I went to the Melbourne SQL Server User Group meeting last night to hear Darren Gosbell give a lightning fast overview of the new and improved BI features in SQL Server 2008. I haven’t had too much to do with the BI side of SQL Server (with the exception of Reporting Services), but it was an excellent presentation, and very informative.
Darren broke the presentation up into three sections – highlighting the performance enhancements of the SSRS, SSIS and SSAS engines, the changes to the designers and wizards, and the new disaster recovery features.
SSIS benefits from an automatic threading model that will detect if a second thread can be started to help process rows. The example was one million rows to be processed in a "complex" manner. SSIS in 2005 would perform the one millon rows in batches, while 2008 detected that the complex operation was taking time, and would start an additional thread to make better use of the available CPU. This resulted in the task taking half the time of 2005.
SSRS has had massive architectural changes, with the removal of IIS as a requirement. Report Manager has also been combined with the web services, and it also manages its memory in a much more efficient way, preventing out of control memory conditions. It also has the ability to spool pages immediately, and can output to Word documents. Additionally, reports now have the ability to create a "tablix", which is a combination of a table and a matrix.
All up, an excellent presentation. I’m looking forwards to getting my hands on the Reporting Services side of things!