SQL Server “Denali” CTP 3 is Out–Best Posts & my top picks (Business Intelligence Features)

Yes, SQL Server next version “Denali” ctp3 is out, and so finally… we can go public,  starting making some noise, and sharing thoughts. :)

No, you won’t find another deep review of “denali” here. :) No time for that, there’s so much to explore. But I’ve been reviewing several posts, so I leave you with my top posts & notes so far.

(I’ll try to keep this updated… as in… “try” :) )

Download & Documentation

Download SQL Server “Denali” CTP 3 here.

Technet > What’s New in SQL Server “Denali” CTP3

Release Notes

Product Documentation for Microsoft SQL Server Code-Named “Denali” CTP3

Books Online for SQL Server “Denali”

Online Documentation  – Tabular Model Solutions (SSAS)

Online Documentation – Tabular Modeling (Adventure Works Tutorial)

Online Documentation- DAX Table Query Syntax Reference

Online Documentation- Introduction to the CSDL Extensions for Tabular Models

Online Documentation- CSDL Concepts

Online Documentation-Connect to a Tabular Model Database (SSAS)

Online Documentation-Data Quality Services

Great Crescent Tutorial

Crescent design experience

SQL Samples for Denali CTP3

Download Details – Microsoft Download Center – Microsoft® SQL Server® code name ‘Denali’ CTP 3 Feature Pack

Installation & Walkthroughs

Dan English’s BI Blog >SQL Server ‘Denali’ CTP3 Install Experience

MSDN > Deployment Checklist: Reporting Services, Project Crescent, and PowerPivot for SharePoint

MSDN > SQL Server BI Feature Installation with SharePoint

MSDN > Install PowerPivot for SharePoint 

MSDN > Installing Reporting Services SharePoint Mode Report Server for Project Crescent and Data Alerting

Best resources & community posts so far


Microsoft® SQL Server® code name ‘Denali’, Community Technology Preview 3 (CTP 3) Product Guide


SSIS Team Blog > SSIS – What’s New in SQL Server Denali

SQL Server Code Name “Denali” Breakthrough Insight

New “BISM”,Tabular Models & DAX

Andrew Fryer > Analysis Services cubed in SQL Server Denali ctp3

Analysis Services and PowerPivot Team Blog > Welcome to Tabular Projects

Analysis Services and PowerPivot Team Blog > Creating a tabular Model with AMO

Chris Webb’s BI Blog > DAX Queries, Part 1

Chris Webb’s BI Blog > DAX Queries, Part 2

Cathy Dumas’s Blog > Tabular Designer Architecture

WesleyB’s Blog > SQL Server Denali CTP3–Lots of interesting resources

SQLBI – Marco Russo > First steps with #ssas #Tabular in #Denali #CTP3

Data Visualization > Tabular Model, Columnstore, new BIDS released!

Analysis Services and PowerPivot Team Blog > The Diagram is here…

PowerPivot Denali: Parent child using DAX

Project “Crescent”

YouTube > NEW Demo for SQL Server Project “Crescent”

Getting Started with Project “Crescent” and PowerPivot for Excel in SQL Server Code-Named “Denali” Community Technology Preview 3 (CTP3)


SQL Server Reporting Services Team Blog  > SQL Server codename “Denali” CTP3, including Project “Crescent” is now publically available

Technet> Project Crescent Overview

Technet>Data Visualizations in Project Crescent

Small multiples - one bubble chart per month

Technet > Crescent FAQ, Troubleshooting, Tips, and Trick

Technet > Tutorial Create Charts, Tiles, and Other Visualizations in Project Crescent

Reporting Alerts *NEW!!!*

Reporting Alerting in SQL Server Denali ctp3 – Insufficient data from Andrew Fryer – Site Home – TechNet Blogs

new data alert 2

Data Quality Services *NEW!!!*

Data Quality Services (DQS) > Introducing Data Quality Services

Data Quality Services (DQS) > How to add Reference Data Services in Data Quality Services (DQS)

Interesting findings


Hope that’s not for rtm… Does this mean no excel on tabular models direct mode??? Will Excel support DAX directly? 2010? 2012?

“Connecting to DirectQuery Models

After you have switched the model to DirectQuery mode, traditional OLAP clients cannot connect to the model. For example, if you attempt to create an MDX query against a DirectQuery model, you will get an error indicating that the cube cannot be found, or has not been processed. However, you can use DAX formulas and XMLA queries. For more information about how you can perform ad hoc queries against tabular models, see Tabular Model Data Access.”



Promising… finally! Note that its driven by data feeds… so we’ve got great potential here.

Open Alert Designer from SharePoint library

Self Service Alerting:

Alerting is a new capability that we are adding to Reporting Services. As soon as the report server is upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali”, it will enable any user that can access reports previously built with SSRS 2005, SSRS 2008 or SSRS 2008 R2 whether in Report Builder or BIDS, to setup alert rules and be alerted when report data changes occur that match a set of rules.  No changes are required to the existing reports. You’ll need to have SSRS integrated with SharePoint in order to take advantage of this new capability (the reports must also use stored credentials data sources, similar to subscriptions).  Management of alerts is also enabled through SharePoint through a common interface.

CTP 3 Books online – Data Alerts (SSRS)

Workflow in Reporting Services alerting

Data Alert Designer

Areas within the Alert Designer user interface

“RDLC Designer and Report Viewer Control: Have been upgraded with Reporting Services “DENALI” code base (Including support for DOCX, XLSX Export, Map functionality, RDL 2010 schema support…). Starting with the next release of Visual Studio, RDLC and Report Viewer will ship with the same level of functionality of the most current release of SQL Server.”

I want to believe that for RTM that’s still hope for a *real* semantic model… that feeds crescent & other tools like excel, and supports both tabular models, as olap models… Come on guys…

You always start Crescent from a tabular model in a SharePoint Server 2010 document library or in a PowerPivot Gallery. The model can be:

A PowerPivot file (XLSX) in a PowerPivot Gallery in SharePoint Server 2010. For more information, see Use PowerPivot Gallery.
A shared data source (RSDS) with a Microsoft Business Intelligence Semantic Model data source type, based either on a PowerPivot file on a tabular model on a Analysis Services server. For more information, see Tabular Model Connection Type (SSRS).
A BISM connection file (BISM) based on a tabular model on a Analysis Services server. BISM connection files can be either in a standard SharePoint Server 2010 document library or a PowerPivot gallery. For more information, see PowerPivot BISM Connection (.bism).”


Closing “rants“ :)


– Ahhh….Excel team: restricting the new models to pivot table style reporting… hmmmm …. you’re fixing this right? ;) It seems almost unbelievable that MS keeps missing the wide usage of *their own* excel as BI tool, and not (yet) building a proper query editor that covers *real* business intelligence semantic models… with much better query editor & query results (both pivot & tables)…

– And yes, I’ve got a feeling and for now I’m agreeing with Andrei Pandre , and sorry Andrew I have to disagree, I can’t easily spot a proper BISM (semantic model)(cof, yes, apart from the .bism extension…) that unifies & shields client apis from tabular or typical olap models. I see two models, with some clients (excel) being forced to see a tabular model as an olap model, and others seeing only a tabular model (crescent) … kind of “messy” … Hope it will be better! The old report models seem much more semantic to me….

– And sorry guys… a little too early to go “frenzy” deep dive learning DAX. :) No need to rush… honestly we should be focusing more on helping MS get a great new version out. If they get it right, DAX will then be a huge success… but only then…

Kind regards,