Review: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2

By Logan G. Harbaugh, Network World |  Software, SQL Server

BIDS is a Visual studio shell for developing BI solutions using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). The result is a fluid solution that allows end users to create databases, find data, process it, analyze it and create reports, all using a very powerful set of tools that don't require a set approach – the user can start with the database, or with the analysis tools, or create a workflow, and connect the parts together on the fly.

The Master Data Services application is accessible through a Web application, providing a simple, standardized interface to create a model for data, making it easy to define data types, groups and a tree structure to contain and organize the data.Once the data structures are defined, hierarchies created and relationships defined, you can set up security between various levels, import data into the model, browse the data, add or refine relationships, then export the data and review the results. The overall process is similar to developing applications in Visual Studio, but oriented specifically towards creating standard data structures.

StreamInsight is a separate application that is installed in addition to the SQL Server, and also requires users be added to the right group to enable the service. StreamInsight is an extension to Visual Studio intended to handle real-time data streams. It can import large volumes of data, handle historical as well as real-time data, and analyze as well as record the data. While the initial thrust of the application is oriented towards recording events such as mouse clicks or other types of user inputs, any sort of analog or digital data can be used. The Visual Studio tools are used to create data structures for real-time events, while the StreamInsight Event Flow Debugger provides tools to trace events.

The data-tier functionality in Visual Studio allows a developer to extract, modify and deploy databases as part of applications. Rather than the process previously required with a separate install of a database application, scripts to create and populate the database, and then more scripts to connect the database to the application, the entire development and deployment process is greatly simplified.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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