SQL Compare failed

Another day, another problem. Todays problem was incorrect column length which was causing a SSIS package to fail. Historically I use a freeware tool to compare the different environments schema, but lately I just don’t bother, I have continuous deployment so its easier just to hit the deploy button then it is to try and figure it out. Well today I decided I wanted to it old school – although I’ve been using the SSDT SQL compare in my deployments, I’ve not actually used it in terms of viewing the differences....

May 12, 2016 · 2 min · matt40k

Auditing – SSAS

There are various types of Auditing in the Microsoft BI stack. There is auditing in SSRS, SharePoint, SSAS and not forgetting SQL has its own auditing. Today I am looking at the SSAS auditing – you can find out more about it on TechNet. Olaf Helperhas published some TSQL code for querying the audit data -on the Script Center. But first, we need a table to store the data, here is a TSQL script for creating the table:...

March 26, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

DacPac vs SqlCmd variables

I recently discovered the ability to reference other database project (I know, I know), anyway, this cause my lovely automate build\deployment process to fail. Investigating the error led me to, yes, you guessed it a Jamie Thomson’s blog(from 2012). Thankfully, I managed to figure out a clean solution, the DacPac solution on Octopus Deploy library has an option to pass Profile Name, which is the publish profile XML file. He is the cut-down version I’ve used, just the missing variables

February 2, 2016 · 1 min · matt40k

Automatic build and deployment process for Microsoft BI

I’ve previously blogged about how I was going to detail how I build and deploy my Microsoft BI projects and to be honest, I’ve been putting it off. The main reason is my work has been looking at Visual Studio Team Services, formally Visual Studio Onlineand I was looking at using the Build functionality that is included. This should make the whole setup process a lot easier for anyone else trying to replicate my setup....

February 1, 2016 · 4 min · matt40k

East Anglia SQL Server User Group

Anyone working with SQL Server will be well aware of the mountains of training material, blog posts, videos, code snippets, events and other helpful resources that helps anyone who comes into contact SQL Server regardless if they are a beginner or a seasoned veteran (even MVPs!). One of the pools of knowledge is SQL PASS. is an independent, not-for-profit organization run by and for the community. With a growing membership of more than 100K, PASS supports data professionals throughout the world who use the Microsoft data platform....

January 15, 2016 · 3 min · matt40k

Automated SQL Server BI deployments with OctopusDeploy

Today, my pull request for the SSAS deployment script was merged into the Octopus DeployCommunity Library. So what is Octopus Deployand why should I care? Octopus is a friendly deployment automation tool for .NET developers. But don’t be fooled. Octopus Deployisn’t just limited to .NET developers deploying hip new cloud based applications, it can do much, much more. I currently use Octopusto deploy Jasper reports to our 6 HR environments, I also use it to deploy our HR interfaces which are a series of SSIS packages and SQL objects which uses Microsoft SQL Server 2008....

January 15, 2016 · 3 min · matt40k

Deploying SQL 2014, looking at SQL 2016 \ PowerBI

My current thoughts on SQL2016/PowerBI as deploying SQL2014. Ok, so we’re looking at moving to pure SQL 2014 for our corporate BI solution. I say pure as we normally use SQL server as the backend then other tools on top, so we’re looking at enabling a lot of extra features we’ve technically had for years but just not enabled\setup\whatever. SQL2016 is on the way and we’re most likely going to upgrade pretty quick, lots of new features that look very useful....

November 6, 2015 · 5 min · matt40k

Problem with ISNUMERIC

Todays problem was brought to you by a highly customizable system with poor user validation and a user who doesn’t know the difference between data and formatting. First the system. The supplier has created a highly user customizable system, they can for example create a web form with zero coding – 100% user config. The problem is, technically, it creates a mess. So your nice new form with a number of questions stores all its answers in a single table with the data going into a nvarchar(max) column – which is fine for free-text columns, but not so good for integer fields....

October 27, 2015 · 2 min · matt40k

SQLSaturday #411 – Cambridge 2015

For a while now I’ve been going to the Cambridgeshire SQL Server User Group, which I have found really useful especially as we are at moving towards a more self-service model across IT which requires IT to be a bit more cleverer. Beyond the informative speaker talks you get a really good networking opportunity. The group is run by Mark Broadbent(@retracement) and has recently merged with SharePoint Saturday Cambridge. Although Cambridge is about the same time on the train as London....

September 28, 2015 · 7 min · matt40k

Change text direction – Visual Studio 2013 / SQL Server 2014

I’ve spent a while today trying to change the text direction (orientation) of a header on a SSRS report – the option was rather oddly placed in Visual Studio – the option is within the properties (for the text) Localization > Writing Mode > then change from Default to either Rotate270 or Vertical. I was hoping it would be within the Font options. Guess that would be too easy 😉

September 15, 2015 · 1 min · matt40k

Missing Reporting data toolbox in Visual Studio 2013 / SQL Server 2014

Todays problem, missing the reporting data toolbox in Visual Studio 2013 – once again, a different menu options. Open the actual report (.rdl) View > Report Data Alternatively press Ctrl + Alt + D

September 15, 2015 · 1 min · matt40k

Missing SSIS toolbox in Visual Studio 2013 / SQL Server 2014

Stupidly today, I accidently closed the SSIS toolbox. After a bit of unsuccessful searching in the Visual Studio menus, I gave up and done the IT norm and Google it – hoping I wouldn’t have to reinstall. Luckily I found James Serrahad already blogged about it, the only difference is Microsoft has changed the icon, its still in the same place at least So when is a Visual Studio Toolbox, not a Toolbox?...

September 2, 2015 · 1 min · matt40k

SSIS jumping in Visual Studio 2013 / SQL Server 2014

One really annoying bug in SSIS when using Visual Studio 2013 / SQL Server 2014 is the object jumping, so when you drag an object like a sequence container down the object shoots to the bottom. Thankfully the fix is simple. Close Visual Studio and apply SQL Server 2014 SP1to your machine.

September 1, 2015 · 1 min · matt40k

Documentation

One of the problems we have is documentation and how to keep it up-to-date. We tend to deliver a new batch of reports as part of a CR (Change Request) then make changes as part of BAU (Business as usual) unless its a particularly complex or time consuming change. The problem is often BAU changes happen rapidly often within a short time frame and time isn’t always allocated to updating documentation....

August 30, 2015 · 2 min · matt40k

New Azure features

Two new Azurefeatures have caught my eye – the first is Logic App. In a nutshell this is workflow. You have connectors and you can add triggers and actions. So you could have a trigger on your HR system that when a new employee starts, it creates a user account then sends a welcome message to the existing staff informing them of the new starters. The other is Data Catalog, this basically allows you to generate meta data about your data sources....

July 16, 2015 · 1 min · matt40k

Why Microsoft Business Intelligence is on my radar

In my day job I’ve been looking at SQL Server 2012 recently (I know SQL Server 2014 out before you say anything!), I’ve had a developer license for a while but unfortunately other priorities have been consuming my time and I’ve only managed to get a dev server build, SQL 2012 installed and not much else up till a few days ago. Our current Business Intelligence platform is using SQL Server 2008 (not R2) for the database backend and SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) BIDS for the ETL....

July 3, 2014 · 3 min · matt40k