Tag: Articles

Technical Article: Report Model (SMDL) Alternatives in SQL Server 2012

It is with tremendous joy that I announce the release of my very first Technical Article! Click the image below to get a copy of your very own.


When I first started in the SQL Server business with Digineer about 6.5 years ago, one of my earliest projects was implementing a SQL Server 2005 Report Model for a client. Lara Rubbelke (Blog|Twitter), who led Digineer’s Information Management (SQL Server) Team at the time, set me up with that project along with some top cover from the mighty Jason Strate (Blog|Twitter). With two great mentors like I was lucky enough to have, that project set the stage for my career in SQL Server. It was during that project that I came to firmly believe in empowering end users in a managed environment. In the next few years, I ended up working on several Report Models for clients and giving well attended Intro To Report Model presentations.

Upon discovering that SQL Server 2012 meant the beginning of the end for Report Models, I was concerned for the folks that had been investing in them since their release. I saw forum posts that expressed frustration at their demise since many organizations had come to rely on them. It was clear that there were some technologies available that were superior to Report Models that could make great replacements in different scenarios. I looked for a source that combined all that information into a single location to help ease the transition of Report Models to other alternatives in the Microsoft BI stack. Since I could not find one, I decided I should go ahead and make one. Behold!

I want to thank Lara and Jason for their mentorship at the beginning of my career and through today. I also want to thank my great Technical Reviewers for this article:

Jin Cho (LinkedIn) – Microsoft

Mike Donnelly (Blog|Twitter) – Digineer

Aaron Drinkwine – Digineer

Chris Fish (Twitter) – Digineer

I need to thank Digineer for their continued support and being an awesome place to call home.

My Top Ten Lessons From SQL Saturday #31 Chicago

I attended SQL Saturday Chicago this weekend. I had an awesome time and attended great sessions. While I got something good out of every one of the sessions, I decided to distill the entire experience into a top ten list with some of the highlights.


10. According to Google Maps, the distance from Grand station on the CTA Blue Line to Navy Pier is 2.1 miles. I learned this after #8 below.

9. According to Google Maps, the distance from Navy Pier to Grand station on the CTA Blue Line is 2.1 miles. I learned this after #8 below.

8. Just like with shrinking databases, the fact that you CAN walk the distance in #10 above and then walk the distance in #9 above (all in under 2 hours, to ensure you will make it back to the airport in time to catch the last shuttle back to the hotel) does not make it a good idea to do so. AND, just like shrinking a database can affect its future performance, the walk mentioned above created soreness that is definitely affecting my current walking performance. But hey, while I was walking I did what anyone else would do: I asked myself, "What would Forrest Gump do?" Keep on goin’ is what. 

7. A good tip from Jeremiah Peschka ( Twitter | Blog ) is to create variables for commonly used strings (like creating new lines, or escaping single quotes) when building dynamic SQL to keep your code as readable as possible.

6. Kevin Kline ( Twitter | Blog ) pointed out that mixing DDL and DML within a stored procedure will cause recompiles, which can add significantly to resource consumption and execution time.

5. If it is a chilly Friday night in April around 8pm and you buy a churro from the little churro hut on Navy Pier, they may just offer you a second one for free as they are closing up anyway. Sweet. A little fuel for #9 above.

4. Before Andrew Karcher’s ( Twitter | Blog ) presentation on MDX, I knew jack about MDX (I could usually spell it properly, but that’s about it). Now, thanks to him, I don’t know jack anymore. Wait. I mean I now understand the basics that were a mystery to me before. Yeah. The second one.

DevilsTower3. Arie Jones ( Twitter | Blog ) pointed out something I had not read concerning SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services. When exporting to multiple worksheets in Excel, R2 allows you to name those worksheets without sacrificing black cats or running off to Devil’s Tower with Richard Dreyfuss. Hazzah to the product team for adding this. Hazzah, I say!

2. When doing Karaoke in a room full of geeks, requesting Barry Manilow’s Copacabana and substituting Weird Al Yankovic’s Star Wars Cantina lyrics can go over well.

1. Wendy Pastrick ( Twitter ), Ted Krueger ( Twitter ), Jes Borland ( Twitter ), and many others worked hard to put on a great SQL Server event. They succeeded quite well, indeed. Thanks so much to all organizers, volunteers, and presenters.