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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great overview of a huge subject
This author sets out to walk you through a huge subject, which is Microsoft's BI stack, in a single volume and does an admiral job of introducing the key concepts and components that a Microsoft implementation requires. It should be considered a starting point from which much is to be gained. Experienced BI developers will learn about the new features in SQL 2008. He...
Published on February 3, 2009 by Ron Davis

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, errors in example code though
Content is great, well laid out, explains topics in easy to understand language for the most part.
Big problem with the examples though.

There is a cube project called MaxMinSalesDM. This is created by one VS2010 project. It is populated by another. Problem is the column names in one of the tables are incorrect (in the analysis services project, a table is...
Published on April 20, 2010 by schmintan


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great overview of a huge subject, February 3, 2009
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This author sets out to walk you through a huge subject, which is Microsoft's BI stack, in a single volume and does an admiral job of introducing the key concepts and components that a Microsoft implementation requires. It should be considered a starting point from which much is to be gained. Experienced BI developers will learn about the new features in SQL 2008. He also spends an entire chapter on Transformers or Microsoft SSIS explaining each of the components and going into detail where required. His explanation of the Unified Data Model is quite good.
The only thing I didn't like about this book was that you need the custom database that is free and is downloadable and that he refers to throughout the book. What's not to like about that? You cannot find any link on the publisher's site, the reference to the page in the book doesn't work and searching for the code on the publisher's site returns empty. I finally contacted customer service who sent me over to technical services that finally sent me the link. Not the author's problem but maybe technical books should come out of the technical press.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New to SQL Server BI? Start here, June 15, 2009
This book is a perfect choice for people who are generally familiar with relational databases and business intelligence concepts who want to learn how to build them in MS SQL Server. The book covers the database engine, SSIS, SSAS, and SSRS. The outline of the book starts with setting up the environment then proceeds thru getting the data, analyzing it, and finally reporting it. This is the right order to cover these topics. There is not enough here to make you an expert on any topic, but there is a good introduction to the many topics in the area. The book is well written, edited, and illustrated.

It includes complete coverage of "what SQL Server 2008 BI can do" but is short on "how to do it". There is a good mix of theory, examples, and practice with many "Learn-by-doing" exercises. These are very valuable. The book does include enough detail to answer most beginners' questions.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, errors in example code though, April 20, 2010
Content is great, well laid out, explains topics in easy to understand language for the most part.
Big problem with the examples though.

There is a cube project called MaxMinSalesDM. This is created by one VS2010 project. It is populated by another. Problem is the column names in one of the tables are incorrect (in the analysis services project, a table is called SalesPerson, but in the SSIS projects that populate the cube, the table is referenced as Sales_Person. When populating the Slowly changing dimension, this causes an error.

For a beginner, i need to learn by example of these projects, and dont have the knowledge to fix these errors. This has caused me hours of trouble and for this reason, i might just skip this book if you are going to rely on the projects.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for a newbie to SSIS and SSAS, May 4, 2009
Kudos to the author and his style of writing. He explains each and every step on SSIS and SSAS so eloquently that he makes the topic understanding a breeze. This is one of the very few books i have read that gets you hooked on to it and finish it as soon as possible with all the exploration you want to do in SSIS and SSAS.

In short - an excellent book for starters.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best overall intro to the full breadth of SQL 2008 BI, March 27, 2010
By 
David Foley (Hampton, NH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Well-written book tackling an enormous topic. In addition to providing good conceptual overviews, actually goes into a fair bit of practical detail on each of the three main components (SSIS, SSAS, SSRS). Author uses his own database rather than the AdventureWorks sample used by most other books. This is a big plus, the database is very small and the number of tables/entities to contend with is easy to conceptualize. Plus it gets you more involved with the exercises - less chance of 'sleepwalking' through a topic because AdventureWorks sometimes makes things seem deceptively familiar.

Maybe surprisingly, the SSAS section is the best part of the book - in particular, the MDX and Data Mining chapters. MDX is a quirky #if incredibly powerful# language, and the examples and diagrams in Chapters 11 and 12 are VERY well thought out and presented. You'll have to go to other sources to truly master either MDX or Data Mining, but this book contains a fine foundation. I dived straight into both these topics previously, using more 'advanced' books, and regretted it.

The final section is around SSRS, to my mind the dullest, most vanilla, part of the MS BI stack. Ploughing through plumbing/security/drudgery is not something I ever find interesting, but even SSRS was made interesting here through examples consuming OLAP and DM. Finally, a cool little bonus hidden away in Chapter 18 showing an example of programming through [...].

I'd highly recommend the book - it's a comprehensive and practical overview.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good intro, October 19, 2010
I appreciate this book for what it is... a fairly well conceived tour through the landscape of BI. What it is not is a suitable teacher for anything but the most basic concepts, nor a guide book suitable for forging your own paths. If your learning style is see it in action before understanding what it's doing, then this is probably your book. If you require context to learn and need some solid background information as well as in depth analysis along the way, this book will disappoint. And in the sense that it takes you past or through all major and minor components of BI, including sources of data, data warehousing, transformations, integration services, cube building, cube querying, reporting services, it is in one sense comprehensive. However, you may often find, as I did, that even a little more depth would have been extremely useful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars W. Gorman, April 3, 2009
I am about halfway done this book and already can't say enough positive things about it. The author does a wonderful job of walking the reader through the ETL process, cubes, and eventually datamining as well. I am a beginner to Microsoft's BI tools and this book enabled me to jump right in. The author's 'Learn by Doing' sections are invaluable. He is incredibly thorough and precise with his instruction. Unlike a previous reviewer's encounter, I did not run into any issues finding the database sample link. The only minor issue I ran into was during one database sample load, an error occurred since I don't have the Enterprise SqlServer 2008 installed (I have the Basic version), but I was able to proceed by manually creating what I needed so it did not hold me up.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, GREAT book on SQL BI, DW, and Data Analytics and Mining, March 16, 2010
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I have read many books on SQL BI (going back to SQL 2000 OLAP) . This one is by far the best book not only on SQL OLAP and BI, but also on Data Mining and Analytics and Data Warehousing that I have ever read. This book will offer all beginning to intermediate SQL 2008 BI administrators, developers, and managers one of the best explanations of the SQL BI 2008 features, best practices, and implementation processes. Even if you are a seasoned expert, this book will offer insights perhaps you never had.

The chapter 6 alone ranks as perhaps the best chapter on Data Mining and Analytics I have ever read. Chapter 6 ALONE is worth the price of this book.

In other to manage, develop, and utilize SQL 2008 BI, one needs to think differently about data than one thinks about OLTP databases. One needs to understand measures, dimensions, attributes, star schema, and snowflake schema rather than tables and 3 forms of normalizations. Furthermore, ETL and Data Warehousing are exceedingly important to SQL BI.

Data Mining and Analytics is not hard. It is just different and requires understanding of a completely different paradigm. This book very clearly explains that paradigm bette than any other book I know. I also recommend statistical analytics tools such as SAS to complement SQL BI.

Finally, do not neglect MDX. It is the industry standard BI language and I would hesitate to hire any SQL BI person who does not have even rudimentary understanding of MDX. This book covers the rudiments of MDX quite well.

This is the ideal first book on SQL 2008 BI and I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, October 24, 2010
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Great book for someone who is new to BI. Larson covers many topics of Business Intelligence and how to deliver it with SQL Server 2008. The entire book is written in a very practical way, making everything easy to understand, even for novices. Each topic is concise and doesn't try to overload you with details. I especially enjoyed the "learn by doing" exercises where you get to work in SQL Server with sample data to really nail down the topics. I read this book while taking a BI undergrad class, and it really helped with understanding some of the more advanced topics. Highly recommended, especially those new to the field.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to BI using SQL Server 2008, September 8, 2010
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I'm really new to Business Intelligence. I found this book to be a really gentle introduction to the subject. Nice examples and really easy to follow. It's also really well written.
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