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SQL Server 2012 SP1 is here & it’s huge for SharePoint 2013 BI

SQL Server 2012 SP1 is here & it’s huge for SharePoint 2013 BI

This is a massive deal for SharePoint 2013 BI.  Here is an excerpt from What’s New in SQL Server 2012:

Business Intelligence highlights (with SQL Server 2012 SP1, Office and SharePoint Server 2013 )

Business Intelligence highlights (with SQL Server SP1, Office and SharePoint Server 2013 Preview) are:

  • Enable self-service BI as a natural part of users day-to-day activities in Excel 2013:

  • Access and mash-up data from any source (PowerPivot). Documentation related to PowerPivot in Excel 2013 (

  • Stunning visualizations and data discovery (Power View). Documentation related to Power View in Excel (

  • Work with hundreds of millions of rows of data (powered by xVelocity in-memory technologies).

  • Discover, assess and audit user created spreadsheets via SharePoint Server 2013 Preview.

  • A new version of the Reporting Services add-in for SharePoint and an updated SharePoint mode report server that supports SharePoint 2013. For more information, see the following:

  • A new architecture for SQL Server 2012 SP1 CTP4 PowerPivot that supports a PowerPivot server outside a SharePoint 2013 farm. A Windows Installer package (spPowerpivot.msi) that enhances the PowerPivot for SharePoint experience. Additional features include PowerPivot Gallery, schedule data refresh, and management dashboard. For more information, see the following:

  • Share and collaborate on self-service BI assets via SharePoint Server 2013 Preview and SQL Server 2012 SP1.”

The key takeaway and true game changer is that the SQL SSAS engine for PowerPivot is no longer required to be on a SharePoint box.  This means you no longer need a SQL license for your SharePoint App server to be able to run PowerPivot.  Don’t miss understand, you still need to license SQL to run PowerPivot, but you can do it on a separate box that can support multiple SharePoint farms and multiple Tabular BISM solutions.  Pretty huge shift.

You can download SQL Server 2012 SP1 & SQL Server 2012 SP1 Feature Pack from these links.

Enjoy… I know I will!

Hooray, it’s a book!: “Developing Business Intelligence Apps for SharePoint”

Hooray, it’s a book!: “Developing Business Intelligence Apps for SharePoint”


Over the past year I have been spending my night’s & weekends working on a book with my co-author, Dave Feldman, and I am proud to say that we have completed our draft of “Developing Business Intelligence Apps for SharePoint”

Through the book you will learn to create dynamic Business Intelligence solutions for SharePoint, using Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch, SQL Server 2012, and other tools and technologies. This hands-on book shows you how to create data-rich BI applications with SharePoint faster and with more capabilities than previously possible. You’ll learn the entire process, from high-level concepts, to low-code development and deployment, to setup and configuration.

  • Quickly build a robust schema and applications with Visual Studio LightSwitch
  • Leverage PowerPivot v2 to build a business intelligence semantic model
  • Create reports with Excel Services, Report Builder, and Power View

The happy thing about our book is that we saw the CSOM model of SharePoint 2013 coming down the road and architected our solutions in the book so that they are relevant to both the 2010 & 2013 platforms (and hopefully many versions of SharePoint to come).

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon now and will be available via O’Reilly Early Release.   Dave & I will be at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas where O’Reilly will have a form of the book available (not quite sure if it will be a few chapters or what at that point, but there will be something!). 

I will say that Dave & I were warned by Andrew Connell & Scot Hillier when we started talking about writing this book that taking on a book project is much like having a child.  9+ months of long uncomfortable sleepless nights to give birth to something that you hope goes on to do good things in this world (I am paraphrasing a bit here… basically they both said it was going to suck something awful, but we would be happy when it was all over).  Well gents, you were right on all counts.  The fun part is that while I have 2 kids and sort of had an idea of what something like that was going to be like, Dave’s wife is pregnant with their first child and is due this SUNDAY.  Needless to say, we are glad to be done before Baby “Cookie Monster” Feldman arrives. smile

Getting PowerPivot & Power View working in Office 2013

Getting PowerPivot & Power View working in Office 2013

One of the many exciting features of Office 2013 is that PowerPivot now comes as a part of the installation & Power View is now available in the client for Excel 2013 , rather than being an post installation add-in for PowerPivot and web resident only for PowerView.  PowerPivot is still a COM add-in, but is not more tightly integrated with the product & Power View is now a COM Add-in.

I upgraded to Office 2013, removing the 2010 version, on Monday night and immediately I was faced with a problem.  PowerPivot showed in the ribbon, but was not clickable! After attempting to click in the greyed out bar for about 5 minutes I started digging in.  I found that PowerPivot was active in the Add-ins section, but something didn’t seem quite right:


This Add-in was the SQL 2012 version.  Once I unchecked this and went back to the Add-ins section I found the newer version of PowerPivot was now available.  There was a conflict with the older version blocking the newer version from being able to be activated.


Once I checked “Microsoft Office PowerPivot for Excel 2013” (and Power View since I was already here and excited to check it out) the Manage option in the ribbon lit up and I was off to the races.


Since I still need to do work with PowerPivot v2 models and am not willing to upgrade everything to the beta version yet, I did re-install Office 2010 and now have the fun experience of two PowerPivot tabs in my ribbon in Excel 2013 (doesn’t happen in Excel 2010), but if I disable the older version of PowerPivot in 2013, it disables it in 2010 as well. 



I have yet to have an issue with having both add-ins active at once since reactivating the older version, as the active add-in is the only one that lights up.


More to come on the great new features of PowerPivot, Power View and Inquire, but for now its time to get back to my vacation smile

PowerPivot & Claims Based Authentication–Is there hope in SQL 2012?

PowerPivot & Claims Based Authentication–Is there hope in SQL 2012?

I promised an update on this in my previous article and it is time to share what I have learned.

The issue:

As many of us have painfully found, PowerPivot v1 on a Claims Based Authentication web application is not supported in SharePoint 2010.  I had a case open with Microsoft last year that had the aspirations of rectifying that situation.  We had hoped that working with the PowerPivot team (a part of the SQL Server Product team) and the SharePoint Product team that we would be able to find a way for Microsoft to change their stance and provide us a way to allow PowerPivot v1 to be supported. 

The answer for v1:

Sadly, the changes that would have to be made were too drastic for Microsoft to make in the middle of PowerPivot v1’s existing product lifecycle. 

The new and improved question:

That begs the question: Is there hope that PowerPivot v2 will be able to work on a Claims Based Authentication web application?

The caveated answer:

Keeping in mind that the product has not launched yet and things can still change (they won’t, but lets keep hoping) and that all of the SQL 2012 TechNet that are posted currently have the following statement at the top of them:

[This documentation is for preview only, and is subject to change in later releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders.]

The answer is still no.  In the TechNet article entitled “Hardware and Software Requirements (PowerPivot for SharePoint and Reporting Services in SharePoint Mode)” you will find the section under PowerPivot Sofware Requirements says in reference to SharePoint web applications:

PowerPivot for SharePoint only supports SharePoint web applications that are configured for classic-mode authentication. If you are adding PowerPivot for SharePoint to an existing farm, be sure that the web application you plan to use it with is configured for classic-mode authentication. For instructions on how to check authentication mode, see the section “Verify the Web application uses Classic mode authentication” in Deploy PowerPivot Solutions to SharePoint.“

Well damn.  Is there any hope that this is ever going to change?

Keep your chins up.  Rumor in the interwebs is that there is going to be a new version of SharePoint coming in sometime soon.  I can tell you that Microsoft has heard and continues to hear our cries out about this matter.  The more we raise this up as an issue, the more real it will be to Microsoft and the more likely they will be to invest in making the change.  If there is no perception that this is an issue, then there is no attention that will be paid and no investment dollars that will be spent.

If this is an issue for you, make sure that your Microsoft reps hear about it.  I talk about this with every Product Team member that I can get to listen to me for 5 minutes and I have never met with anything other than a warm reception and a sincere desire to know the feedback on how to make the product better.

Is this going to stop you from deploying PowerPivot v2 and Power View?

Not a snowman’s chance in the hot Jamaica sun.  I cannot wait for the final bits to drop so that I can get this amazing new product suite into the hands of every customer who wants to do BI.  The new BI story is too game changing not to get on the bus, and if I am riding it why not be driving smile

The SQL Server 2012 Launch is almost here!

The SQL Server 2012 Launch is almost here!

We are a mere 2 days away from the Virtual Launch of SQL Server 2012 and there is a ton of great information & free training (and some pay for) that is primed and ready to go for us to digest. Here is a list of some of the events that you can partake in:


This is it people! What we have been waiting so long for has finally arrived. There is a full day of speakers in multiple tracks to enlighten us on all that is new and wonderful in this version of SQL Server.

Date & Time: March 7th, 2012 @ 11a Eastern Time
Cost: Free
Registration Link:
Keynotes: Ted Kummert & Quentin Clark
Full agenda:

A few of the highlights:

Powerful Self Service Analysis with PowerPivot

Julie Strauss

Empowering End User Insight Through Rapid Data Exploration & Visualization with Power View

Carolyn Chau

Going Under the Hood with the New BI Semantic Model

Ashvini Sharma

A Technical Best Practices Tour with ColumnStore Index

Susan Price & Eric Hanson

Introduction to SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, New High Availability Solution

Santosh Balasubramanian


A 12 City Tour featuring 4 of the SQL Server Product group of highly-skilled experts who have come to divulge the most revealing facts and features around SQL Server 2012.

Date & Time: Various
Cost: Free
Registration Link:


Join SQL Server experts as they take an in-depth look at the hottest SQL Server topics over 24 consecutive (and free!) technical webcasts.

Date & Time: March 21, 2012 beginning at 00:00 GMT (8pm Eastern Time)
Cost: Free
Registration Link: Big long ugly link

A few of the highlights:

Performance Tuning for Pirates!

John Sterrett

VertiPaq Under the Hood

Marco Russo

SQL Server First Responder Kit

Kendra Little

Moves Like Jagger – Upgrading to SQL Server 2012

Mark Broadbent

Automate Policy-Based Management Using PowerShell

Allen White



During the Spring Connections Conference in Las Vegas the in-person SQL Server Launch event will be taking place.

Date & Time: March 21, 2012 beginning at 00:00 GMT (8pm Eastern Time)
Cost: See website
Registration Link:
Keynotes: Shawn Bice

A few of the highlights:
SQL Server Connections happens to be going on alongside Visual Studio Connections, ASP.Net Connections, SharePoint Connections (where I will be speaking), Silverlight Connections, HTML5 Connections, and Cloud Connections.


PASS SQLSaturday’s are free 1-day training events for SQL Server professionals that focus on local speakers, providing a variety of high-quality technical sessions, and making it all happen through the efforts of volunteers.

Date & Time: Various
Cost: Free
Registration Link:

Putting a bow on an amazing year of SharePoint

Putting a bow on an amazing year of SharePoint

Last week I had the honor of presenting “Heavy Metal PowerPivot Redux” to the San Antonio SharePoint Users Group.  My slide deck from that session can be found here:

The SASUGers were a great group of folks to present to and the location was tremendous.  We were hosted by Jeff Deverter at the RackSpace facility in Eastern San Antonio.  They purchased the Windsor Park Mall and have converted it into their offices.  It was completely wild experience touring a mall that I had shopped at previously and finding that it was now a state of the art office facility, complete with slide.

Here are a few pictures from the evening:

From the presentation, & you have to love an SPUG that provides beer at the meeting!

a b

Touring the RackSpace Facility

c d

Time to ride the slide!

e f

Yes, I got stuck…


A post-slide group photo with the early birds


Needless to say it was a terrific evening and I can’t wait to come back and speak again at SASUG.  Thanks to Tom Resing, Jessica Saucedo, and Jeff Deverter for all they did to make it possible.

SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate is here!

SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate is here!

SQL2012We are creeping slowly toward the release of SQL Server 2012 and all of its new, fun features for SharePoint 2010!  The first Release Candidate of SQL Server 2012, known as RC0, dropped today and is publicly available for download.  

Here are a some links worth checking out:

Download SQL 2012 RC0 – Get the software here!

SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate is now Available! – SQL Server Reporting Services Team Blog

Announcing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate 0 (RC0) – Analysis Services and PowerPivot Team Blog

What’s New In Power View – SQL Server Reporting Services Team Blog

The Pivot Transform – Now with UI! – SSIS Team Blog

SSIS and PowerShell in SQL Server 2012 – SSIS Team Blog

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Training Kit Now available for Download

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 Semantic Language Statistics RC0

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 Release Candidate 0 (RC0) Manageability Tool Kit

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 Express RC0

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 RC0 Master Data Services Add-in For Microsoft® Excel®

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2012 PowerPivot® for Microsoft® Excel® 2010 Release Candidate 0 (RC0)

I am still digesting all of the changes that the teams were able to bring into RC0 and am excited to spend the weekend working with my team to examine what they all are going to mean for SharePoint 2010 integration with Microsoft BI.

More to come as the weeks go on…