I thought the obvious route to get to know SQL Server would be to study for the Microsoft Certifications and use the accompanying books. I persevered for a number of weeks and then gave up through sheer boredom and frustration. What I needed wasn't a load of technical theory, what I needed was a guide written in an easy-going style whilst at the same time not treating me like a 'dummy'. I needed something that shared my excitement and passion for the practicalities whilst respecting the underlying theory. This book delivered on all levels. From the outset it's utterly engaging, humorous, relevant and thoroughly interesting. The book is packed with worked examples, each building on the last. There are no errors that I can find and the book painstakingly goes through the detail step-by-step whilst managing to remain compellingly interesting. The accompanying files are similarly extremely thorough and have useful readme files which aided me on the odd occasion where I got stuck. There are plenty of great additional touches, from inspirational quotes to a liberal use of helpful screenshots. On many occasions I found myself nodding and smiling in agreement having experienced first-hand similar challenges. I really cannot find any fault with this book- it's a real labour of love on the part of the author. Extremely highly recommended- and not just for those interested in SQL Server (which is a great piece of software in itself). This is also very much a book about what business intelligence is and why it works.
What a frustrating book... I'm surprised at all the positive ratings...
I'm about 150 pages into this book and so far it's been a torture reading this. There is simply too much of pointless and repetitive step by step instructions that the reader is expected to follow: "click that", "type that", "select this", "drag that" and the infamous: "click Next" etc. To give you an example:
28. Click the cell containing “Add new dimension” in the Add new dimensions grid. 29. Enter Customer in the Name column. 30. Click the cell containing “Add new dimension” and enter Product in the Name column. 31. Click the cell containing “Add new dimension” and enter Promotion in the Name column. 32. Click the cell containing “Add new dimension” and enter Sales Person in the Name column.
This is just a small extract out of an step-by-step instruction that is ~70 odd steeps long. By step 20 my neck was hurting from looking up and down between the book and computer screen and yet I didn't feel as if I was learning anything valuable about BI ...
I choose this to get a good practical book that gives a sound grounding into the technology and drums in some methodical approach. I am halfway through it & so far I see this as a good introduction to SISS SSAS & I suppose SSRS (I already had SSRS book for same author).
I would recommend this book for a beginner & someone who is of an intermediate level.
I bought this book to get a practical overview of BI using SQL Server 2012 and it has succeeded in that objective. It is a big tome but I have managed to plough though most of it in the space of a month. There is good 'beginner' treatment of Integration and Analysis Services. You will need additional books for a more detailed look at both these and the author and others have titles to suit. You will also want to get more information on Reporting Services and Excel as client delivery tools as these are covered in fairly short content, but it certainly gives you a taste of what is possible with these tools. I did experience a problem when trying to create Tabular Analysis due to a missing driver that SS needs and still have not managed to overcome this. The book is still worth 5 stars and is recommended for anyone who is starting out in BI.