Several years ago, late 2006, I decided to focus my career on Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence (DW/BI). I was fortunate to have picked up a copy of a book titled The Microsoft Data Warehouse Toolkit written by members of the Kimball Group. This is a great book and helped me immensely to get started with DW/BI using the Microsoft BI tool stack. I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking of getting into the DW/BI space especially those focused on the MS BI tool stack.
Since 2006, I have purchased every book that the Kimball Group has published. The books contain great information based off of the Kimball Group‘s methodologies and experiences in building effective DW/BI solutions. In addition to the many books I purchase yearly, I try and attend one paid in person training event each year.
I feel that continuing ones education throughout your career is as important as when you are starting out. Early of each year I plan and budget for an in person training event. The last two years I’ve had the opportunity to attend the PASS Summit as a result of being President of the Denver SQL Server User Group. This is a great event not only for the large amount of content but also for building ones professional network.
While I was doing some research on different training events I found that the Kimball Group through the Kimball University would be holding a Microsoft Data Warehouse in Depth seminar here in Denver. Having read, or at least perused all of their books, I thought this would be a great event and decided to attend it over the PASS Summit.
The Microsoft Data Warehouse in Depth seminar was held last week. Here is a brief outline of the seminar.
The seminar’s outline mimics that of the book starting out with the DW/BI project life cycle, project planning and requirements gathering. They continued into dimensional modeling, system architecture and setup. Given that this has a Microsoft BI tool specific focus, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) within a DW environment is discussed. They discussed setting up auditing, utilizing configuration files for package portability, error handling as well as loading methods for dimensions and fact tables.
The next focus of the seminar was on report development with SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Excel. Report identification and requirements lead this section with the intent of ensuring that the reports being developed are or will be useful to the business users as well as manageable from on IT perspective.
Following the dimensional modeling and ETL was discussion on SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). A walk through identifying the major areas of the development of an SSAS project was provided. Key dimension topics such as attribute relationships were covered along with a demo of how they are properly created. Cube development in BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio) was covered at a high level including calculated members, partitions, KPI’s, etc. Data mining was also covered briefly.
The last part was on the management of the DW/BI environment dealing with security, Deployment and monitoring. Both tools and techniques to perform the needed tasks were discussed and a few demoed.
Overall, the seminar was geared towards an intro level to provide a broad scope of an entire DW/BI project using the Microsoft BI tool stack. I would recommend this seminar to anyone entering into the DW/Bi space or up to the Junior level (1/2 to 1 year of experience) in all of the three main pillars of the Microsoft BI Tool Stack (SSIS, SSAS, SSRS). One thing that surprised me was the distances that many attendees traveled to attend. There were several folks from the East Coast, South and even a couple from Canada.