Now that SQL Server 2012 has been released, I’ve just realised I’ve not seen a definitive list of what’s new in SSAS 2012 Multidimensional. In fact I’m surprised I haven’t got round to writing a blog post about this… after all, despite the fuss over Tabular, Power View and all the other cool new stuff I guess most existing SSAS users are going to be more interested in staying with the Multidimensional model when they upgrade.
So what is new? Here’s a list of everything I know about plus some relevant links:
- The infamous 4GB limit on string stores in dimensions has now been fixed. See:
- Distinct count performance in ROLAP mode has been improved:
- SSAS now supports NUMA and more than 64 processors:
This is a very detailed, must-read blog post on the subject:
All this may be why processing is much faster in some cases, as Bob Duffy notes here:
- I’ve seen it mentioned in several other places that there have been 300 other improvements for performance, scalability and reliability in the SSAS engine. I’ve not seen them documented anywhere (maybe they are in a KB article) but they’re likely to be minor tweaks/bug fixes similar to what you’d get in any SP. Nevertheless if you run into the specific scenarios they address then they could be very significant.
- SSAS now supports XEvents for monitoring:
- There are some new Profiler events. BOL notes the Resource Usage and lock-related events, but the former (and I’m pretty sure the latter) were also made available to 2008 R2 users with the last SP:
However the really interesting new events are “Calculation Evaluation” and “Calculation Evaluation Detailed Information” which give an insight into what’s going on in the Formula Engine. I hope we get some information on how to interpret the contents of these events.
- There’s a new Analysis Services PowerShell provider and cmdlets:
- All development work is now done in Visual Studio 2010, and BIDS is now called SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT).
- The cube browser has now disappeared from SSDT, and is replaced by the control used by the SSRS query generator. This is because the old browser used the OWC control which was deprecated years ago and finally had to be replaced; it’s a massive step backwards because this control is truly awful: for example you can no longer put anything other than Measures on columns in your query. Arrggghhh! I’ve started using Excel instead, but Excel won’t always be available on some sites and it’s a hassle to move to a different app to check your figures.
Have I forgotten anything? Have you found anything changed that isn’t documented? If so, please leave a comment. I’ll update this post as and when I find/remember new stuff.
After all the activity last year, you may have been wondering what’s happened with the SSAS Maestro Program – the premier certification for Analysis Services professionals (for some more background information see here). Well, wonder no more: my fellow SSAS Maestro Marco Russo and I will be running the course again in Milan this summer on the 9th-13th July.
There are a few things that are going to be different with this run of the course which I need to point out:
- It’s no longer invitation-only so anyone can apply to attend. However we’ll only have 20 spaces in the training room and this, plus the fact that this is a very demanding course, means we’ll only be accepting people who have a lot of previous SSAS experience.
- It’s no longer free either. The cost will be €7000 plus taxes for five days of training plus the exam/coursework/labs, although people who have previously attended the Maestros course will only have to pay €5000 plus taxes. That’s fairly expensive I know, but there’s a lot of work involved in organising a one-off course like this, a lot of marking to be done afterwards and there are also a lot of overheads as well as two trainers to pay.
- The marking process will be a lot faster this time!
If you’re interested in attending please send Marco and me an email at email@example.com, along with a copy of your CV/resume and a few paragraphs detailing your level of SSAS knowledge. We’ll be opening registrations in mid-April and we’ll be able to let you know whether you’ve been accepted then.
Something that got a bit of attention last week on Twitter, but which may not have filtered through into the wider SSAS community yet, is the fact that Microsoft has renamed the Vertipaq engine that’s inside PowerPivot and Analysis Services 2012 Tabular. It’s now called “the xVelocity in-memory analytics engine”, and the term “xVelocity” is also going to be used to refer to the column store index feature in the SQL Server 2012 relational database. For more details see the official announcements:
Personally I liked the old Vertipaq name and as I said recently, I think these umbrella marketing terms that refer to lots of different things cause confusion. But it’s only a name so there’s nothing much to get upset about – just don’t say Vertipaq any more, say xVelocity.
By now you’ve probably already heard that SQL Server 2012 has been released (you can download the eval here), along with the Feature Pack (which contains some interesting stuff, including a 64-bit version of the Excel Data Mining Addin at last) and PowerPivot V2.0. I know I’m almost 24 hours late on this news but I thought I’d mention it nonetheless…
If you’re a BI professional wondering how you’re going to learn Analysis Services 2012 Tabular, then you might want to check out a new series of training courses on it that I’m teaching with my friends Marco and Alberto at various places around Europe:
It’s based on the book we’ve been co-writing on the Tabular model which will hopefully be available very soon, and since we’ve been living Tabular and DAX for the last few months you can be sure that it’s the very best way to get up to speed on it. We hope to see you at one of the classes!