Ascending Mount BI Stack: Basecamp

Not quite Mount Doom but...

As some of you may know, I’ve recently transitioned over from the fabulous life of being a production DBA to joining the ranks of the BI developers with Pragmatic Works. In the years I’ve been a DBA I’ve often took a quick look and learned stuff from the BI stack here and there simply because it was there and quite frankly it’s pretty cool. Now, as a BI developer, it’s time to buck up and ascend the face of the Microsoft BI stack!

Part of my transition from production DBA to BI developer is learning the stack from top to bottom. As I journey through the different challenges of getting familiar with this side of SQL Server I’ll bring you, my handful of readers, along for the ride. While I was a DBA I’ll admit the BI stack always kind of intimidated me so I always shied away from it. Hopefully this series of posts will help future DBA’s turned BI developer (or just DBA’s looking to learn the stack) identify with my challenges and learn along with me.

As with anything, you’ve gotta have the right tools for the job and with this journey we’ll have to pack accordingly. First up we’ll need a guide book to help traverse the mountain. The guidebook of choice for this trip will be Professional Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services (Wrox Programmer to Programmer). Next there’s basic equipment we’ll be working with. I’ve created a virtual machine and loaded it with Windows 2008 Standard Edition, SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition (Database Engine, SSIS, SSAS, SSRS), Sharepoint 2007. Wait did he say Sharepoint 2007? Yes, I’ll be installing the older version for few reasons. One, most companies are still on 2007 so it’s best to learn at the majority target. Two, I’ll be doing an upgrade at some point of the SharePoint instance to 2010 so as to get experience with that part and then playing with more goodies there.

In addition to those tools we’ll need some other supplies, mainly that being data. That’s where you fine folks come in! I’ve created a sample form so as to seed some flat files for some SSIS fun later. Every so often I’ll update the data dump file so that you guys can play along with the same sample data you’re generating! To get to the form simply click here and have fun. Fill it out as many times as you want, the more data the better!

This should be a fun journey to take and I hope you guys enjoy coming along for the ride!

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