Black Preview

An unfortunate bug that was discovered late in the SQL Server 2005 SP2 design cycle may cause a black report preview in the ReportViewer Windows Form control (see attached file) with some video cards. The RS team is aware of this and they are working on a hotfix. I am partly to blame for this issue ([:S]) because I’ve noticed it since the early builds of SP2 but it never occurred to me that it could be a bug. I thought that it could be cause by remoting it to my desktop (sometimes after logging in locally to your desktop after a remote session the colors tend to appear funny).

It is important to note that this issue only happens in Print Preview mode (normal preview and Report Host (F5) are unaffected). If you don’t like the new black preview look and feel please contact Microsoft Product Support for a hotfix when it becomes available. Meanwhile, as a workaround, you should be able to avoid the black preview by setting the background to any other color than trasparent (default background color).

SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 is Born

As an update to my previous post, SQL Server 2005 SP2 is now officially available. The SP2 build is 9.00.3042. A SP2 landing page is available too that includes links to the SP2 release, KB articles, marketing information about the benefits of SP2.

As a personal contributor to Service Pack 2 (mainly in the areas of Reporting Services SharePoint integration and Analysis Services), I hope you enjoy it!

SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 Is Semi-born

Thanks for Russell Christopher’s blog, we now know that the final release of SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 is very close to going live. I will update this blog when the download link is known. I listed the SP2 major BI-related enhancements in this blog. The most significant ones (RS-SharePoint integration, enhanced Excel OLAP and data mining features) makes SP2 a major milestone in the Microsoft Business Intelligence roadmap.

Feedback on Analysis Services Performance Guide

Now that I’ve read the Analysis Services Performance Guide (or shall we call it a mini-book) which I announced in my previous blog, I found it to be a great read. I’d recommend it to anyone who would like to get more insights not only about performance tuning UDM but also about the inner workings of the server.

Some caveats… The guide doesn’t answer the perennial and fundamental question about partitioning a large UDM. As I explained in my UDM Data Islands blog, Microsoft scaled down from the initial “super cube” approach and now advocates splitting a large cube into smaller subcubes (which Jamie McClellan referred to as “data islands”) for performance reasons. What I was hoping to find is some performance guidelines and metrics about at what data loads should this split occur. Since this is so important from a performance standpoint, I failed to understand also why there is no reference to linked measure groups and dimensions whatsoever.

Finally, the guide is a bit light from a capacity planning and load-balancing standpoint. Hopefully, there will soon a refresh of the “Creating Large-Scale, Highly Available OLAP Sites: A Step-by-Step Guide” whitepaper.

Analysis Services 2005 Performance Guide

The highly-anticipated Analysis Services 2005 performance whitepaper is finally here. I found a few things intresting glancing at it:

  • This is a colossal work spanning some 120 pages (no wonder it took so long [:)].

  • The guide was written by the top architects on the SSAS team.

  • It specifically references SQL Server 2005 SP2 probably because SP2 brings many performance optimizations to SSAS.

  • The guide mentions a new aggregation utility (Appendix C) which you can use to manually create aggregation designs. 

Something to sure keep me busy when the winter storm hits Atlanta tomorrow…