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Microsoft names SQL Server 2012 launch date  

Microsoft’s SQL Server 2012 will be officially launched on 7 March. More from All about Microsoft.

Microsoft Server and Tools chief Satya Nadella revealed last fall that SQL Server 2012 (codenamed “Denali”) would launch in the early part of 2012. Microsoft delivered the final public test build of SQL Server 2012 in November 2011.

The March 7 launch event topic list includes everything from big data, to StreamInsight complex event processing, to the new data-visualization and analysis tools that are part of the SQL Server 2012 release.

Disclosure: I work at Microsoft.

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January 24th, 2012 at 7:41 am

Microsoft Gives the Cloud to Scientists  

More in NYTimes

The software maker has started grafting popular scientific databases and analysis tools onto its Windows Azure cloud computing service. This basically means that researchers in various fields can get access to a fast supercomputer of their very own and pose queries to enormous data sets that Microsoft keeps up to date. For the time being, Microsoft will allow some research groups to perform their work free, while others will have to rent calculation time on Azure via a credit card.

These moves have turned Somsak Phattarasukol, a graduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle, into a big fan of Microsoft.

Mr. Phattarasukol, like many researchers, is accustomed to waiting in line for access to large, public computers and to twiddling his thumbs – sometimes for days – as the machines work on his requests. It’s a frustrating process only made worse as the databases the researchers deal with swell alongside the time it takes to perform the analysis.

Microsoft officially opened access to the scientific bits of Azure this week, but Mr. Phattarasukol got early access to the system. He’s part of a team that’s trying to create a biofuel from bacteria that produce hydrogen gas. The work has required the research team to compare the makeup of various bacterium strains against an extensive protein database, as they try to figure out which bits of genetic code can prompt higher hydrogen gas production.

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November 18th, 2010 at 5:32 am

Microsoft Unveils Database Products at PASS Conference  

Microsoft released the first community technology preview (CTP) for the next-generation version of SQL Server, codenamed Denali, Nov. 9. But that is just one of several announcements to come out of the PASS Summit 2010 conference in Seattle this week. In addition to unveiling Denali, Microsoft also announced the release of SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse and the new Critical Advantage Program, which offers an end-to-end suite of pretested hardware and software configurations, services and support.

“SQL Server code-named Denali will help empower organizations to be more agile in today’s competitive market,” the SQL Server Team touted on its blog. “Customers will be able to efficiently deliver mission-critical solutions through a highly scalable and available platform. Industry-leading tools will help developers quickly build innovative applications while data integration and management tools help deliver credible data reliably to the right users and new user experiences expand the reach of BI to enable meaningful insights.”

More on EWeek

Gartner – Worldwide BI and Analytics Market up 4%  

“Even though growth was nowhere near the levels of 2008, and by no means immune to the recession, BI showed that it is not as cyclical as many other software areas, recording healthy growth in one of the toughest years recorded in software history,” said Dan Sommer, senior research analyst at Gartner. “The dominant vendors continued to put BI, analytics and PM front and center of their messaging. Organizations largely continued their BI projects, hoping that resulting transparency and insight would enable cost-cuts and improved productivity and agility. However, there is no doubt pressure has intensified on deal sizes and price points on new sales throughout the year.”

The top five vendors continued to make up most of the market with 71 percent market share. “The large vendors held their own. As IT is consolidating, BI spending often went to a few strategic vendors. However, the application-centric vendors didn’t have the same up-selling momentum as they did in 2008,” said Mr. Sommer.

More here and the full paper can be reached here.

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August 22nd, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Microsoft Business Intelligence Conference 2010  

MS BIC 2010

This year’s MS BI conference takes place in New Orleans in conjunction with Tech·Ed 2010.

More from the site:

The co-location allows Microsoft to meet the needs of customers and partners looking to focus specifically on Business Intelligence while also significantly increasing the opportunity to learn about this critical technology for all Tech·Ed attendees.

While these are separate conferences, BI Conference attendees will be exposed to additional networking opportunities with customers and partners as part of Tech·Ed, and will also have access to the Tech·Ed Keynote, Pre-Conference Seminars, more Hands-on Labs, onsite Certification Testing as well as a larger Expo showcasing more Microsoft demo stations, Exhibitors and Sponsors.

More on Microsoft BI. Follow them on Twitter.

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February 10th, 2010 at 6:45 am

SQL Server 2008 – from semi-relational to sublime  

Microsoft has made much of the self-service Business Intelligence and integration with Office. In order to make best use of the BI features it is definitely worth upgrading to Office 2010, released to beta last week. A beta version is available for download here. Excel 2010 allows much better slicing and dicing of data, and through the SQL Server PowerPivot add-in for Excel that was known as Gemini, users can investigate data to reveal the information hidden therein.

The Report Builder is also much improved and looks much more like one of the Office 2010 family. It has become much easier to split out various components of a report: If you have a grid, a map and a logo in a report, these can be copied to a Report Part Gallery, effectively a library of elements that can be used time and time again.

A look at SQL Serrver 2008 R2 Preview.

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November 21st, 2009 at 3:51 am

Microsoft’s SharePoint Thrives in the Recession  

Think of SharePoint as the jack-of-all-trades in the business software realm. Companies use it to create Web sites and then manage content for those sites. It can help workers collaborate on projects and documents. And it has a variety of corporate search and business intelligence tools too.

Microsoft wraps all of this software up into a package and sells the bundle at a reasonable price. In fact, the total cost of the bundle often comes in below what specialist companies would charge for a single application in, say, the business intelligence or corporate search fields.

While Microsoft’s Windows sales fell for the first time in history this year, its SharePoint sales have gone up. Microsoft declines to break out the exact sales figures for the software but said that SharePoint broke the $1 billion revenue mark last year and continued to rise past that total this year, making it the hottest selling server-side product ever for the company.

Companies like Ferrari, Starbucks and Viacom have used SharePoint to create their public-facing Web sites and for various other tasks. All told, more than 17,000 customers use SharePoint.

More from NY Times.

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August 9th, 2009 at 10:30 am

The 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence  

Ventana Research today introduces its 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence, the second of a new category of quantified, research-based Indexes. This new Value Index provides research-based metrics that will enable organizations to ascertain the value to them of existing and future business intelligence technologies, systems and tools for business and IT in a simple and easy-to-use manner. Using the Value Index, businesses will be able to meet the challenge of evaluating vendors and their products and making choices based on an understanding of how well the offerings meet their needs.

The Value Index is the result of more than a decade of analysis of technology suppliers’ products. The methodology used to produce the Value Index for Business Intelligence evaluates in detail aspects of product functionality and suitability-to-task as well as the effectiveness of vendor support for the buying process and customer assurance. The Index represents the value offered by a vendor and its products, using both a clear and accessible graphic representation in thermometer form and a precise numerical index. Those technology vendors earning the highest Hot Vendor classification are those that Ventana Research certifies best represent buyer value based on a thorough evaluation and audit – that is, based on research and verifiable facts. The Value Index is not just a selection of “cool” products, and rather than merely representing a vendor on a four-quadrant chart, the Index provides a specific thermometer reading with a series of component metrics for a technology buyer to consider. Organizations can use the Value Index by determining their priorities and then consulting the Index to determine which vendors best meet those needs.

The 2009 Value Index for Business Intelligence indicates that the company delivering the highest value on an overall weighted evaluation basis is Information Builders, which earned the “Hot Vendor” rating, followed by IBM Cognos Software, Infor, Softscape and arcplan, all of which earned the “Warm” rating. Drilling down, the Value Index evaluation of product functionality using the Ventana Research Business Intelligence methodology identified (in order) Information Builders, Infor, IBM Cognos Software, Actuate, Symphony-Metreo, Microsoft and arcplan as Hot Vendors in this category.

From Ventana Research’s Press Release.

Business Intelligence TCO  

Business Intelligence TCO

Interestingly, despite requiring fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) to support BI deployments, the Best-in-Class are capable of completing BI projects, from start to finish, both on budget and within expected time frames. Additionally, they are delivering BI capabilities to more enterprise users than their counterparts.

This report investigates the key factors that organizations consider important in controlling the total cost of business intelligence implementations. Thirty-seven (37) organizations (20 percent) were found to be Best-in-Class at managing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their business intelligence solutions. Thirty-one percent of the 26 Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) BI users that took part in the survey achieved Best-in-Class status — a higher proportion of its installed base than any other major BI vendor. Figure 1 highlights the number of survey respondents that reported using each vendor’s software, together with the percentage of that vendor’s customers that achieved Best-in-Class.

Interesting article on CRM Buyer

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June 22nd, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Microsoft Unveils Apps for Crime-Fighting Data Mining  

Once again, software is fighting crime. Microsoft unveiled a suite of tools and initiatives for law-enforcement groups “specifically designed to improve public security and safety,” the company said.
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It’s also the latest example of law enforcement officials arming themselves with better technology to help fight crime. The FBI, for instance, said that new database and data-sharing efforts have resulted in solving a number of difficult highway serial killings.

Gathering that data is key. That’s why Microsoft this week said it is giving a free tool to INTERPOL called the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE), an application that “uses common digital forensics tool to help officers at the scene of the crime.”

The company is working on a mobile version for future release, said Richard Domingues Boscovich, senior attorney for Microsoft’s Internet security program, told InternetNews.com in an e-mail.

A larger tool set for large-scale crimes is Microsoft Intelligence Framework, which is aimed at helping intelligence and law enforcement agencies coordinate information to detect and prevent terrorism, and to solve organized and major crime cases. The framework offers tools for storing and analyzing evidence and information across a variety of sources

From EarthWeb article.

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April 22nd, 2009 at 8:15 am