Microsoft released the CTP3 of Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali”, as you can see in the SSAS product group blog post.

This is the first public release of Denali and after many months of forced silence (I was under NDA) I can finally write my first hand experience with this new version! In the next months I will write on the blog more technical content, but today I start with my setup experience.

The setup experience is similar to SQL Server 2008 R2. I installed Denali as an instance on my Developer Notebook side by side with an instance of SQL Server 2008 and an instance of SQL Server 2008 R2. Everything was fine and it seems that all the services (old and new ones) are still working regularly. Default settings are usually good, but there are a couple of notes important for BISM Tabular.

  • By default, Analysis Services install the Multidimensional instance.
    • Because you can have only one type of models for each instance of Analysis Services, if you want to install both BISM modes (Multidimensional and Tabular) you have to run the setup two times, one for each BISM model type required.
  • By default, Analysis Services runs with a “secured” account (technically, a service account)
    • If you try to import data in a BISM model from the user interface, you are using your own account during all the wizard.
    • However, whenever the model is populated, it is temporarily published on a SSAS server, which runs with a service account. If this account is not enabled to read data running on the relational source, the refresh will seem not to work in Visual Studio, whereas in reality it is the service that is not authorized to read data from the data source.

There is also a new CTP3 release of PowerPivot for Excel. I removed the previous version of PowerPivot to install the new one on my developer notebook. Everything seems ok and I appreciated that the user interface already has a good quality (no missing icons in the ribbon, for example).

I’ll start playing with this CTP3 as soon as possible, and I will have more content to blog about.