What’s New in SQL Server 2008 R2

SQL Server 2008 R2 aka Kilmajaro is due for release on May 6th, 2010 and is a much more Business Intelligence focused release. It has a bunch of new features as well as a number of improvements to existing features.

What’s New?

There are three main new features which we’ll take a look at here:

Master Data Services:

This is a “database, configuration tool, Web application, and Web service” that is used to “manage your organization’s master data and maintain an auditable record of that data as it changes over time”. This can then serve up the data for BI & Reporting tools such as Sharepoint, SSRS, SAP Crystal Reports etc for use around the business.

For information on architecture, deployment, security and more, see here. A great getting started guide can be found here

PowerPivot for Sharepoint

“Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint extends SharePoint 2010 and Excel Services to add server-side processing, collaboration, and document management support for the PowerPivot workbooks that you publish to SharePoint”.

PowerPivot enables Excel workbooks to easily work with over 1,000,000 rows of data and still perform quick calculations…see my other post here.

3 tier diagram of client, middle, backend add-ins

.A great MSDN look at PowerPivot for Sharepoint can be found here.

Multi-Server Administration and Data-Tier Application:

This “forms a central repository for performance data and management policies that tailor the operation of instances of the Database Engine”. It also includes the ability to connect to a SQL Azure Database.

More info on the manageability side of SQL 2008 R2 is here.

What’s Enhanced?

SQL Server Reporting Services (SRSS) have been given a huge boost in SQL 2008 R2, to help bring them closer to dedicated Business Intelligence platforms such as SAP Business Objects Crystal Reports Servers and Business Object EDGE.

Sharepoint Integration: New features include:

  • Support for multiple Sharepoint Zones
  • New Data extension
  • Query designer for Sharepoint Lists as a data source
  • Right to Left text w/Arabic  & Hebrew

and more. You can now use data held in lists inside Sharepoint and include that in your reports, for more info head over to Getting Data from a SharePoint List Data Source Type (Report Builder 3.0).

Report Parts: This is a great feature which allows you store parts of reports on the server, to be re-used by you (or others) at a later date. This means if you’ve got someone who’s awesome at making charts, they can pre-create them and load them up on the server for the benefit of the rest of the team/business 🙂

Report Part Publishing LifeCycle:

image

You can publish the following report parts:

  • Charts
  • Gauges
  • Images and embedded images
  • Maps
  • Parameters
  • Rectangles
  • Tables
  • Matrices
  • Lists
  • This makes it quite similar to SAP Xcelsius but I don’t think it is as fully featured and also, and perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t seem anywhere near as end user friendly.

    MSDN have got more info on Report Part Publishing here.

    Wrap Up:

    I hope this has gone some way to explaining some of the new features of SQL Server 2008 R2 and that it helped show how these can help you and your business 🙂
    The full MSDN article with almost literally 100’s of how to’s, guides and FAQ’s is here:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb500435(SQL.105).aspx

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