Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014
Article Index
Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014
Chapters 2 -3
Non SQL Server Content & Conclusion


Up until now, the book has been about changes to SQL Server, indeed Page 47 says “The purpose of this book is to describe the new capabilities and investments of SQL Server 2014…”. However the next three chapters relate to non-SQL Server areas. If you’re only interested in SQL Server 2014, you can ignore them.

Personally I’m not sure why the remaining chapters are included. Perhaps it’s because the SQL Server 2012 version of this book had a section on BI enhancements in SQL Server 2012, the authors felt they needed to fill the pages with something similar. However, there were no major BI changes in SQL Server 2014. With this in mind, the following chapter reviews will be brief.


Chapter 4 Exploring self-service BI in Microsoft Excel 2013

The chapter opens with a bit of history about self-service BI existing since Excel 2000. Excel 2010 introduced the PowerPivot add-in, a tool for gathering together data from disparate sources into a single model for analysis. Excel 2013 has PowerPivot built in, and rebranded as Power Pivot. Additionally, the Data Model tool was introduced, this being a light version of Power Pivot.

Power Pivot is discussed in terms of managing data in the model, and its various new features. This is followed by a discussion of Power Query, a downloadable tool for discovering data and advanced data transformations. Its use in searching, importing, loading, shaping, and combining data is discussed. Power View and Power Map are also discussed.

This chapter relates to using Excel tools, it has nothing to do with SQL Server other than as a potential data source. I’m not sure why this chapter was included in this book.

Chapter 5 Introducing Power BI for Office 365

This chapter extends Excel’s BI solutions to the cloud, thus allowing users to browse reports on mobile devices.

Power BI sites are a special type of SharePoint Online site, which stores Excel workbooks that implement Power Pivot, Power Query etc. The chapter explains how to configure workbooks for Power BI sites, and how to add favourite reports to My Power BI. Power BI helps users find the data they need, using shared queries. Details are given on how to create a shared query.

Power BI for Mobile is a touch-optimised Windows 8 app for the tablet, it can be used to view workbooks saved to Office 365 (a subscription based online version of Microsoft Office). Details are given on preparing a workbook for use by mobiles, sharing and using Power BI for Mobile. I’m not sure why this chapter was included in this book.

Chapter 6 Big data solutions

The chapter opens with a look at what big data is (3Vs: volume, velocity, variety), and why it developed (i.e. we need a different approach/architecture that current relational databases don’t support).

Hadoop has been developed to process big data. Microsoft’s implementation of Hadoop is called HDInsight, and is available as a Windows Azure service. Microsoft’s Polybase product is an on-premises solution that integrates data in Microsoft’s Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) with non-relational data, stored in a Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS).

This chapter is perhaps too brief an introduction to big data, and probably spoilt by the Microsoft-bias on solutions. In essence it is trying to sell Polybase and HDInsight as the solution to your big data needs.

I did find this chapter interesting, but again there is little/nothing that relates specifically to SQL Server 2014 enhancements. I’m not sure why this chapter was included in this book.




This is the first SQL Server 2014 book published, it’s relatively brief, consisting of just 6 chapters. The first 3 chapters relate to SQL Server 2014, and the other 3 chapters relate to other subjects that do not belong to this book.

The first 3 chapters, although brief, provide a good general technical overview of the major changes and functionality provided in SQL Server 2014. I would rate the first 3 chapters as 4 out of 5.

As you might expect, there is a degree of marketing/adverti$ing associated with this book, however it is not too onerous, just remember other solutions exist, especially with the cloud and big data.

One notable consideration is the mention of Microsoft’s cloud solution at almost any opportunity, it permeates the whole book. That said, some valid arguments are given for the inclusion of the cloud as part of your solutions.

If you need a technical overview of the new features of SQL Server 2014, I can recommend you read the first three chapters of this book.


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Last Updated ( Sunday, 10 August 2014 )