… as one of the crucial issues for that (in addition to the cloud, mobility and Internet-of-Things), via the current tipping point as per Microsoft, and the upcoming revolution in that as per Intel

Satya Nadella, Cloud & Enterprise Group, Microsoft and Om Malik, Founder & Senior Writer, GigaOM [LeWeb YouTube channel, Dec 10, 2013]

Satya is responsible for building and running Microsoft’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services. He and his team deliver the “Cloud OS.” Rumored to be on the short list for CEO, he shares his views on the future. [Interviewed during the “Plenary I” devoted to “The Next 10 years” at Day 1 on Dec 10, 2013.]

And why I will present Big Data after that? For very simple reason: IMHO exactly in Big Data Microsoft’s innovations came to a point at which its technology has the best chances to become dominant and subsequently define the standard for the IT industry—resulting in “winner-take-all” economies of scale and scope. Whatever Intel is going to add to that in terms of “technologies for the next Big Data revolution” is going only to help Microsoft with its currently achieved innovative position even more. But for this reason I will include here the upcoming Intel innovations for Big Data as well.

In this next-gen regard it is highly recommended to read also: Disaggregation in the next-generation datacenter and HP’s Moonshot approach for the upcoming HP CloudSystem “private cloud in-a-box” with the promised HP Cloud OS based on the 4 years old OpenStack effort with others [‘Experiencing the Cloud’. Dec 12, 2013] !

Now the detailed discussion of Big Data:

Microsoft® makes Big Data work for you! [HP Discover YouTube channel, recorded on Dec 11; published on Dec 12, 2013]

[Doug Smith, Director, Emerging Technologies, Microsoft] Come and join our Innovation Theatre session to hear how customers are solving Big Data challenges in big ways jointly with HP!

The Garage Series: Unleashing Power BI for Office 365 [Office 365 technology blog, Nov 20, 2013]

In this week’s show, host Jeremy Chapman is joined by Michael Tejedor from the SQL Server team to discuss Power BI and show it in action. Power BI for Office 365 is a cloud based solution that reduces the barriers to deploying a self-service Business Intelligence environment for sharing live Excel based reports and data queries as well as new features and services that enable ease of data discover and information access from anywhere. Michael draws up the self-service approach to Power BI as well as how public data can be queried and combined in a unified view within Excel. Then they walk through an end-to-end demo of Excel and Power BI components–Power Query [formerly known as "Data Explorer"], Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map [formerly known as product codename "Geoflow"] and Q&A–as they optimize profitability of a bar and rein in bartenders with data.

Last week Mark Kashman and I went through the administrative controls of managing user access and mobile devices, but this week I’m joined by Michael Tejedor and we shift gears completely to talk data, databases and business intelligence. Back in July we announced Power BI for Office 365 and how this new service along with the  using the familiar tools within Excel, enables you can to discover, analyze, visualize and share data in powerful ways. Power BIThe solution includes Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map and as well as a host of Power BI features including Q&A.  and how using the familiar tools within Excel, you can discover, analyze, visualize and share data in powerful ways. Power BI includes Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map and Q&A.  

Power Query [formerly known as "Data Explorer"] is a data search engine allowing you to query data from within your company and from external data sources on the Internet, all within Excel.

Power Pivot lets you create flexible models within Excel that can process large data sets quickly using SQL Server’s in-memory database.

Power View allows you to manipulate data and compile it into charts, graphs and other visualizations. It’s great for presentations and reports

Power Map [formerly known as product codename "Geoflow"] is a 3D data visualization tool for mapping, exploring and interacting with geographic and temporal data.

Q&A is a natural language query engine that lets users easily query data using common terms and phrases.

In many cases, the process to get custom reports and dashboards from the people running your databases, sales or operations systems is something like submitting a request to your database administrator and a few phone calls or meetings to get what you want. I came from an logistics and operations management background, it could easily take 2 or 3 weeks to even make minor tweaks to an operational dashboard. Now you can use something familiar–Excel–in a self-service way to hook into your local databases, Excel flat files, modern data sources like Hadoop or public data sources via Power Query and the data catalogue. All of these data sources can be combined create powerful insights and data visualizations, all can be easily and securely shared with the people you work with through the Power BI for Office 365 service.

Of course all of this sounds great, but you can’t really get a feel for it until you see it. Michael and team built out a great demo themed after a bar and using data to track alcohol profitability, pour precision per bartender and Q&A to query all of this using normal query terms. You’ll want to watch the show to see how everything turns out and of course to see all of these power tools in action. Of course if you want to kick the tires and try Power BI for Office 365, you can register for the preview now.

Intel: technologies for the next Big Data revolution [HP Discover YouTube channel, recorded on Dec 11; published on Dec 12, 2013]

[Patrick Buddenbaum, Director, Enterprise Segment, Intel Corporation at HP Discover Barcelona 2013 on Dec 11, 11:40 AM - 12:00 PM] HP and Intel share the belief that every organization and individual should be able to unlock intelligence from the world’s ever increasing set of data sources—the Internet of Things.


Related “current tipping point” announcements from Microsoft:

From: Organizations Speed Business Results With New Appliances From HP and Microsoft [joint press release, Jan 18, 2011]

New solutions for business intelligence, data warehouse, messaging and database consolidation help increase employee productivity and reduce IT complexity.

… The HP Business Decision Appliance is available now to run business intelligence services ….

Delivering on the companies’ extended partnership announced a year ago, the new converged application appliances from HP and Microsoft are the industry’s first systems designed for IT, as well as end users. They deliver application services such as business intelligence, data warehousing, online transaction processing and messaging. The jointly engineered appliances, and related consulting and support services, enable IT to deliver critical business applications in as little as one hour, compared with potentially months needed for traditional systems.3 One of the solutions already offered by HP and Microsoft — the HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance — delivers up to 200 times faster queries and 10 times the scalability of traditional Microsoft SQL Server deployments.4

With the HP Business Decision Appliance, HP and Microsoft have greatly reduced the time and effort it takes for IT to configure, deploy and manage a comprehensive business intelligence solution, compared with a traditional business intelligence solution where applications, infrastructure and productivity tools are not pre-integrated. This appliance is optimized for Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint and can be installed and configured by IT in less than one hour.

The solution enables end users to share data analyses built with Microsoft’s award-winning5 PowerPivot for Excel 2010 and collaborate with others in SharePoint 2010. It allows IT to centrally audit, monitor and manage solutions created by end users from a single dashboard.

Availability and Pricing6

The HP Business Decision Appliance with three years of HP 24×7 hardware and software support services is available today from HP and HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partners for less than $28,000 (ERP). Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010 are licensed separately.

The HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance with services for site assessment, installation and startup, as well as three years of HP 24×7 hardware and software support services, is available today from HP and HP/Microsoft Frontline channel partners starting at less than $2 million. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse is licensed separately.

3 Based on HP’s experience with customers using HP Business Decision Appliance.

4 SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) has been evaluated by 16 early adopter customers in six different industries. Customers compared PDW with their existing environments and saw typically 40x and up to 200x improvement in query times.

5Messaging and Online Collaboration Reviews, Nov. 30, 2010, eWEEK.com.

6 Estimated retail U.S. prices. Actual prices may vary.

From: HP Delivers Enterprise Agility with New Converged Infrastructure Solutions [press release, June 6, 2011]

HP today announced several industry-first Converged Infrastructure solutions that improve enterprise agility by simplifying deployment and speeding IT delivery.

Converged Systems accelerate time to application value

HP Converged Systems speed solution deployment by providing a common architecture, management and security model across virtualization, cloud and dedicated application environments. They include:

HP AppSystem maximizes performance while simplifying deployment and application management. These systems offer best practice operations with a standard architecture that lowers total cost of ownership. Among the new systems are HP Vertica Analytics System, as well as HP Database Consolidation Solution and HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance, which are both optimized for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2.

From: Microsoft Expands Data Platform With SQL Server 2012, New Investments for Managing Any Data, Any Size, Anywhere [press release, Oct 12, 2011]

New technologies will give businesses a universal platform for data management, access and collaboration.

… Kummert described how SQL Server 2012, formerly code-named “Denali,” addresses the growing challenges of data and device proliferation by enabling customers to rapidly unlock and extend business insights, both in traditional datacenters and through public and private clouds. Extending on this foundation, Kummert also announced new investments to help customers manage “big data,” including an Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server and Windows Azure and a strategic partnership with Hortonworks Inc. …

The company also made available final versions of the Hadoop Connectors for SQL Server and Parallel Data Warehouse. Customers can use these connectors to integrate Hadoop with their existing SQL Server environments to better manage data across all types and forms.

SQL Server 2012 delivers a powerful new set of capabilities for mission-critical workloads, business intelligence and hybrid IT across traditional datacenters and private and public clouds. Features such as Power View (formerly Project “Crescent,”) and SQL Server Data Tools (formerly “Juneau”) expand the self-service BI capabilities delivered with PowerPivot, and provide an integrated development environment for SQL Server developers.

From: Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2012 to Help Customers Manage “Any Data, Any Size, Anywhere” [press release, March 6, 2012]

Microsoft’s next-generation data platform releases to manufacturing today.

REDMOND, Wash. — March 6, 2012 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the latest version of the world’s most widely deployed data platform, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, has released to manufacturing. SQL Server 2012 helps address the challenges of increasing data volumes by rapidly turning data into actionable business insights. Expanding on Microsoft’s commitment to help customers manage any data, regardless of size, both on-premises and in the cloud, the company today also disclosed additional details regarding its plans to release an Apache Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure.

Tackling Big Data

IT research firm Gartner estimates that the volume of global data is growing at a rate of 59 percent per year, with 70 to 85 percent in unstructured form.* Furthering its commitment to connect SQL Server and rich business intelligence tools, such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPivot for Excel 2010 and Power View, with unstructured data, Microsoft announced plans to release an additional limited preview of an Apache Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure in the first half of 2012.

To help customers more cost-effectively manage their enterprise-scale workloads, Microsoft will release several new data warehousing solutions in conjunction with the general availability of SQL Server 2012, slated to begin April 1. This includes a major software update and new half-rack form factors for Microsoft Parallel Data Warehouse appliances, as well as availability of SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse reference architectures for SQL Server 2012.

Microsoft Simplifies Big Data for the Enterprise [press release, Oct 24, 2012]

New Apache Hadoop-compatible solutions for Windows Azure and Windows Server enable customers to easily extract insights from big data.

NEW YORK — Oct. 24, 2012 — Today at the O’Reilly Strata Conference + Hadoop World, Microsoft Corp. announced new previews of Windows Azure HDInsight Service and Microsoft HDInsight Server for Windows, the company’s Apache Hadoop-based solutions for Windows Azure and Windows Server. The new previews, available today athttp://www.microsoft.com/bigdata, deliver Apache Hadoop compatibility for the enterprise and simplify deployment of Hadoop-based solutions. In addition, delivering these capabilities on the Windows Server and Azure platforms enables customers to use the familiar tools of Excel, PowerPivot for Excel and Power View to easily extract actionable insights from the data.

“Big data should provide answers for business, not complexity for IT,” said David Campbell, technical fellow, Microsoft. “Providing Hadoop compatibility on Windows Server and Azure dramatically lowers the barriers to setup and deployment and enables customers to pull insights from any data, any size, on-premises or in the cloud.”

The company also announced today an expanded partnership with Hortonworks, a commercial vendor of Hadoop, to give customers access to an enterprise-ready distribution of Hadoop with the newly released solutions.

“Hortonworks is the only provider of Apache Hadoop that ensures a 100 percent open source platform,” said Rob Bearden, CEO of Hortonworks. “Our expanded partnership with Microsoft empowers customers to build and deploy on platforms that are fully compatible with Apache Hadoop.”

More information about today’s news and working with big data can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/bigdata.

Choose the Right Strategy to Reap Big Value From Big Data [feature article for the press, Nov 13, 2012]

From devices to storage to analytics, technologies that work together will be key for business’ next information age.

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 13, 2012 — It seems the gigabyte is going the way of the megabyte — another humble unit of computational measurement that is becoming less and less relevant. Long live the terabyte, impossibly large, increasingly common.

Consider this: Of all the data that’s been collected in the world, more than 90 percent has been gathered in the last two years alone. According to a June 2011 report from the McKinsey Global Institute, 15 out of 17 industry sectors of the U.S. have more data stored — per company — than the U.S. Library of Congress.

The explosion in data has been catalyzed by several factors. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are creating huge streams of unstructured data in the form of opinions, comments, trends and demographics arising from a vast and growing worldwide conversation.

And then there’s the emerging world of machine-generated information. The rise of intelligent systems and the Internet of Things means that more and more specialized devices are connected to information technology — think of a national retail chain that is connected to every one of its point-of-sale terminals across thousands of locations or an automotive plant that can centrally monitor hundreds of robots on the shop floor.

Combine it all and some industry observers are predicting that the amount of data stored by organizations across industries will increase ten-fold every five years, much of it coming from new streams that haven’t yet been tapped.

It truly is a new information age, and the opportunity is huge. The McKinsey Global Instituteestimates that the U.S. health care system, for example, could save as much as $300 billion from more effective use of data. In Europe, public sector organizations alone stand to save 250 billion euros.

In the ever-competitive world of business, data strategy is becoming the next big competitive advantage. According to analyst firm Gartner Group,* “By tapping a continual stream of information from internal and external sources, businesses today have an endless array of new opportunities for: transforming decision-making; discovering new insights; optimizing the business; and innovating their industries.”

According to Microsoft’s Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of the Business Platforms Division, companies addressing this challenge today may wonder where to start. How do you know which data to store without knowing what you want to measure? But then again, how do you know what insights the data holds without having it in the first place?

“There is latent value in the data itself,” Kummert says. “The good news is storage costs are making it economical to store the data. But that still leaves the question of how to manage it and gain value from it to move your business forward.”

With new data services in the cloud such as Windows Azure HDInsight Service and Microsoft HDInsight Server for Windows and Microsoft’s Apache Hadoop-based solutions for Windows Azure and Windows Server, organizations can afford to capture valuable data streams now while they develop their strategy — without making a huge financial bet on a six-month, multimillion-dollar datacenter project.

Just having access to the data, says Kummert, can allow companies to start asking much more complicated questions, combining information sources such as geolocation or weather information with internal operational trends such as transaction volume.

“In the end, big data is not just about holding lots of information,” he says. “It’s about how you harness it. It’s about insight, allowing end users to get the answers they need and doing so with the tools they use every day, whether that’s desktop applications, devices at the network edge or something else.”

His point is often overlooked with all the abstract talk of big data. In the end, it’s still about people, so making it easier for information workers to shift to a new world in which data is paramount is just as important as the information itself. Information technology is great at providing answers, but it still doesn’t know how to ask the right questions, and that’s where having the right analytics tools and applications can help companies make the leap from simply storing mountains of data to actually working with it.

That’s why in the Windows 8 world, Kummert says, the platform is designed to extend from devices and phones to servers and services, allowing companies to build a cohesive data strategy from end to end with the ultimate goal of empowering workers.

“When we talk about the Microsoft big data platform, we have all of the components to achieve exactly that,” Kummert says. “From the Windows Embedded platform to the Microsoft SQL Server stack through to the Microsoft Office stack. We have all the components to collect the data, store it securely and make it easier for information workers to find it — and, more importantly, understand what it means.”

For more information on building intelligent systems to get the most out of business data, please visit the Windows Embedded home page.

* Gartner, “Gartner Says Big Data Creates Big Jobs: 4.4 Million IT Jobs Globally to Support Big Data By 2015,” October 2012

Which data management solution delivers against today’s top six requirements? [The HP Blog Hub, March 25, 2013]

By Manoj Suvarna – Director, Product Management, HP AppSystems

In my last post I talked about the six key requirements I believe a data management

solution should deliver against today, namely:

1.      High performance

2.      Fast time to value

3.      Built with Big Data as a priority

4.      Low cost

5.      Simplified management

6.      Proven expertise

Today, 25th March 2013, HP has announced the HP AppSystem for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse, a comprehensive data warerehouse solution jointly engineered with Microsoft, with a wide array of complementary tools, to effectively manage, store, and unlock valuable business insights.

Let’s take a look at how the solution delivers against each of the key requirements in turn:

1  High performance

With its MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) engine, and ‘shared nothing’ architecture, to effectively manage, store, and unlock valuable business insights, the HP AppSystem for Parallel Data Warehouse can deliver linear scale starting from a configuration to support small terabyte requirements all the way up to configurations supporting six Petabytes of data. 

The solution features the latest HP ProLiant Gen8 servers, with InfiniBand FDR networking, and uses the xVelocity in-memory analytics engine and the xVelocity memory-optimized columnstore index feature in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 to greatly enhance query performance. 

The combination of Microsoft software with HP Converged Infrastructure means HP AppSystem for Parallel Data Warehouse offers leading performance for complex workloads, with up to 100x faster query performance and a 30% faster scan rate than previous generations.

2  Fast time to value

HP AppSystem for Parallel Data Warehouse is a factory built, turn-key system, delivered complete from HP’s factory as an integrated set of hardware and software including servers, storage, networking, tools, software, services, and support.   Not only is the solution pre-integrated, but it’s backed by unique, collaborative HP and Microsoft support with onsite installation and deployment services to smooth implementation.  

3  Built with Big Data as a priority

Designed to integrate with Hadoop, HP AppSystem for Parallel Data Warehouse is ideally suited for “Big Data” environments. This integration allows customers to perform comprehensive analytics on unstructured, semi-structured and structured data, to effectively gain business insights and make better, faster decisions.

4  Simplified management

Providing the optimal management environment has been a critical element of the design, and is delivered through HP Support Pack Utility Suite.  This set of tools simplifies updates and several other maintenance tasks across the system to ensure that it is continually running at optimal performance.  Unique in the industry, HP Support Pack Utility Suite can deliver up to 2000 firmware updates with the click of a button.  In addition, the HP AppSystem for Parallel Data Warehouse is manageable via the Microsoft System Center console, leveraging deep integration with HP Insight Control.

5  Low cost

The HP AppSystem for Parallel Data Warehouse has been designed as part of an end to end stack for data management, integrating data warehousing seamlessly with BI solutions to minimize the cost of ownership.

It has also been re-designed with a new form factor to minimize space and maximize ease of expansion, which means the entry point for a quarter rack system is approximately 35% less expensive than the previous generation solution.    It is expandable in modular increments up to 64 nodes, which means no need for the type of fork-lift upgrade that might be needed with a proprietary solution, and is targeted to be approximately half the cost per TB of comparable offerings in the market from Oracle, IBM, and EMC*.

6 Proven expertise

Together HP and Microsoft have over 30 years experience delivering integrated solutions from desktop to datacenter.  HP AppSystem for Parallel Data Warehouse completes the portfolio for HP Data Management solutions, which give customers the ability to deliver insights on any data, of any size, combining best in class Microsoft software with HP Converged Infrastructure.

For customers, our ability to deliver on the requirements above ultimately provides agility for faster, lower risk deployment of data management in the enterprise, helping them make key business decisions more quickly and drive more value to the organization.

If you’d like to find out more, please go to www.hp.com/solutions/microsoft/pdw.

*  http://www.valueprism.com/resources/resources/Resources/PDW%20Compete%20Pricing%20FINAL.pdf

HP AppSystem for SQL 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse [HP product page, March 25, 2013]


Rapid time-to-value data warehouse solution

The HP AppSystem for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse, jointly engineered, built and supported with Microsoft, is for customers who realize limitations and inefficiencies of their legacy data warehouse infrastructure. This converged system solution delivers significant advances over the previous generation solution including:

Enhanced performance and massive scalability

Up to 100x faster query performance and a 30% faster scan rate

Ability to start from small terabyte requirements that can  linearly scale out to 6 Petabytes for mission critical needs

Minimize costs and management complexity

Redesigned form factor minimizes space  and allows ease of expansion with significant up-front acquisition savings as well as reduce OPEX heating, cooling and real estate cost requirements

Appliance  solution is pre-built and tested as a complete, end-to-end stack — easy to deploy and minimal technical resources required

Extensive integration of Microsoft and 3rd party tools  allow users to work with familiar tools like Excel as well as within heterogeneous BI environments

Unique HP Support Pack Utility Suite set of tools significantly simplifies updates and  other maintenance tasks to ensure system is running at optimal performance

Reduce risks and manage change

Services delivered jointly under a unique collaborative support agreement, integrated across hardware and software, to help avoid IT disruptions and deliver faster resolution to issues

Backed by more than 48,000 Microsoft professionals—with more than 12,000 Microsoft Certified—one of the largest, most specialized forces of consultants and support professionals for Microsoft environments in the world

Solution Components

HP Products

HP ProLiant Gen8 servers

HP Storage

HP Services

HP SQL Infrastructure Services for Microsoft

HP Software

HP Insight Control

Partner’s Software

Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Microsoft PDW Software

HP Support

HP Consulting Services for Microsoft

[also available with Dell Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance]
Appliance: Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) [Microsoft PDW Software product page, Feb 27, 2013]

PDW is a massively parallel processing data warehousing appliance built for any volume of relational data (with up to 100x performance gains) and provides the simplest integration to Hadoop.

Unlike other vendors who opt to provide their high-end appliances for a high price or provide a relational data warehouse appliance that is disconnected from their “Big Data” and/or BI offerings, Microsoft SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse provides both a high-end massively parallel processing appliance that can improve your query response times up to 100x over legacy solutions as well as seamless integration to both Hadoop and with familiar business intelligence solutions. What’s more, it was engineered to lower ongoing costs resulting in a solution that has the lowest price/terabyte in the market.

What’s New in SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse

Up to 50x performance gains with the xVelocity updateable columnstore.

Up to 100x performance gains over legacy warehouses.

Seamless integration with “Big Data” using PolyBase.

Multi-petabyte data capacity.

2.5x lower price per terabyte than SQL Server 2008 R2 PDW and lowest price per terabyte in industry.

Key Capabilities

Built For Big Data with PolyBase

SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse introduces PolyBase, a fundamental breakthrough in data processing used to enable seamless integration between traditional data warehouses and “Big Data” deployments.

Use standard SQL queries (instead of MapReduce) to access and join Hadoop data with relational data.

Query Hadoop data without IT having to pre-load data first into the warehouse.

Native Microsoft BI Integration allowing analysis of relational and non-relational data with familiar tools like Excel.

Learn more about PolyBase.

Next-Generation Performance at Scale

Scale and perform beyond your traditional SQL Server deployment with PDW’s massively parallel processing (MPP) appliance that can handle the extremes of your largest mission critical requirements of performance and scale.

Up to 100x faster than legacy warehouses with xVelocity updateable columnstore.

Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) architecture that parallelizes and distributes computing for high query concurrency and complexity.

Rest assured with built-in hardware redundancies for fault tolerance.

Rely on Microsoft as your single point of contact for hardware and software support.

Engineered For Optimal Value

Unlike other vendors in the data warehousing space who deliver a high-end appliance at a high price, Microsoft engineered PDW for optimal value by lowering the cost of the appliance.

Resilient, scalable, and high performance storage features built into software lowering hardware costs.

Compress data up to 15x with the xVelocity updateable columnstore saving up to 70% of storage requirements.

Start small with a quarter rack allowing you to right-size the appliance rather than over-acquiring capacity.

Use the same tools and knowledge as SQL Server without retaining new tools or knowledge for scale-out DW or Big Data.

Co-engineered with hardware partners offering highest level of product integration and shipped to your door offering fastest time to value.

The lowest price/terabyte than overall appliance market (and 2.5x lower than SQL 2008 R2 PDW).

PolyBase [Microsoft page, Feb 26, 2013]

PolyBase is a fundamental breakthrough in data processing used in SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse to enable truly integrated query across Hadoop and relational data.

Complementing Microsoft’s overall Big Data strategy, PolyBase is a breakthrough new technology on the data processing engine in SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse designed as the simplest way to combine non-relational data and traditional relational data in your analysis. While customers would normally burden IT to pre-populate the warehouse with Hadoop data or undergo an extensive training on MapReduce in order to query non-relational data, PolyBase does this all seamlessly giving you the benefits of “Big Data” without the complexities.

Key Capabilities

Unifies Relational and Non-relational Data

PolyBase is one of the most exciting technologies to emerge in recent times because it unifies the relational and non-relational worlds at the query level. Instead of learning a new query like MapReduce, customers can leverage what they already know (T-SQL)

Integrated Query: Accepts a standard T-SQL query that joins tables containing a relational source with tables in a Hadoop cluster without needing to learn MapReduce.

Advanced query options: Apart from simple SELECT queries, users can perform JOINs and GROUP BYs on data in the Hadoop cluster.

Enables In-place Queries with Familiar BI Tools

Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) integration enables users to connect to PDW with familiar tools such as Microsoft Excel, to create compelling visualizations and make key business decisions from structured or unstructured data quickly.

Integrated BI tools: End users can connect to both relational or Hadoop data with Excel abstracting the complexities of both.

Interactive visualizations: Explore data residing in HDFS using Power View for immersive interactivity and visualizations.

Query in-place: IT doesn’t have to pre-load or pre-move data from Hadoop into the data warehouse and pre-join the data before end users do the analysis.

Part of an Overall Microsoft Big Data Story

PolyBase is part of an overall Microsoft “Big Data” solution that already includes HDInsight (a 100% Apache Hadoop compatible distribution for Windows Server and Windows Azure), Microsoft Business Intelligence, and SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse.

Integrated with HDInsight: PolyBase can source the non-relational analysis from Microsoft’s 100% Apache compatible Hadoop distribution, HD Insights.

Built into PDW: PolyBase is built into SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse to bring “Big Data” benefits within the power of a traditional data warehouse.

Integrated BI tools: PolyBase has native integration with familiar BI tools like Excel (through Power View and PowerPivot).

Announcing Power BI for Office 365 [Office News, July 8, 2013]

Today, at the Worldwide Partner Conference, we announced a new offering–Power BI for Office 365. Power BI for Office 365 is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) solution that enables our customers to easily gain insights from their data, working within Excel to analyze and visualize the data in…

Exciting new BI features in Excel [Excel Blog, July 9, 2013]

Yesterday during the Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference we announced some exciting new Business Intelligence (BI) features available for Excel. Specifically, we announced the expansion of the BI offerings available as part of Power BI–a cloud-based BI solution that enables our customers to easily gain insights from their data, working within Excel to analyze and visualize the data in a self-service way.

Power BI for Office 365 now includes:

Power Query, enabling customers to easily search and access public data and their organization’s data, all within Excel (formerly known as “Data Explorer“).  Download details here. 

Power Map, a 3D data visualization tool for mapping, exploring and interacting with geographic and temporal data (formerly known as product codename “Geoflow“).  Download details here.

Power Pivot for creating and customizing flexible data models within Excel. 

Power View for creating interactive charts, graphs and other visual representations of data.

Head on over to the Office 365 Technology Blog, Office News Blog, and Power BI site to learn more.

Clearing up some confusion around the Power BI “Release” [A.J. Mee’s Business Intelligence and Big Data Blog, Aug 13, 2013]

Hey folks.  Thanks again for checking out my blog.

Yesterday (8/12/2013), Power BI received some attention from the press.  Here’s one of the articles that I had seen talking about the “release” of Power BI:


Some of us inside Microsoft had to address all sorts of questions around this one.  For the most part, the questions revolved around the *scope* of what was actually released.  You have to remember that Power BI is a broad brand name that takes into account:

* Power Pivot/View/Query/Map (which is available now, for the most part)

* The Office 365 hosting of Power BI applications with cloud-to-on-premise data refresh, Natural Language query, data stewardship, etc..

* The Mobile BI app for Windows and iOS devices

Net-net: we announced the availability of the Mobile app (in preview form).  At present, it is only available on Windows 8 devices (x86 or ARM) – no iOS just yet.  The rest of the O365 / Power BI offering is yet to come.  Check out this article to find out how to sign up.


So, the headline story is really all around the Mobile app.  You can grab it today from the Store – just search on “Power BI” and it should be the first app that shows up.

From: Power Map for Excel earns new name with significant updates to 3D visualizations and storytelling [Excel Blog, Sept 25, 2013]

We are announcing a significant update to Power Map Preview for Excel (formerly Project codename “GeoFlow” Preview for Excel) on the Microsoft Download Center. Just over five months ago, we launched the preview of Project codename “GeoFlow” amidst a passionately announced “tour” of global song artists through the years by Amir Netz (see 1:17:00 in the keynote) at the first ever PASS Business Analytics conference in April. The 3D visualization add-in has now become a centerpiece visualization (along with Power View) within the business intelligence capabilities of Microsoft Power BI in Excel, earning the new name Power Map to align with other Excel features (Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power View).

Information workers with their data in Excel have realized the potential of Power Map to identify insights in their geospatial and time-based data that traditional 2D charts cannot. Digital marketers can better target and time their campaigns while environmentally-conscious companies can fine-tune energy-saving programs across peak usage times. These are just a few of the examples of how location-based data is coming alive for customers using Power Map and distancing them from their competitors who are still staring blankly at a flat table, chart, or map. Feedback from customers like this lead us to introduce Power Map with some new features across experience of mapping data, discovering insights, and sharing stories.

From: Microsoft unleashes fall wave of enterprise cloud solutions [press release, Oct 7, 2013]

New Windows Server, System Center, Visual Studio, Windows Azure, Windows Intune, SQL Server, and Dynamics solutions will accelerate cloud benefits for customers.

REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 7, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced a wave of new enterprise products and services to help companies seize the opportunities of cloud computing and overcome today’s top IT challenges. Complementing Office 365 and other services, these new offerings deliver on Microsoft’s enterprise cloud strategy.

Data platform and insights

As part of its vision to help more people unlock actionable insights from big data, Microsoft next week will release a second preview of SQL Server 2014. The new version offers industry-leading in-memory technologies at no additional cost, giving custo

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