SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Power View (“Project Crescent”)

Power View (code name “Project Crescent”) is a new interactive data exploration and visual presentation experience coming in the next version of SQL Server 2012, code-named “Denali”.  It will offer a fun, visual, and powerful drag-and-drop ad hoc reporting experience.  It is an web-based end-user BI tool based on Silverlight.

UPDATE on 10/13/2011: It has been officially named “Power View” (note the space in the name).

At first glance it resembles the SSRS report builder, but the resemblance ends there as the features and functionality FAR out reach anything currently available.  Users are able to build and format reports based on “models” that are deployed to the server.  Each Crescent report is based on a PowerPivot model that can be created within Excel or Visual Studio 2010.  The models are deployed to SharePoint and from there users can create their reports through the web front end.

It is done all in a browser – there is nothing to deploy.  It is presentation-ready, meaning there is not a design mode.  It is not meant to replace SSRS or Report Builder as those are for creating sophisticated static reports while Crescent is for ad-hoc reports.  It is also not meant to replace PerformancePoint as that is for KPI’s and scorecards.

One of the interesting features in Crescent is called Storyboarding. This feature allows users to embed charts and graphs in Microsoft PowerPoint. The cool thing is it maintains a live link between PowerPoint and the underlying data.

Crescent uses the VertiPaq engine and DAX via BISM.  It requires SharePoint and SSRS and works in SSRS SharePoint Integrated mode (not in native mode).

You can launch Crescent multiple ways: 1) If you have a PowerPivot gallery that has workbooks that contain PowerPivot models, then select a workbook and click on “Create Crescent Report”  2) In the next version of PowerPivot you will be able to save PowerPivot models while in Excel to the SharePoint server in a shared documents site, then select the model in SharePoint and click on “Create Crescent Report”.  The data source type used will be the new BISM which uses stored credentials  3) In BIDS, create a BISM model and publish it to the analysis server, and then within Crescent select the BISM model.

Note that Project “Crescent” is not in Denali CTP1.  The first public CTP Crescent is currently planned for the next CTP of Denali (UPDATE: CTP3 made available here on July 12th, 2011).

Another limitation in the upcoming CTP release is that in SSAS, models built using the multidimensional project will not support DAX queries (and thereby Crescent, which uses DAX to retrieve data from the model).  So Crescent will only work with a tabular project.  Microsoft has said they recognize that removing this restriction is very important for customers with existing Analysis Services solutions to be able to upgrade to SQL Server “Denali” and leverage Crescent.

If you go to More demos of Power View available you can create/play with Power View right away through your web browser!

More info:

A short demo was made at PASS Summit 2010 (requires PASS account – Day 1, about 1:30 mark.  8 Minutes long, presented by Amir Netz, Microsoft’s Distinguished Engineer)

Brief 4 minute interview with Amir Netz

Extended demo from TechEd 2011 called Abundantly “Crescent”: Demos Galore

SQL Server codename “Denali” CTP3, including Project “Crescent” is now publically available (from SQL Server Reporting Services Team Blog)

Project Crescent Overview (frequently updated CTP3 info)

Getting Started with Project “Crescent” and PowerPivot for Excel in SQL Server Code-Named “Denali” Community Technology Preview 3 (CTP3)

SQL Server Project “Crescent” Demo from WPC11

PowerView lessons on MSBIAcademy

Power View Demo – SQL Server 2012 RC0

Getting to know PowerView – Part 1 Getting Started

Presenting Power View Reports to Users

About James Serra

James currently works for Microsoft specializing in big data and data warehousing using the Analytics Platform System (APS), a Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) architecture. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence/MDM architect and developer, specializing in the Microsoft BI stack. He is a SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
This entry was posted in Power View/Project Crescent, SQL Server 2012, SQLServerPedia Syndication. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Power View (“Project Crescent”)

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  4. Bostonmusicdave says:

    Sorry…story boarding, PowerPoint, and many other key features were cut from the product before teched. This version will be very much a v1 with only a couple chart types supported…v2 should be better

  5. Tungloa says:

    If you want the functionality of Crescent but would like to have it without installing the entire Microsoft stack, please take a look at this comparison of Microsoft Crescent and Windward AutoQuery. AutoQuery provides all the functionality of Crescent with no server components to install, configure, and administer.

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  8. Santosh says:

    Hi,
    Can anybody please explain how project crescent works? I mean does it query behind the scenes to get the visual representation?

    Thanks,
    Santosh

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