Popular Business Intelligence

SQL Server Data Compare

To download the admin install go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/data/hh297027, download the ssdtsetup executeable for SQL Server 2014, and also vs2010, vs2012, vs2013.  From the command prompt run ssdtsetup /layout <destination> where <destination> is the path of the USB stick / network / local drive you want to install to.

This may take a while to download the full install files.

If that’s all a bit to hard just smell this cool SSDT feature here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn266029(v=vs.103).aspx.

The entry point is pretty simple, just right click your database and select Database Comparison.





Sharepoint BI Demo Machine Full Download

Shortcut your Sharepoint Business Performance experience with this pre-packaged virtual machine available for partners and customers, pre installed with industry specific Sharepoint dashboards like Education, Energy and Communications.

contoso dashboard

If you get along to http://mssalesdemos.com/DefaultAnonymous.aspx you will find some online demo’s but this one is a full downloadable virtual machine – ok it is only Sharepoint 2010 on SQL 2012, it has a cool footer but for the tragic Windows Phone 7,  and it is only a Generation 1 VHD Hyper V machine.    If you are a Virtual Machine Jedi with an extremely high Midi-chlorian count, you may have a chance of converting the image to run on virtual machine clients like VMWare Client and Virtual Box.  I had best luck using Hyper V host on Windows 8.1.  Download is approximately 20Gb, so if you are having problems, try a Download Manager.

Here is the actual link to the Virtual Machine – http://www.microsoft.com/betaexperience/pd/BIVHD/enus/default.aspx.  Instructions for how to mount the Virtual machine under Hyper V are included in the page comments including administrator password, domain and ip addresses.  If you are running Hyper-V in Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2, you will notice the instructions are written for the older version of Hyper-V – the terminology has changed slightly.   Instead of importing the Virtual Machine, you will find it easier to create a Generation 1 Virtual Machine, assign the internal network that you created using the Virtual Switch Manager, then add the add virtual hard disk from the uncompressed image files. Once the virtual machine starts, you are almost there.  Login with these initial login details, the following the remaining steps in the setup procedure :

User: administrator

Password: pass@word1


Link to Free Download Manager below, which I am no way affiliated with, it just solved my headaches with Akamai download manager and Internet Explorer.   This worked well to download this particular file but had no luck with resuming interrupted MSDN downloads.


SSAS: Access Denied – The file specified in the restore command is damaged or is not an AS backup file

You have attempted a database restore in Analysis Services from a .abf file and get the error : “The file specified in the restore command is damaged or is not an AS backup file.  The following system error occurred : Access is denied”.   The key clue in the error is the last part.


Go to the actual file, i.e. not the folder, right click, select properties, the click the Security tab.  Edit the file’s security so that the Analysis Services service account has sufficient permissions i.e. full permissions will work.  If you don’t know the Analysis Services Services account, go to SQL Server Configuration Manager and find your Analysis Services service where you will see the service account.

Windows 8.1 – No Upgrade Apps Option From Windows 7

Looking forward to the new features in Windows 8 ?   Taking a flying leap but make you flinch at first.  If you have no Upgrade Apps option chances are you are Installing the Windows 8.1 Enterprise media which doesn’t support upgrade apps – try the Professional edition media instead.   If you are chasing the Hyper V host this is available in both Professional and Enterprise but otherwise you will notice Professional doesn’t get a handful of “Enterprisey” things.  Get along to the Features v Editions page to see what you are missing between Enterprise and Professional http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/products-and-technologies/windows-8-1/compare/default.aspx.

Even if you are happy to punch out a clean install there is a Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant, which will give you an assessment on what is compatible and what isn’t.


Note, if you want the upgrade option, there are several options here, summarised down, these are essentially,

1. Keep Nothing (clean install)

2. Keep Personal Files (make sure your files are in your Desktop or Documents folder)

3. Keep Apps (if you don’t see this try the Professional edition media)

If you get along to here you will find more details about the upgrade process http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows-8/upgrade-from-windows-7-tutorial.



SSIS: VS 2012 One or more projects in the solution were not loaded correctly

The following workaround http://up10it.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/VS2012-projects-not-loading.html was tested successfully for SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio 2012.   You come across the error “One or more projects in the solution were not loaded correctly” on opening a SSIS solution file in SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio 2012 and then encounter a head scratching moment.



Steps taken to work around :

1. Close SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio 2012

2. Navigate to the C:\Users\<Your UserName>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0

3. Rename folder ComponentModelCache to ComponentModelCache.old

4. Re-open SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio 2012

5. Open the Solution again

SSRS Migration: Data Sources Supported in Reporting Services 2012/2014

Migrating your Reporting Services instances to SQL Server 2012/2014 has a few key considerations.

First, the oldest version you can upgrade from is Reporting Services 2005 and that must be patched to SP4 (9.00.5000).

Next, any SQL Server 2005 report data sources are still supported in SQL Server 2012/2014. Here are the full list of data sources supported in SQL Server 2014 http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms159219.aspx. However your Report Server databases themselves can’t be hosted on SQL Server 2005 database instances http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2796721/en-nz.

Importantly, those pesky Report Models are depreciated in Reporting Services 2012/2014 http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143509.aspx. They will migrate but you won’t be able to make changes after the migration – so at some point they will need to have their datasets rewritten. Getting a handle on how many reports hang off Report Models and giving your customers some options is a good way to manage this issue.

Finally, the full migration process is outlined here step by step http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143724.aspx. There are risks in any major version migration, but running side by side environments and getting a business acceptance sign-off is the best way to mitigate those risks.

SSIS: Execution History Catalog Dashboard To Go

The SSISDB contains a wealth of statistical data for your SSIS package executions and messages.   In a package failure scenario, trawling through SQL Management Studio to get detailed reports becomes quite tedious.  For a very quick and easy dashboard looking at the most recent events try a simple Reporting Services report with two tables and two datasets.  The two datasets are outlined in more detail below.

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 10.23.02 pm

The first dataset takes the last 3 days worth of execution history for your packages as per the top table. Whilst this dataset returns one row per execution as displayed, adjusting the groupings in this query will give you interesting perspectives on Average Duration and Execution Count.

The second table contains the last 15 messages.  In a failure scenario the second dataset will typically hold the most recent failure if no other packages have been run subsequent to the failure.  However you may need to adjust the dataset to suit, where TOP is specified, or parameterise as required – add a little Dijon mustard :)

Execution Summary – Last 3 Days

SELECT        folder_name, COUNT(*) AS tally_executions, SUM(DATEDIFF(ms, start_time, end_time))/1000 AS total_duration_s, package_name,
                         CASE status WHEN 1 THEN 'Created' WHEN 2 THEN 'Running' WHEN 3 THEN 'Cancelled' WHEN 4 THEN 'Failed' WHEN 5 THEN 'Pending' WHEN 6 THEN 'Ended Unexpectedly'
                          WHEN 7 THEN 'Succeeded' WHEN 8 THEN 'Stopping' WHEN 9 THEN 'Completed' END AS Status, start_time
FROM            catalog.executions AS e
WHERE start_time > getdate()-3
GROUP BY folder_name, package_name, status, start_time
ORDER BY start_time DESC

Message Detail – Last 15 Messages

SELECT        TOP (15) event_message_id, message, package_name, event_name, message_source_name
FROM            (SELECT        event_message_id, operation_id, message_time, message_type, message_source_type, message, extended_info_id, package_name,
                                                    event_name, message_source_name, message_source_id, subcomponent_name, package_path, execution_path, threadID,
                          FROM            catalog.event_messages AS em
                          WHERE        (operation_id =
                                                        (SELECT        MAX(execution_id) AS Expr1
                                                          FROM            catalog.executions)) AND (event_name NOT LIKE '%Validate%')) AS q
ORDER BY message_time DESC​

Here’s a couple of chilly reads that go a little deeper.




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