SQL Server 2012: New Business Intelligence features

SQL Server 2012 has many new Business Intelligence (BI) features and enhancements.  Here are my top 12, in order of importance:

  1. Power View.  A fun, visual, and powerful drag-and-drop ad-hoc reporting tool.  It is a web-based end-user BI tool based on Silverlight.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Power View (“Project Crescent”)
  2. Tabular Model.  A new data model that along with the multidimensional model fall under the single unified platform called Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM).  The tabular model uses xVelocity, DAX, and is built on your existing relational model, making it faster, easier to use, and quicker to develop than the multidimensional model.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Details on the next version of SSAS
  3. Columnstore Indexes.  An xVelocity memory optimized columnstore index that groups and stores data for each column and then joins all the columns to complete the whole index. For some types of queries, the SQL Server query processor can take advantage of the columnstore layout to significantly improve query execution times.  Especially suited for data warehousing.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Project Apollo/Columnstore Indexes
  4. Data Quality Services (DQS).  A brand-new product that enables you to build a knowledge base and use it to perform a variety of critical data quality tasks, including correction, enrichment, standardization, monitoring, and de-duplication of your data.  See Microsoft Data Quality Services in SQL Server 2012
  5. Integration Services (SSIS) enhancements.  Tons of new features, such as a new project deployment model, undo/redo, shared connection managers, project parameters, SSIS catalog with automatic logging and reporting, and version control.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Details on the next version of SSIS
  6. SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT).  Its purpose is to provide a single development environment for all database-related project types by bringing BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio), “Data Dude” tools in Visual Studio 2010 Premium and Ultimate editions, and SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) into the same IDE.  It is based on the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 shell.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT), codename ‘Juneau”
  7. Master Data Services enhancements.  New features include an improved web user interface, Excel add-in, integration with DQS, and entity-based staging.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Master Data Services
  8. Business Intelligence Edition.  A brand-new SKU that includes all of the Standard editions capabilities, plus Power View, reporting and analytics, data-quality services and master-data services.  So you get all the BI-related features without having to purchase the Enterprise edition.  See Business Intelligence Edition
  9. PowerPivot enhancements.  New features include diagram view, KPI creation, hierarchies, perspectives, sort by other column.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): PowerPivot
  10. Reporting Services (SSRS) enhancements.  The new Data Alerts is like a subscription driven by changes in the source data,  Excel and Word rendering for 2010, and SharePoint Mode.  See SQL Server 2012 (“Denali”): Details on the next version of SSRS
  11. Analysis Services (SSAS) enhancements.  NUMA is now supported, allowing for more than 64 processors, support for SQL Server Extended Events, new profiler and trace events, improved processing time.  See SQL Server 2012: SSAS enhancements
  12. Table Partitioning enhancements.  Enhancements include support for 15,000 partitions, statistics generation footprint, and enhanced wizard options. See Introducing SQL Server 2012 Table Partitioning Improvements

More info:

My Top 5 BI Features in SQL Server 2012

SQL Server 2012 and Business Intelligence E-book

SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Innovations

What’s New for Business Intelligence in SQL Server 2012

What’s new in SQL Server 2012? Highlights of new Business Intelligence functionality in the latest release

Evolved BI

Video Business Intelligence and Data Visualization: Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Competitive Advantage Through BI Capabilities

We gave SQL Server 2012 one year to prove itself: What happened?

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
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5 Responses to SQL Server 2012: New Business Intelligence features

  1. steve allen says:

    Hi James, nice work on the list. I agree with most all of them, though with #8 the fact that you don’t get columnstore indexes, a key component of a solid DW strategy, to me means that it doesn’t contain ‘all the BI-related features’.

    • James Serra says:

      Thanks Steve, glad you like the list. I have to agree with you on columnstore indexes being a major missing BI feature in the BI edition. I guess MS needed some reason for companies to upgrade to the Enterprise version 🙂

  2. mahesh says:

    Thanks James.. you are g888

  3. Koen Verbeeck says:

    #6: SSMS is integrated in SSDT? OK, they both use the Visual Studio shell, but they are still both seperate tools, aren’t they?

    • James Serra says:

      Hi Koen,

      To clarify, SSDT added features that are in SSMS – they are still separate tools and most dba’s are better off continuing to use SSMS. SSDT uses the Visual Studio shell, but SSMS does not.