Ahh, so I’m back from my holiday and feeling much better -even if it did manage to rain every single day while I was away (that’s the risk you take with holidays in England). Now all I have to do is get through the massive pile of emails waiting for me and steel myself in preparation for the next few months of hard work… roll on Xmas! Anyway, a few interesting things that happened/thoughts that occurred to me while I was away…
Of course the big thing that happened, the day after I left, was the RTM of SQL2008. Hopefully you’ve heard this news by now, but the big questions here are: is AS2008 any good? Do I want to migrate, and if so, when? Personally, I’ve been using it for a few months now on a project and my impressions of it are positive. As I’ve said before there aren’t any really amazing wow features that will make you want to upgrade, but the performance improvements can in some cases be quite significant, the new BIDS is easier to use, and there are a few obscure fixes/changes in behaviour which tie up some loose ends left over from AS2005. Since migration is very, very easy indeed I would encourage you to install it on a test machine if you haven’t already and start thinking about moving up. Of course the mantra of ‘wait until SP1’ is so deeply ingrained in people’s minds that most people will want to do exactly that – and there’s a lot of sense to that approach, since the first bugs are being found already (see here) but equally there are a fair few known problems with AS2005 SP2 and given the problems that all of the CU releases have (see here for example, and I’ve heard the same story for every single CU, they create as many new bugs as they fix) I wouldn’t recommend them; I suppose you could wait for 2005 SP3 but my feeling is that AS2008 is the better bet.
Meanwhile, in the cloud I see that Good Data have gone into beta, and there’s a new, mysterious MDX-queryable (Mondrian-based?) offering that has broken cover called BI Cloud. If I have time, I’ll try to check them out. Also on the net http://www.learnmicrosoftbi.com/ seems to have a lot of good videos explaining the basics of AS. And there’s a new podcast featuring Richard Tkachuk from the SQLCat team where he talks about the performance improvements in AS2008 and seems to suggest that it’s now possible to use hints in MDX with a new function whose name I couldn’t make out – I’ll post if I get more details.
I’ve also been thinking some more about the DATAllegro deal. There seems to be some discussion about when something that works with SQL2008 can be released, and the folks at DATAllegro are keen to stress that their architecture allows them to plug in new RDBMSs easily so the implication is that it will be sooner rather than later; clearly the investigation work has been going on for a while, and must somehow tie in with the MatrixDB stuff that got leaked a few months ago. All of this would be good for AS running in ROLAP/HOLAP mode on a MPP SQL Server, but can this technology but I wonder whether it could be made to work with AS in MOLAP mode? I think it could – surely the hooks are already there with the remote partitions/linked measure groups/dimensions stuff. Just conjecture though; I think we’ll find out more around the time of PASS and the BI Conference.
Lastly, I’ve booked my place for Mosha’s MDX Deep Dive pre-conf seminar at PASS this year. Who else is going?