Category Archives

44 Articles

SQL Server 2017: It’s here!

Anxiously you have waited for this day. The day you could finally get your hands on the latest version of the best database platform available. Today is that day. SQL Server 2017 is available and it runs on Windows, Linux and Docker. Find more info here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-2017. What changed? So many things it is hard to mention them all. Have a look at the Ignite sessions to get a feel for what happened.

 

SQL Server news from connect start to resonate

Hi all,

A month ago at the Connect event in New York Microsoft did some anouncements on SQL Server vNext and Azure Data Services.
It’s good to see the traction it’s getting!

I work with a lot of partners on implementing Microsoft stuff and the partners are very keen in getting the latest info on new capabilities.
Also they enlist in new online and in classroom courses on the new stuff. So let’s take a quick look:

  • Azure Data Lake store and analytics went live in Novmeber, This is a no limits data lake with on-demand analytics that instantly scales to your needs. With petabyte size files and trillions of objects and parallel processing!
  • R Server for Azure HD Insight for Largest R compatible parallel analytics ML library with terabyte-scale machine learning!
  • SQL Server on Linux public preview is released. Check in out on a linux box!
  • Moving selected Enterprise Edition capabilities to SQL Server Standard like in memory and Polybase.

And last but not least: connectivity to all top programming languages!

 

Power BI Refresh scenarios against data storage solutions explained

A recurring theme with customers and partners is Power BI data refresh. More specifically, there is some confusion on what refresh scenario requires a Pro version and what can be done with the Free version of Power BI. I made the diagram below to help explain this. It shows the refresh scenarios against data storage solutions, such as SQL Azure, SQL in a virtual machine in Azure or SQL server on premises. I used these as examples, there are other options as well. I think the overall time carries over to other data storage solutions. The diagram shows the refresh that can be done using a Power BI Free account as orange and the refresh scenarios that need Power BI Pro as green lines. As shown in the diagram, if  you want to refresh against on-premises sources or a database running in a VM in Azure you will need a gateway and Power BI Pro. This applies not only to the creator of the report and schedule but also to every consumer. If you use PAAS solutions for data storage in Azure such as SQL Azure, it becomes a bit more difficult and it is really dependent on the type of refresh required. If you need a refresh cycle higher than once a day (either max 8 times per 24 hours or live) you will need Power BI Pro. If you just want to refresh against such as SQL Azure and once a day is enough you can do that using Power BI Free. Again, the license requirement carries over from author to viewer; if the author of the report requires Pro, then the viewers also need Pro.

Power BI Refresh scenarios against data storage solutions

Hope this helps. If you have any questions or feedback, please comment below!

SQL Server op Linux? Ja dus!

Als iemand een paar jaar terug tegen mij had gezegd dat Microsoft Multi platform zou gaan en dat ook SQL Server op Linux zou uitkomen, dan had ik hem voor gek verklaard. Echter sinds de komst van Satya Nadella als CEO en mensen als Scott Guthrie (CVP voor Cloud & Enterprise) waait er een frisse wind door Microsoft!

En als Microsoft employee voelde ik natuurlijk al wat aankomen, maar het is toch altijd weer top om het nieuws dan nu in de buitenwereld te zien landen: Gister heeft Microsoft de Linux versie van SQL Server geannonceerd in preview. Dit betreft voorlopig alleen het RDBMS en niet de overige SQL tools als SSRS en SSAS, maar een mooie start om nu ook op Linux de (volgens Gartner) de leading database te kunnen runnen!

Ik zou het leuk vinden als jullie na het testen van deze versie op het blog zouden willen reageren met de eerste indruk van de performance van deze preview versie.

De blogpost van Scott over de annoncering: http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/03/07/announcing-sql-server-on-linux/

SQL groeten,

Harry

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Final post (post #14)

This post is #14 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
Post #7 – Active Directory setup
Post #8 – Configuring Password policy
Post #9 – Installing System Center Endpoint Protection
Post #10 – Installing SQL Server
Post #11 – Installing SharePoint Server
Post #12 – Installing PowerPivot for SharePoint
Post #13 – Configuring PowerPivot for SharePoint

Wow. This has been a long and wild ride. But you and I made it together. We now have the full recipe to automatically configure a Microsoft BI demo machine with PowerShell. Of course there is more to be done, such as configuring other Service Accounts and deploying demo content; this script however saves me a lot of time every time I need to stand up a new demo machine.

You can download the script on Github. Please note (again) that the code is provided as-is and you should use it at your own risk. It is probably still buggy but should give you a good starting point to adapt it to your needs.

I enjoyed the ride with you; hope I made your life a bit easier of the course of this series. Enjoy!

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Configuring PowerPivot (post #13)

This post is #13 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
Post #7 – Active Directory setup
Post #8 – Configuring Password policy
Post #9 – Installing System Center Endpoint Protection
Post #10 – Installing SQL Server
Post #11 – Installing SharePoint Server
Post #12 – Installing PowerPivot for SharePoint

Now that PowerPivot for SharePoint has been installed, we need to configure it. I split the configuration into two parts since we need a reboot in between and used MSDN for reference: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh230903.aspx.

Step A: configuring SharePoint and deploying PowerPivot features

In Post #11 we talked about installing SharePoint, but the actual SharePoint provisioning was not done then. We will do it here in one go with installing PowerPivot features.

 

Step B: updating farm credentials and starting service applications

After the PowerPivot features have been deployed we need to configure Service Applications to get PowerPivot to work.

 

Now we have seen all the steps required to build a Microsoft BI demo machine! The next post will serve as a wrap up and present a download for the full script.

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Installing PowerPivot for SharePoint (post #12)

This post is #12 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
Post #7 – Active Directory setup
Post #8 – Configuring Password policy
Post #9 – Installing System Center Endpoint Protection
Post #10 – Installing SQL Server
Post #11 – Installing SharePoint Server

Ok, now that both SQL Server and SharePoint Server are installed, we just need to set up PowerPivot for SharePoint and configure it. Easy huh? Well, it turns out it is pretty difficult to get it right. Installation is not difficult (this post) but the configuration is harder (the next post). Here is how to install PowerPivot. I used MSDN for the info: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee210645.aspx.

Installing PowerPivot involves mounting the SQL Server Installation Media and calling the setup with the right parameters.

Next time: configuring PowerPivot.

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Installing SharePoint (post #11)

This post is #11 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
Post #7 – Active Directory setup
Post #8 – Configuring Password policy
Post #9 – Installing System Center Endpoint Protection
Post #10 – Installing SQL Server

Wow, so the last post was pretty intense, wasn’t it? I think we are ready for the next one: installing SharePoint. To build this script I used the following sources: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/14582.sharepoint-2013-install-prerequisites-offline-or-manually-on-windows-server-2012-a-comprehensive-guide.aspx#Installing_the_Roles_and_Features_for_SharePoint_2013_on_Windows_Server_2012_Offline_with_PowerShell and http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uksharepoint/archive/2013/03/18/scripted-installation-of-sharepoint-2013-and-office-web-apps-server-from-the-field-part-2.aspx.

Since this is again a quite lengthly script we will split it up in steps.

Step A: enabling IIS and other features

This step enables a whole load of features on Windows that are required by SharePoint, including IIS. If a restart is required, the script will reboot after the setup of the features. Some times your machine might reboot more than once to complete the setup of all these features.

 

Step B: Installing SharePoint Prerequisites

SharePoint itself has a number of prerequisites; in this still we will install them all.

 

Step C: Installing SharePoint

SharePoint is installed in this step from the ISO that the script mounts.

 

Step D: Cleaning up

This step simply unmounts the SharePoint installation media.

 

Pff, are we done yet? No! Next up: Installing PowerPivot for SharePoint.

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Installing SQL Server (post #10)

This post is #10 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
Post #7 – Active Directory setup
Post #8 – Configuring Password policy
Post #9 – Installing System Center Endpoint Protection

In this tenth post we will get to the heart of it: installing SQL Server. After this script completes we will have SQL Agent, SQL Database, Analysis Services (multidimensional and tabular), Integration Services, Data Quality Services, Master Data Services, FullText search, Filestreaming, Development and Management tools and Reporting Services (both native and SharePoint integrated mode) installed. This script will be lengthier than earlier scripts simply because there is a lot more to do. Info I used to create this script: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms144259.aspx. Here we go.

Step A: creating new service accounts

In this step we first remove any service account that starts with ‘SQL Server’ and then create new serviceaccounts using the configured password.

 

Step B: making sure required features are installed

In this step we make sure .NET 3.5 feature is enabled in Windows.

 

Step C: Mounting the ISO and set up the parameters

We can now mount the SQL Server installation ISO and set up parameters for the setup to run with. We will do two phases (passes) since we cannot install both SSRS Native and SharePoint integrated mode and SSAS Multidimensional and Tabular mode in one go.

 

Step D: do the actual installations

Now we execute SQL Server setup with the right argument list. This configures instance names, service accounts and passwords and the features to install. The install will be silent.

 

Step E: wrapping up

In this step we unmount the SQL Server installation media and write to the log.

 

 

Next step: installing SharePoint

Automatically building a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – Installing System Center Endpoint Protection (post #9)

This post is #9 in the series to automatically build a Microsoft BI machine using PowerShell – see the start of series.

In this series so far:

Start of series – introduction and layout of subjects
Post #2 – Preparation: install files using Azure disk
Post #3 – Preparation: install files using Azure File Service
Post #4 –Preparation: logging infrastructure
Post #5 – Master script
Post #6 – Disabling Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration
Post #7 – Active Directory setup
Post #8 – Configuring Password policy

Although in the last step we configured a very permissive password policy we need a bit of security, so that is why I opted to install System Center Endpoint Protection. Now, in Azure you can also have extensions for security (both with Microsoft and 3rd party security products) so probably you will never install System Center Endpoint protection yourself, but for the sake of reference, here is how to install it using PowerShell.

Next step: installing SQL Server

%d bloggers like this: