26 October 2008

MCTS & MCITP Certifications for SQL Server 2008 BI

Last week I got the results of those beta exams (71-448, 71-452) and surprisingly, I passed both!

The surprise was because I passed them though I hadn't had a chance to work with SQL Server 2008 in a real project before, and that means there is something wrong with the exams that you can pass them based on your SQL Server 2005 experience and just reading about new features of the 2008 version.

But the good thing is that I've passed them and there is nothing to worry about till the next version! The next version of SQL Server code-named "Killimanjaro", will be released in the first half of 2010, according to Microsoft officials. The first tech preview test builds of Kilimanjaro are due in the first half of 2009. It will provide the foundation for Microsoft's first data warehouse appliance, code-named Madison, and a BI tool called Gemini that's being designed to bring a broader range of employees into the BI fold.

11 September 2008

A feedback on 71-452 (70-452) exam: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

I sat on that beta exam yesterday and here are some points:
  • There are 75 questions and the time is 3 hours which is a bit tight
  • Unlike 70-446, there is no case scenario and all questions are standalone (not related to each other)
  • Many data mining questions. Mostly about choosing the best algorithm.
  • A few around upgrading and migration strategy
  • Many questions about new features in SQL 2008, like CDC, MERGE, …
  • From the name of exam, I expected to see more “Design” related questions, but there were many development questions which I think they could be moved to the TS exam (70-448)

As usual I recommend you to have a look at the topics here and work on those that you are not familiar with.

I must wait for few weeks to get the result. Fingers crossed!

29 August 2008

An excellent quote

"The world is governed more by appearances than realities, so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it. "
- Daniel Webster"

27 August 2008

2008 CIO Technology Priorities

According to a survey by Gartner "Business Intelligence Applications" is the highest priority for CIOs. Here is the top 10 result:

13 August 2008

SQL Server 2008 RTM

Download SQL Server 2008 Enterprise 180-day evaluation from here:

SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack (August 2008). It contains 17 new redistributable and backward compatibility components and add-on providers. Download it from here:

Have you ever wondered what the last meeting before a product ships is like? Have a look at inside the SQL 2008 ship room!.

30 July 2008

A feedback on beta exam 71-448 (70-448)

I'm just coming back from MS beta exam 71-448 (TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance). There were too many questions (70!) and the time was around 3 hours which was more than enough.

It was a bit disappointing that not many questions were specifically related to SQL Server 2008 new features -not even 5 questions were specific to that!- so if you don't know much about the new features, don't worry!

SSAS: · many admin tasks · a few MDX · dimension settings · attribute properties · performance monitoring and tuning · using profiler for monitoring user roles · cube processing options · deployment options · setting permission

SSRS: · security · backup the SSRS database · setting parameters · assembly file · custom control · failover environment

SSIS: · a few questions around SSIS package configuration · transaction · a couple of Foreach loop (file)

Data Mining: · a few DMX questions

In total it was not tough if you have passed the 70-445 (SQL 2005) exam, you just need to review the topics from Microsoft website and play around the topics that you haven’t had chance to work on them.

Good luck!

11 June 2008

SQL Server 2008 RC0

Microsoft just released SQL Server 2008 RC0 (Release Candidate 0). It is expected that this will be the final release prior to SQL Server 2008 RTM in Q3/Q4 this calendar year. You can download it from here:

SQL Server 2008 RC0

New for this CTP are the AdventureWorks 2008 family of sample databases:

AdventureWorks 2008 sample database

17 May 2008

SSIS: Passing parameters from parent to child package

When using “Execute Package Task” in SSIS control flow, you can’t pass in any configuration options or variables to the child package. Here is a workaround to do that:

  1. In the parent package, create a variable for each variable you want to set in child package. It must be defined as a global variable.
  2. In the child package, create variables to correspond to the ones you created in the Parent package (e.g. “ChildVar” to correspond to “ParentVar”). Important: assign these variables valid default values, otherwise you will not be able to run the child package standalone.
  3. In the child package, open the package Configurations. Add a new configuration, and select the “Parent package variable”. Enter the variable name you added to the parent package (in our example “ParentVar”). Note that variables are case sensitive. Assign this to the variable of the child package (”ChildVar”).

Now when you run the parent package, it will pass the value of the “ParentVar” to the “ChildVar”. When you run the child package directly (without a parent package), it will use the default value of the “ChildVar”.

03 May 2008

A bug in ASP.Net 2.0 Gridview control and ...

I don’t know why it has to be like this! I know BUG is a non-detachable part of software development and according to a Murphy’s law: "Each computer code has five bugs, and this number does not depend on how many bugs have been already found." (!?)

But, when a bug was found and reported to a company like Microsoft, why it should take so long to fix it? And isn't it better if Microsoft add a note or comment in MSDN like: "this is a known bug and here is the workaround..." so that people don't get confused by getting a different result from a sample code? Or maybe Bill Gates wants to make developers more creative?!

To make the long story short, last week after several frustrating hours debugging a Gridview image button which was firing an command event twice, I found it's a known bug in ASP.Net 2.0 and was reported to Microsoft on 2006, and yet to be fixed! The funny thing is it works fine when you have a LinkButton instead of ImageButton.

I finally found a workaround for this:

Put your imagebutton in an ItemTemplate and add:

The rest is same as other Gridview commands, you need to write your code in RowCommand event of the Gridview and find the index of the row like this:

Dim index As Integer = Convert.ToInt32(e.CommandArgument) Dim myRow As GridViewRow = CartGrid.Rows(index) If (e.CommandName = "YourCommandName") Then ....

Have a look at this page, (a frustrated developer was trying to get help about this issue and answer of Microsoft Online Support...):


24 March 2008

"First to Know" Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 exam offer

Sign up to be the first get notified about SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 exams and receive 40% off!


29 February 2008

Goodbye SDM!

Today was my last day at SDM. I'm going to join the "contractors club" to experience a new type of work and want to be an independent consultant in the near future. Hence I'm starting a contract role in Tenix on a large-scale data migration project.

Working at SDM was a great experience for me and I have learned a lot and made some good friendships over the 1 year working with them.

27 February 2008

Exam 70-551: UPGRADE: MCAD Skills to MCPD Web Developer by Using the Microsoft® .NET Framework

Today I passed 70-551 (a tough one!) and upgraded my MCAD to MCPD. The exam was devided in 3 sections and each section was contained of 30 Questions:

  • Section 1 - .NET Framework Fundamentals
  • Section 2 - Core Web Application Development
  • Section 3 - Application Development Advanced Topics

Time for each section was around 70 minutes which seems not to be enought.Once you finish one section, you can't go back to that section again. Passing score is 700.

The first section was specific to web applications and it has a bunch of question with mobile pages, web forms and new web controls like webparts, login, profiles, site map and master page as the main topics.

The second part of the exam was the hardest one, it was related to framework and types with security attributes, xml serialization attributes, class design and generics in its topics.

The third part was the architecture one and it was lot of logical questions about designing solutions, unit testing, code coverage and integration test and best practices.

Check out this links:

22 February 2008

SQL Server 2008 - CTP 6

The latest Community Technology Preview of SQL Server 2008 is available.

SQL Server 2008 CTP6 is "feature complete," which means that Microsoft won't be adding or removing features between now and RTM later this year.

SQL Server 2008 February CTP 6 can be downloaded from here

13 February 2008

Microsoft Positioned in Leaders Quadrants in Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms

Congratulations Microsoft!

You can read the press release on the news here.

11 February 2008

Overview of SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence by Tom Casey

In this 9 minutes video, Tom Casey (general manager SQL Server Business Intelligence at Microsoft) gives an overview of BI in SQL Server 2008 (code name Catmai)


09 February 2008

What's New in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 for Business Intelligence

Integration Services in SQL Server 2008

  • SSIS 2008 provides the data integration features such as SSIS pipeline, SSIS persistent lookups, and SSIS data profiling that help you to integrate data more effectively.
  • SSIS 2008 provides data warehousing features and tools that help you to effectively manage large volumes of data. These features and tools include partitioned table parallelism, query optimization, Resource Governor, and data compression.
  • SQL Server 2008 provides the MERGE statement that helps you to simplify the code and enhance the system performance. You can also use the MERGE statement as a join between a target that is the recipient of the DML and a source that is the provider of the data.
  • SQL Server 2008 provides the CDC (Change Data Capture) feature that helps you to insert records, update, and delete activities applied to SQL Server 2008 tables. You can use CDC to store details of the changes in an easy relational format. CDC also provides a structured, reliable stream of change data that can be applied by users to dissimilar target representations of data.

Reporting Services in SQL Server 2008

  • SSRS 2008 includes the report server that is used to set a memory threshold for background operations and performance counters for monitoring service activity.
  • SSRS 2008 supports two modes of deployment for report server, the native mode and SharePoint integrated mode.
  • SSRS provides the report authoring features that help you to manage large reports. These features include Report Designer, data visualization, and Tablix.
  • SSRS provides the report delivery features that help you to generate reports. The features include rich-text, Office Word rendering, Office Excel rendering, export to Office Word and Office Excel, and report delivery through MOSS.

Analysis Services in SQL Server 2008

  • SSAS 2008 provides several Cube Designer enhancements for better detection and classification of attributes along with identification of member properties. These enhancements include Analysis Services personalization extensions, best practice alerts, enhanced dimension design, enhanced aggregate design, and dynamic named sets.
  • SSAS 2008 provides you with the capabilities to can enhance the data mining models by appending a new algorithm to Microsoft Time Series algorithm. This new algorithim is based on the ARIMA algorithm. This enhancement improves the accuracy and stability of predictions in the data mining models.
  • SSAS 2008 provides several performance enhancements to manage cube space. The enhancements include subspace computation, MOLAP-enabled write back capabilities, scale-out analysis, and scalable backup tool.

Source: MS Clinic 6189: What’s New in Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2008 for Business Intelligence

01 February 2008

PPS 2007 MCTS Exam 70-556 Now Available

Prometric already listed the exam on its site.

The official preparation guide for the exam: