Presenting Personal BI with PowerPivot v2

022312_1752_PresentingP1I’ll be presenting “Personal BI with PowerPivot v2” for the Atlanta BI Group on Monday, February 27th. Join us to learn when personal BI makes sense and why PowerPivot is the best tool on the market when it does. The focus will be on the new features of PowerPivot version 2 which launch officially in a week or so.

For more information and to register visit our Atlanta BI home page.


Announcing My New Book

021112_1455_AnnouncingM1My new book, Applied Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services (Tabular Modeling), will start shipping in a week with all popular resellers, such as Amazon, B&N, etc. I’ve been working on it for a few months and I’m excited to have it done. While waiting to buy the book, check the following resources to get you started with PowerPivot and Tabular:

– A sample chapter – “Introducing Business Intelligence Semantic Model”

Video demos – I recorded over three hours of video content for selected exercises in the book

An insightful tour that provides an authoritative yet independent view of this exciting technology, this guide introduces the Tabular side of the innovative Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) that promotes rapid professional and self-service BI application development. Business analysts and power users will learn how to integrate data from multiple data sources, implement self-service BI applications with Excel, and deploy them to SharePoint. Business intelligence professionals and database administrators will discover how to build corporate solutions powered by BISM Tabular, delivering supreme performance with large data volumes, and how to implement a wide range of solutions for the entire spectrum of personal-team-organizational BI needs.

Chapter 1: Introducing Business Intelligence Semantic Model

Chapter 2: Personal BI Basics
Chapter 3: Importing Data
Chapter 4: Refining the Model
Chapter 5: Analyzing Data
Chapter 6: Implementing Calculations

Chapter 7: Team BI Basics
Chapter 8: SharePoint Insights
Chapter 9: Managing PowerPivot for SharePoint

Chapter 10: Organizational BI Basics
Chapter 11: Designing Storage and Security
Chapter 12: Managing Tabular Models


ProcessUpdate and Partition Scans

I’m working on minimizing the cube processing for a cube with some two billion rows in a fact table. I put together an ETL package that processes the dimensions with ProcessUpdate following by processing the latest partitions. I’ve noticed that processing one of the dimensions , which happens to be the largest (some 1 million rows) and most complicated dimension, resulted in partitions scans. The SQL Profiler showed the scans with the following events:

Finished processing the ‘<partition name>‘ partition

These partition scans don’t result in SQL queries to the database and normally should execute pretty fast. In this case, however, the scans were taking plenty of time resulting in some 15 minutes delay in the incremental processing flow. With some help from T.K. Anand, it turned out that I had a design issue with that dimension. I discovered the issue by changing the KeyDuplicate error in the dimension ErrorConfiguration to True and fully processing the dimension. Dimension processing failed because of the attribute relationships implied a one-to-many relationship between two attributes but the data didn’t support it. Somewhere along the design cycle, I turned off KeyDuplicate probably to get around the same issue in order to process the dimension successfully.

So, the moral of this story is:

  1. Always check your dimensions with the Dimension Health Check feature of the BIDS Helper.
  2. Don’t turn off KeyDuplicate.

BTW, the problem with duplicate key errors is that the server can move members around and that would cause indexes and aggregations to require being rebuilt. For example, if you have the following members in the source data:

Attr1Key    Attr2Key

55        32

55        35

The first time, the engine may store 32 as the related member. But the second time it sees the rows during ProcessUpdate, it would potentially choose 35 as the related member. And that’s going to cause indexes and aggregations to need rebuilding.

Record Attendance for Atlanta BI Group Last Night

We had the pleasure to have some 70 people attending our January 30th, 2012 meeting of the Atlanta BI group. Our sponsor, Matrix Resources, was kind enough to give us the auditorium. FisionIO sponsored the meeting. Phil Per-Lee did us a “Prototypes with Pizza” presentation, titled Connecting the Dots. And, Carlos Rodrigues rocked the stage with the main presentation about dimensional modeling.

I’ve uploaded pictures to the Photo Gallery section of our website and the slides to the Resources section. We’ve got some cool presentations lined up for next few months. Check our Calendar section to see what’s coming.