The first CTP for SQL Server 2008, the next release of SQL Server , code named Katmai is available for download at the connect website.

 http://connect.microsoft.com

 

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On May 20th  we had the MVP Open days in Hyderabad, India. It was a fun filled day with fellow MVPs in Hyderabad and with our MVP Lead, Abhishek Kant.

We started the day with a movie and then went for a pizza lunch, followed by a discussion around Windows Live Services with Harish Ranganathan from DPE.

Evening we all went for Bowling and to play few others games. However i could not stay there for long time and had to return back. But i believe all the other MVPs stayed till late and joined each other for the dinner as well.

It was a nice way of spending a weekend, with little fun, little geeky stuff and little technology!

Geetesh has uploaded some of the pics here... http://www.flickr.com/photos/geetesh/sets/72157600237576010/

 

 

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I had been working on building BI solutions for the Microsoft's first BI Conference at seattle which starts from tomorrow, and in the same context also wrote a whitepaper on Corporate Performance Management.

Whitepaper can be found here http://msalliance.satyam.com/MSAlliance%20-CaseStudy_PDF/CPM.pdf

However i am adding more to it in the coming days.

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On April 29th we had the community launch of Office 2007 and Vista in Hyderabad, india. It was a hot summer and was a sunday and was also the day next to the World cup, and still we saw a crowd of over 200 attending the event.
The event happened at the Microsoft Campus in Hyderabad, and this time we had managed the Registration very well as compared to last time when there was lot of delya because of security reasons.

I had given a session on developing Office Business Applications, and it was titled as 'Why should developers care for office'. I usually see a myth floating around that office is not for developers and it's just a front office or an IT pro tools. And my main focus during my session was on how can one build an enteprise application with Office System, and how important it becomes for developers and architects to understand the office system. My Session was followed by two more sessions by Sudhakar on VSTO Development and by Hima Bindu on SharePoint 2007 which were very good.

On the Vista side we had Harish and Sridhar from Microsoft talking about Vista Experience and on Application Compatability. Arun gave a session on the developers favorite topic, the WinFX.

My overall experience has been very good and the audience feedback about the event has also been good, with ofcourse few suggestions mentioned. However i also felt that to understand and appreciate softwares like Office and Vista one needs to have good level of understanding and maturity of the enterprise problems and scenarios. So these are definetly not something that can be told completely in a single day session or in a training programme . And one more funny thing that i observed was SharePoint is now very well known as MOSS however it's still not well known as Microsoft "Office" SharePoint System. Understanding the Office family becomes more important now than before to build a good OBA.

In between the session, we had a very interesting series of Quiz questions and most of the audience this time were pretty smart to grab some very nice prizes. Some of the audience had come up with very interesting questions during and after the sessions on some of the Office scenarios and i really enjoyed talking to all of them.

 I must thank the sponsers , MAQ, Satyam , INETA and Micrsoft to help us organize this event successfully. And thanks to the audience for being so wonderful.

 

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MVP Global summit had happened between March 12th- 15th at Seattle with Mr Bill Gates giving the Key Note.It was an amazing experience to listen live to Mr Gates sitting right in the second row:) What was also exciting is to meet all those people whom I admire for there technical skills and community passion but would have just known them by there emailids. So this was a great place to match face with emailid and also interact with technical experts spread across the globe.

SQL Product group Meets were excellent, but i have been feeling miserable since then because everything dicussed around Katmai is under NDA except the name and therefore have not been able to speak or share about it with peers:) Anyways let me wait...however these days Performance Point Server is keeping me busy. On the first day i did attend some cross platform sessions on Visual Studio and also sessions talking about LINQ. It was nice to interact with Soma again and yes i think we can see Click once deployement of VSTO apps in Orcas.
Deployement has been the major issue around application developed around Office. And if that continues then this reason alone is enough to handicap the development that's happening around Office. And i have been facing this since long and the apps have been testing my patience! So if click once is integrated i think this problem would be solved and it's going to be a great time for Office Applications and for the OBA platform stack.
LINQ and sessions around Object Entity model was good but i see a relatively steep learning curve for current database developers who are going to be working with LINQ databases.

Apart from all this the best part was the MVP Regional dinner where different MVPs from APAC had performed on stage. It was simple superb and amazing!
The motto for Indian MVPs was 'Global Peace' . So Venkat, Veer , Hima and myself had performed a shloka(sanskrit verses) recitation along with there English translation by Abhishek. And all this in a Saree and with 15 minutes of prepartion! And after this all the Indian MVPs came on to the stage by waving the National Flags and danced to the tunes of 'Rang De Basanti'. Namratha, Veer and few others were excellent and lots of MVPs from other countries as well joined us during the dance!

Even after the conference, i happened to meet the Atanu banerjee from OBA architecture teams, Ram Ramanathan from SQL Teams and Roby from Performance Point Server teams to understand the roadmap of the respective technologies. It was a nice experience to meet a combination of Technical, business and industry groups in Microsoft and understand things from different perspectives.

There was so much more of fun and technology and I must thank Micrososft and my company Satyam to give me an opportunity to attend this. Would eagerly wait for the next one.

Some of the MVP Global Summit pics can be found here http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/mvpglobalsummit

 

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Microsoft Released SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 two days back on Feb 19th.

Key focus of this service pack is compatability and enhancements in and around the following technologies.

  • Vista Compatability
  • Office 2007 compatability
  • Virtualization

This is a fully compatible with Windows Vista and also has enhancements that make the SQL Server 2005-Office 2007 marriage more interesting. Apart from this, a virtualization user can now run unlimited virtual instances on servers with the licences SQL Server 2005 Enterprise edition.

Key new features can be seen around Business Intelligence and some in Database Administration and Interoperability

Business Intelligence

• Data Mining Add-ins for the 2007 Microsoft Office system enable data mining functionality from SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) to be used directly within Excel® 2007 and Visio® 2007.
 
• SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) compatibility with Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 provides integration with the Report Center in SharePoint, enabling the seamless consumption and management of SSRS reports within SharePoint.
 
• SQL Server Analysis Services improvements for Excel 2007 and Excel Services relate to performance and functionality.
 
• Data compression (varDecimal) is an important feature for data warehousing scenarios, requiring less disk storage of decimal data and increasing overall performance.

Administration & Manageability
• Manageability enhancements, based on customer feedback, provide management capabilities for database administrators such as improvements in database maintenance plans, enhanced management reports and a new copy database wizard.
 
• Management reports added to SQL Server Express Edition enable customers to get insights into the performance of their Express Edition and SQL Server Compact Edition databases.
 

Interoperability
• Interoperability improvements including Oracle support in the Report Builder feature enable customers to use its functionality on top of Oracle data sources. Customers also have access to SQL Server Reporting Services to build reports on top of Hyperion’s Essbase cubes.
 

SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 can be downloaded by customers here http://www.microsoft.com/sql/sp2.mspx 

 

This is something many web developers are interested on and have been asking for since sometime.

Mike Ammerlaan writes here on how to get this working.

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Past few months I have been working more on Office 2007 and development around it. I must say it's fun, though before i started working i wondered what can a tech person do around Office. In fact i still find lot of people not understanding what it means when someone says 'Office 2007 for Developers'. What matters is how you utlize the whole of Office System 2007 which includes a set of clients and servers to build an end to end solution. And this definetly makes office 2007 very interesting for developers and architects

We had developed a POC around Office 2007 for the MS Office launch using Office Beta 2 and VSTO SE. Working with VSTO SE has been very exciting. I have seen people working on information bridge framework earlier. However the object oriented approach and also easy integration with Sharepoint server makes office developement with VSTO more comfortable. And the BI features in Excel are very interesting. Excel Services is definetly a features that has lots of business value.

One of the toughest things was deployment and i hope the next release of Orcas would take care of that. Because for an enterprise implemetation of Smart office clients what's most important is the deployment strategy. And this is something i find most challenging.

The link for the video of the solution developed can be found here. (copy paste the url on the browser)
http://directory.partners.extranet.microsoft.com/SolutionPage.aspx?i=1&cat=&SolutionID=5883&pid=0&vid=0

Some of the features I explored here were
  • User Interface development on Office 2007 with Visual Studio Tools for office and Office interop services and Office Document format (Ribbons and Task panes).
  • Using MS Excel Business Intelligence Features (KPIs, charts etc)
  • Using Sharepoint Excel Services (Excel on the web)
  • Integration between Office apps (MS Excel to Powerpoint)
  • Deployment and Sharing of information with Sharepoint 2007 document library (powerpoint and excel libraries)

Also the other thing i am working on is the Performance Point server which is also going to be part of the Office family.
Performance Point Server by itself has lots of integration with office, like Visio for strategy maps, and also with MS Excel.

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Aaah, i have been struggling with my blog credentials since sometime as someone had tampered with it, and i thought i have lost my blog. But today i got it back after so much of running around with weblogs.. I have too many things to blame for this inlcuding the crazy password reset functionality in weblogs, irresponsible admin emailids and ofcourse myself :), but i will play this blame game later.

It's been since a month i have been waiting to blog on Performance Point Server and now the pricing is also out for the same.

Performance Point Server (PPS) is next release of Business Scorecard Managar 2005. But the interesting fact is Performance Point Server also includes some of the major functionalities of Proclarity and also introduces a planning component code named Biz#.

The product component can be broken down as Monitoring, Analytics and Planning (acronymed as MAP). The monitoring component is almost same as the Business Scorecard Manager. While the analytics component is more of the proclarity analytics server. The planning component is codenamed as Biz#, and allows planning, budgeting, forecasting etc which can reach all users in an org and also by using the common end user tools like MS Excel.

The pricing was out two weeks back and the pricing model is considered interesting and probably would play an important factor in tempting the buyers, as it gives them the economic advanatage over the competitors. Well this was expected from MS as this has been it's strategy. And from what ever i have seen so far about PPS, i think the functionalities as well can tempt the buyers, not just the pricing:).

I have just started to work on this and it defenetly seems interesting to start with , ofcourse there is lot more for me to do and may be even for the Micrsoft to do.I intend to keep posting on the same.

This URL gives some info on PPS
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/HA101639481033.aspx

 

Atlast the Vista licensing policy has been revised by Micrsoft today. This is really a great news!!!

Now the policy states :
"You may uninstall the software and install it on another device for your use.  You may not do so to share this license between devices."

Nice White says... "Our intention behind the original terms was genuinely geared toward combating piracy; however, it's become clear to us that those original terms were perceived as adversely affecting an important group of customers: PC and hardware enthusiasts. " 

More details here...
http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2006/11/02/news-revision-to-windows-vista-retail-licensing-terms.aspx

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