NW Business Intelligence

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Archive for June, 2011

SQL Server mixed mode security

Posted by Brad Greene on June 26, 2011

Getting the “Microsoft SQL Server: Error 18456″ when trying to log into your SQL Server database after upgrading to 2008 R2 perhaps? Happened to me. I’d been using Windows Authentication since upgrading to 2008 R2 but then needed to utilize SQL Server Authentication after installing Cognos 10. I spent a little while scratching my head wondering why none of my SQL accounts worked and all I got  was the previously mentioned error.

I presume the default installation sets the Server to Windows Authentication only or I picked it during the upgrade and don’t remember. You have to set it to mixed mode by going into the Server properties. See screen shot below. These settings are under the Security page.

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Statistics are cool

Posted by Brad Greene on June 19, 2011

I just added a link (actually put it back in) to last year’s coolest documentary for data geeks. Hans Rosling’s “Joy of Stats“. It is an entertaining 1 hour on a topic that most people would never dream could be even remotely entertaining. The guy is just plain interesting to listen to. Business Intelligence has a lot to do with stats and I really like the way Rosling makes his point with visually effective presentations. Imagine getting the opportunity to build a dashboard with some of the techniques he uses!

As always my source for this kind of cool stuff is www.flowingdata.com. Check it out if you have not done so. Always something fun to see popping up there weekly.

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SSRS Report Builder 3.0 and IE9 needs .NET 3.5

Posted by Brad Greene on June 12, 2011

If you are using Microsoft IE 9 browser and the new Report Builder with SQL Server 2008 or later you may have run into the error below when trying to start RB 3.0. It seems odd at first because Windows 7 comes with .NET 3.5. I learned after a little searching that the issue lies with IE9. The problem is easily resolved by setting the Compatibility mode for this URL (the one you use to access your SSRS Report Server). You may have to enable the setting in IE9 under the Tools menu. Do a web search for how to enable Compatibility on IE9 and you will find an MS Support site article showing you how to do it. With that turned on the browser behaves like prior releases and, I assume, allows it to find the .NET Framework that RB 3.0 requires to run.

Report Manager error opening Report Builder 3.0

Report Manager error opening Report Builder 3.0

With the Compatibility mode set to “on” as indicated by the icon below Report Builder now runs as expected.

Report Manager opening Report Builder 3.0

Report Manager opening Report Builder 3.0

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SSRS Custom Assemblies require .NET 3.5?

Posted by Brad Greene on June 10, 2011

I’ve been working on prepping for my Microsoft 70-448 certification and learning a ton of things. Yesterday I was adding some custom assemblies to a report using VB as my code base. I decided to try using Visual Studio Express 2010 to build the DLL as an added exercise. That worked as expected. Then I copied the DLL to the required folders and defined the references in the report. So far no problems. However, when I went to preview the report I got an error which indicated that my assembly was of a version later than that supported. That left me scratching my head for a few minutes.

It occurred to me to check the Advanced Compiler properties in VSE for the assembly I had just built. There I noticed  the target .NET Framework was set to 4.0. I suspected that was the problem and set it to 3.5, recompiled the DLL and tried it all again. Sure enough, that was the issue. I then went to Google and confirmed it.

So, if you build custom assemblies for SSRS 2008 R2, as of June 2011, you probably have to stick with compiling for the 3.5 .NET Framework. I did not see any posts or articles for work-arounds but that doesn’t mean one isn’t possible. Never say never.

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Delivering on the promise

Posted by Brad Greene on June 1, 2011

For the past half dozen years I have spent the majority of my time helping companies get down that last mile or two of a BI project. While not always, it was often the case that I was there because IT had found the burden of delivering a BI solution was more than they bargained for. It may be they underestimated the skills required; maybe they were oversold by the vendor on the ease of implementation; often they were just slammed with other vital work. One advantage I always had in these situations was being allowed to work mostly outside the boundaries of the typical IT processes. Ah yes, the so called “cowboys” had arrived is what I’m sure the IT people thought. However, they had no choice because their customers demanded a solution be delivered now! And there in lies my point. We all exist to serve those business users, our real customers. In BI that means delivering solutions in a way that is often very different than other applications IT typically delivers.

I just read a Forrester BI trend report that confirms what I have been seeing and thinking for a while now. This trend towards centralizing BI into IT is not paying off. I understand why it has happened. We needed the buy in from upper management, the sponsors, data governance, master data management and all that. No doubt about it. That is all vital but it is a Fuastian deal. At least as far as our real customers are concerned because along with becoming a part of the centralized IT structure inevitably comes bureaucracy, layers of process ill suited to BI and we end up lost and bogged down unable to deliver on the promise. I’m sure somewhere a company has managed to make it work but overall it appears to be a growing problem. The Forrester report suggests we let IT hang on to data preparation and turn the rest back over to the business. Interesting. We need to do something different, that is for certain.

I don’t want to return to the “cowboy” days and throw all the hard earned lessons and best practices out the window but we need to realize that our customers move at the speed of their business. They are mad at us because we can’t keep pace. We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and answer the question “Is everything I’m doing adding value for my customer and am I doing it in a way that meets ALL their needs?”. That means getting them solutions quickly and standing side by side with them so we know what it feels like when we fail to deliver.

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