The Raspberry Pi has been a huge hit since its launch in 2012, grabbing the attention of hobbyists and professionals alike. The option to buy a fully functional, credit-card sized computer for less than £30 has opened up a slew of possibilities for experimentation and creativity, regardless of budget. I’d been meaning to pick one up for a while, and finally got the push I needed when I started doing some freelance web work and needed a backup system for my client sites and databases. Reading Scott Hanselman’s post regarding the Computer Backup Rule of Three simply drove home the point. I also fancied getting all my media files off my hard drive and into a centralised location on my home network where they could be backed up, easily accessible, and viewed through my TV. Given the option of buying a pre-made NAS box from Amazon, or constructing my own and getting my teeth into that tasty Raspberry Pi, there was no choice to be made! Continue reading “Building a Raspberry Pi NAS: Hardware” »
I’ve been meaning to write something on Power BI for a long time now, and I’m a little late in getting round to writing this, as most of the dust has already settled after Microsoft sent out the first round of invites to the Power BI for Office 365 preview, and a lot of people have produced some amazing work with Power BI. Chris Webb has written a pretty comprehensive review on his blog, as have countless others.
What is Power BI?
For anyone living under a rock (or new to the world of MS BI), Power BI is a new offering from Microsoft which makes their new Excel-based self-service BI tools shareable and collaborative in a way that was previously only available for organisations rocking a SharePoint Enterprise installation. By hooking their toolkit up to Office 365, they’re providing a cloud-based ecosystem in which to share, manage and explore data, using their suite of data tools: Power Query (formerly Data Explorer), Power Pivot (formerly PowerPivot), Power View, and Power Map (formerly GeoFlow). If you want to know a bit more, I’ve got a more detailed post on the included functionality in Power BI for Office 365. Continue reading “Power BI for Office 365 first thoughts” »
I’ve really been neglecting the blog of late and have been taking a bit of a break from a lot of extra curricular business intelligence and data reading. I figured it was about time to get back to posting though, and as luck would have it, my colleague Stephen came to me with an interesting SSIS performance issue that presented the perfect opportunity for a quick blog post. I’ve not written much about SSIS lately, having been drawn off by the shiny sparkle of developments in the self-service BI sector such as Power BI, and playing with Big Data tools like Hadoop. But I still do a lot of work with SSIS and it’s still my go-to large scale ETL tool. Continue reading “Optimising SSIS to read from a view using OLE DB Source” »
Just a quick post regarding a strange problem I encountered while working on an SSAS Tabular model project. Built on the same Vertipaq technology as Power Pivot, it’s very easy to get started and produce quick, efficient data models. Unlike Power Pivot, which runs as an Excel add-in, SSAS Tabular models are developed in Visual Studio via the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) Business Intelligence add-on. However, once you load up the development environment, it’s almost exactly the same, the only difference really being that when you build a tabular model in VS, it is developed against a temporary cube on a pre-installed SSAS Tabular instance. Power Pivot just works entirely in memory, without requiring an SSAS instance.
After launching a number of really neat self-service business intelligence plugins and components over the past couple of years, Microsoft has finally announced their complete self-service BI package: Power BI for Office 365. Incorporating Microsoft’s four big self-service BI components of the past year or so; PowerPivot, PowerView, Data Explorer and GeoFlow, the Power BI suite combines these parts into a single, unified offering. Most exciting of all though, is the inclusion of a mobile application for either Windows (I’m assuming Win 8) or iPad, which could very well be the secretive “Project Helix”, revealed at last year’s SharePoint Conference. Continue reading “Microsoft announces Power BI for Office 365” »