Convert Vmware to Virtualbox EasyGuide

Useful reference for converting Vmware images to Virtualbox

The approach uses the ovftool executable from your VMPlayer or VM Workstation installation to create an OVF file, which is then imported to Virtualbox using the Import Appliance feature from the Virtualbox File menu.  The conversion to OVF file is reasonably slow, so you will have time to duck out for a steak and beer in between export and import.

The above link also discusses how to import Virtualbox images into VM Player or VM Workstation.

Scheduling Backups with SQL Server Express

SQL Server 2012 Express is the free and lite version of the Microsoft database offering for small stuff.   Some of the opportunities SQL Server Express edition provides is extensive, for example, someone running a Microsoft Access database can take advantage of linked tables on SQL Server instead of storing the data inside Access.   This might be enough to keep the I.T. Department happy for now, brings a new world of development and management capabilities to the database and sets your database up on a much more scalable platform as things take off.

In SQL Server 2012 there are 3 editions to download, Express, Express with Tools and Express with Advanced Services (which includes Tools), the latter which provides a level of Reporting and Data Integration capability.  You might as well download the Express Edition with Advanced Services as you get a level of capability to use Reporting Services and SQL Server Data Tools, whether you need it now or not.

Asides from the extensive list of limitations its a pretty cool offering from Microsoft.

The main risk in running Express edition databases is potential for loss of data – there is nothing out of the box that creates scheduled backups – you need to do this yourself.    The following reference outlines how to achieve unattended backups – create a stored procedure for the sole purpose of executing a backup of your databases which can then be scheduled using Windows Task Scheduler and sqlcmd.

You can run along and download your copy of SQL Server 2012 Express here

PowerPivot as a data source for Performance Point 2010

Here’s a quick run down of some considerations for using PowerPivot as a data source for Performance Point 2010.

First, make sure your integrated Microsoft Business Intelligence SQL Server 2012 Sharepoint 2010 environment has Service Pack 1 applied  The assumption here is you already have SQL Server 2012 PowerPivot integrated with Sharepoint 2010.    Now, as a small side consideration, if you think you may want your Power View reports to hit a multi dimensional Analysis Services cube, you could consider installing this update which provides this capability but also includes all the cumulative updates up to SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1.   The catch is its CTP.  Once you’re done you create the multi dimensional data source against your Power View report as follows

Moving on to Performance Point on PowerPivot, there are a few patches that you need to consider.  First, a fix is available that addresses a few problems, you may want to read about it and download here …

Second, you also must have the ADOMD 10 driver installed on the server on which you are authoring the Dashboard in order to access a PowerPivot workbook as a data source.   Once you’re done, instructions for how to create your PowerPivot data source in Performance Point included at the end of this article but note Performance Point Time Intelligence is not supported for PowerPivot data sources.

It is interesting Microsoft have not included a link to the ADOMD 10 driver in these instructions.  You can however find the ADOMD 10 driver on the SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 Resource Kit

I think thats about it, feel free to share your experiences on this.

SSAS – Size specified for a binding was too small, resulting in one or more

You attempt to process your cube and get the error “the size specified for a binding was too small, resulting in one or more….”.   Ok, ok, I get it, the screen is plagued with blotches of red and there does not appear to be any specific error codes  in each of the processing groups.

It is likely one of your dimensions now has an incorrect data type due to changes in the underlying source.  To resolve you may need to first refresh your data source view, check which objects are detected in the change list, then head over to the dimension that refers to that column in the data source view.

Once in dimension editor, select the attribute over in the attributes section, then in Properties, check the data type that is specified for each of the KeyColumns and NameColumn properties.  Expand until you see DataSize, make this something appropriate, then save and reprocess.

SSAS: Dimension contains more than one hierarchy, therefore the hierarchy must be explicitly specified

You attempt to query a member of a dimension but get the error “Dimension contains more than one hierarchy, therefore the hierarchy must be explicitly specified”.

This can happen when you don’t properly qualify a measure or dimension e.g. you specify [MeasureName] instead of Measures.[MeasureName] or you attempt to refer to a dimension attribute via [Dimension].Currentmember instead of [Dimension].[Hierarchy].CurrentMember – Checking all of your Calculations is likely to reveal the culprit.


Excel 2013 – Data Explorer Add-in Updates

Data Explorer is a new preview add-in for Excel 2013 that allows advanced data manipulation techniques, previously only available in SQL Server products.

The new release of the add-in includes a few new features, but more importantly bug fixes which might have frustrated you if you downloaded the release a short time ago.  Read about it here.

Download it here directly from Excel by selecting the Data Explorer tab and select Update.