If you haven’t heard yet, CTP 3, which is a public beta of SQL Server 2008 has now been released and can be downloaded at the Connect website. After a bit of unscientific research, here’s my top 5 BI features in SQL Server 2008. It’s ordered in my priority order. It’s important to note that some of these features have not been introduced in CTP 3 yet but will be coming soon.
- No more IIS requirement for SSRS! – Finally, there’s not the overhead of having to install IIS as part of the popular reporting tool.
- CDC and Merge – While this is a database engine improvement, it will tremendously help your BI effort in SSIS. The ability to do Change Data Capture on a SQL Server table will help warehousing scenarios and reduce your load time by a factor of 9x.
- SSRS scalability – The reporting engine has been significantly improved to scale to million row reports. Also introduced is a best of both worlds table and matrix style report called tablix.
- SSIS thread scheduler improvements – In some early testing, the thread improvements have netted a 20-70% improvement in data flow performance. The main improvement is going to be with a long list of synchronous transforms.
- Authoring Reports in Excel and Word – Thanks to some smart licensing of Soft Artisians’ product suites, you’ll now be able to author a report in Word or Excel. I would expect this to be a pretty big blow to competing reporting platforms since users will be able to write reports in where they spend most their time in.