens, I’ve already mentioned that before. But will the average joe embrace this form factor for his basic notebook ? I’ll have to use this first to gauge an opinion – its definitely not going to replace a tablet in tablet mode. But it might be tablet enough for those unwilling to fork out for 2 devices.
While the above might seem trivial to some , I’m just happy that we’re seeing some excitement in the PC industry again. ( Recently , the only articles about PC’s were predicting the death of my favourite gadget ). For that reason alone we can be happy that Windows 8 is what it is.
I recently came across this great blog post , with links to many interesting Microsoft eBooks.
In case you’re wondering , its legit ( it is an MSDN blog after all ). Scroll down for the SQL 2012 eBooks.
I’n sure that you’ve all heard about Office “15″ ( The customer preview of which was made available on Monday ). I’m using it since Monday and so far its great. However , for us BI guys , there have been some really exciting additions to Excel !
Firstly , Power Pivot I now included with Excel – to get it , you have to simply go to File – Options – Add-Ins – Manage COM Add-Ins – Go and then select Power Pivot from the list. The PowerPivot option then appears in the Ribbon for you.
Hang on – whats this I see there ? Power View ? What could this possibly be ?
Well , this for me is the real exciting news. You can now get Power View inside of Excel !!! This really is a coup for self service BI. I’m going to play with this a bit more over the next few days and post on my experiences with it. So far though it seems that the interface is exactly the same as the one on Share Point.
After a busy month ( no blog updates ! ), I’ve just installed Windows 8 Release preview and have been using it for a day. I must say , there isn’t huge amount of difference between this and the Consumer Preview , but there are a few important additions.
The biggest one is the ability to use metro a secondary screen. This is massive because Metro apps look gorgeous on my Samsung monitor compared to the laptop Screen. It also seems to be easier to “pick up” the corners of the screen for things like the charms bar ( yes you can even do this on the second screen now ). Another nice feature are the Sports and News apps that now come with Windows ( having said that , where’s Hydro Thunder that was in the CP store ? ). The Metro mail app is better but still not great.
If you’re thinking of trying the release preview here’s a tip – installing it on a VM won’t give you the full experience – especially with multiple monitors. Rather do a proper install on a machine and if you don’t like it you can always uninstall after a few days. Me ? I’m keeping it …..