On April 14, 2010, Microsoft Press (blog | twitter) released my latest book, co-authored with Ross Mistry (twitter), as a free ebook download – Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. As the title implies, this ebook is an introduction to the latest SQL Server release. Although you’ll find a comprehensive review of the product’s features in this book, you will not find the step-by-step details that are typical in my other books. For those readers who are interested in a more interactive learning experience, I have created two samples file for download:

Here’s a recap of the business intelligence chapters and the samples I used to generate the screen shots by chapter:

Chapter 6: Scalable Data Warehousing covers a new edition of SQL Server, Parallel Data Warehouse. Understandably, Microsoft did not ship me the software and hardware to set up my own Parallel Data Warehouse environment for testing purposes and consequently you won’t see any screenshots in this chapter. I received a lot of information and a lot of help from the product team during the development of this chapter to ensure its technical accuracy.

Chapter 7: Master Data Services is a new component in SQL Server. After you install Master Data Services (MDS), which is a separate installation from SQL Server although it’s found on the same media, you can install sample models to explore (which is what I did to create screenshots for the book). To do this, you deploying packages found at \Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\Master Data Services\Samples\Packages. You will first need to use the Configuration Manager (in the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2\Master Data Services program group) to create a database and a Web application for MDS. Then when you launch the application, you’ll see a Getting Started page which has a Deploy Sample Data link that you can use to deploy any of the sample packages.

Chapter 8: Complex Event Processing is an introduction to another new component, StreamInsight. This topic was way too large to cover in-depth in a single chapter, so I focused on information such as architecture, development models, and an overview of the key sections of code you’ll need to develop for your own applications. StreamInsight is an engine that operates on data in-flight and as such has no user interface that I could include in the book as screenshots. The November CTP version of SQL Server 2008 R2 included code samples as part of the installation, but these are not the official samples that will eventually be available in Codeplex. At the time of this writing, the samples are not yet published.

Chapter 9: Reporting Services Enhancements provides an overview of all the changes to Reporting Services in SQL Server 2008 R2, and there are many! In previous posts, I shared more details than you’ll find in the book about new functions (Lookup, MultiLookup, and LookupSet), properties for page numbering, and the new global variable RenderFormat. I will confess that I didn’t use actual data in the book for my discussion on the Lookup functions, but I did create real reports for the blog posts and will upload those separately. For the other screenshots and examples in the book, I have created the IntroSQLServer2008R2Samples project for you to download. To preview these reports in Business Intelligence Development Studio, you must have the AdventureWorksDW2008R2 database installed, and you must download and install SQL Server 2008 R2. For the map report, you must execute the PopulationData.sql script that I included in the samples file to add a table to the AdventureWorksDW2008R2 database. The IntroSQLServer2008R2Samples project includes the following files:

  • 01_AggregateOfAggregates.rdl to illustrate the use of embedded aggregate functions
  • 02_RenderFormatAndPaging.rdl to illustrate the use of page break properties (Disabled, ResetPageNumber), the PageName property, and the RenderFormat global variable
  • 03_DataSynchronization.rdl to illustrate the use of the DomainScope property
  • 04_TextboxOrientation.rdl to illustrate the use of the WritingMode property
  • 05_DataBar.rdl
  • 06_Sparklines.rdl
  • 07_Indicators.rdl
  • 08_Map.rdl to illustrate a simple analytical map that uses color to show population counts by state
  • PopulationData.sql to provide the data necessary for the map report

Chapter 10: Self-Service Analysis with PowerPivot introduces two new components to the Microsoft BI stack, PowerPivot for Excel  and PowerPivot for SharePoint, which you can learn more about at the PowerPivot site. To produce the screenshots for this chapter, I created the Sales Analysis workbook which you can download (although you must have Excel 2010 and the PowerPivot for Excel add-in installed to explore it fully). It’s a rather simple workbook because space in the book did not permit a complete exploration of all the wonderful things you can do with PowerPivot. I used a tutorial that was available with the CTP version as a basis for the report so it might look familiar if you’ve already started learning about PowerPivot.

In future posts, I’ll continue exploring the new features in greater detail. If there’s any special requests, please let me know!