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Twitterview: Microsoft’s Donald Farmer on SQL Server 2008 R2

Last week, Microsoft’s Donald Farmer answered SQL Server 2008 R2 questions via Twitter. In case you missed the Twitterview, here’s what Donald had to say in response to questions about PowerPivot, StreamInsight, and SQL Server 2008 R2’s developer features.

Q: How can customers benefit by upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2?

A: They get self-service BI, improved management tools and new features like StreamInsight

Q: What is StreamInsight anyway?

A1: It's a new application for complex event processing (CEP) and it enables you to query streaming data with a SQL syntax.

A2: StreamInsight enables users to find near-real time and historical patterns.

Q: Are there any plans to have PowerPivot functionality in Azure? (via @SQLChicken)

A: Today PowerPivot can connect to SQL Azure. We are looking hard at clouds services for BI right now. @SQLchicken

Q: What are the average sizes of data sets used by early #PowerPivot testers in real life? (via @VidasM)

A: Typical #PowerPivot users are analyzing a few million rows of data and some are doing much more. @VidasM

Q: Hey Donald, what's your favorite SQL Server 2008 R2 feature?

A: Reports as data sources using Atom feeds b/c business users understand reports better than databases. #SQLR2

Q: How many rows of information can you work with using #PowerPivot?

A: That depends entirely on your data. Typical compression is 10X-15X. Maximum workbook size is 2GB, so perhaps 30GB of source data.

Q: DAX (#PowerPivot) is easier to learn than MDX (#SSAS). Any plans to introduce DAX into SSAS environment?

A: You will see the #PowerPivot and #SSAS environment growing a lot closer in the next version. @VidasM

Q: Why/How is #PowerPivot better than competitors, example QlikView? (via @VidasM)

A: #PowerPivot is based on Excel and SharePoint, so it's much easier to deploy and learn for business users #SQLR2 @VidasM

Q: What’s new for the developers in #SQLR2?

A: Deployment of data tier applications is much easier with DACPAC

Final Thought: There is something for everyone in #SQLR2. Whether you are new to SQL Server or an experienced user. @donalddotfarmer

Check out @donalddotfarmer's blog at

And see Donald Farmer Discusses the Benefits of Managed Self-Service BI at for more info about #SQLR2

Thanks to everyone for their questions, and thanks to @donalddotfarmer for a great Twitterview!

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