Inzwischen ist der SQL Server 2008 R2 Launch in Neuss schon wieder einen Monat her und endlich komme ich dazu, wie versprochen, von meinem Treffen mit Donald Farmer (Principal Program Manager for Microsoft SQL Server) zu berichten. Eine wirklich beeindruckende Begegnung mit einem Mann, der nicht nur seit 9 Jahren im Microsoft Business Intelligence Team arbeitet und dessen Team für PowerPivot verantwortlich ist, sondern der auch, bevor er zu Microsoft kam, noch im Bereich der Archäologie und der Fischzucht Berufserfahrung sammeln konnte. Ich habe mich sehr über dieses persönliche Treffen gefreut und trotz der Tatsache, dass Donald an diesem Tag insgesamt 4 Stunden lang auf der Bühne gesprochen hat, hatten wir viel Gelegenheit uns zu unterhalten und interessante Gespräche zu führen. Außerdem stand Donald noch im Twitter-Chat Rede und Antwort und nahm sich danach die Zeit für ein Interview, das ich so originalgetreu wie möglich wiedergeben möchte und daher nicht übersetzt habe:
Kostja: Hi Donald! Thanks for answering a few questions for the .NET and SQL Server crowd in Germany. The first one would be: What is your favorite or most exciting thing to tell about SQL Server 2008 R2? Is it PoverPivot or anything else?
Donald Farmer: Yes for sure it’s PoverPivot as a single product or as a single feature. PoverPivot is part of a bigger story that we call Managed Self Service. And Managed Self Service Business Intelligence is about giving Business Users the ability to do their own Business Intelligence but still have IT control it. PoverPivot is the application at the heart of that, but there’s also Managed Self Service Reporting as well. So we’ve got great new features in Reporting Services, which make it easier for people to build their own reports and have them managed by IT. So I think of that whole picture Managed Self Service is the most exciting.
Kostja: What do you think how big the impact of having a good BI solution in place is, for a company’s success?
Donald Farmer: Well, BI is been shown to be one of the most cost effective ways of improving a company’s performance. For two reasons: Building the BI project in the first place helps to focus the company on exactly what are its goals and how does it use its data. But the Business Intelligence solution when it’s rolled out and everybody is using it, sure it, if it’s a good solution, gives people insight into things that they just previously didn’t really understand – About the costs of the business for example. And BI to control costs is a very common one. BI to manage innovation is also really helpful. It helps you to understand where things are happening in your company, that make a difference. And that’s one of the reasons it’s so cost effective.
Kostja: Was that also the reason for you to really focus on this topic in the R2 release? Knowing that there is quite a number of enterprises that BI could bring a big benefit?
Donald Farmer: Yes, we knew BI could be very effective in helping our customers. And then we also knew that BI was used not just as a database product and not just as reporting product, but also always along with Office and Office clients like Excel. Excel is the world number one BI tool for everybody who uses it. And also Office Sharepoint or Office Server where people collaborate. So what we are seeing is a trend of people doing their own BI with Excel, collaborating with Sharepoint and we needed to provide them with the real tools and services that can make that happen. So that’s why we focused on that: We knew it was important, we could see these trends of increasing use of Office and Sharepoint and we wanted to capture all that.
Kostja: Since there are not as many new features in SQL Server 2008 R2 for the SQL Server Developer compared to SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008, what is the most important thing for the Application Developer to know about R2 and can you already say whether there will be more in the next version of SQL Server?
Donald Farmer: I think there are things in R2 that are interesting for application developers. We’ve introduced this idea what we call a DAC Pack. Which is Data Application Layer Deployment Pack. Which enables you to build a data application layer with schemas, stored procs and so on. And then if you want to deploy that to another machine or deploy it out to a customer site or deploy it within your business, you can create a deployment pack which basically packages all that up into a very easy unit of deployment that you can then take to another machine, put on a server, give to a customer and very simply deploy that application. Previously it was always difficult because things like logins often had to be connectified manually or scripted out and had to be applied separately to the target database. Now this could all be done as part of the deployment. So that’s a great thing for developers that makes it much easier to deploy SQL Server apps within this release. In the future of course we will see far more developer features, because this is just a point release. This is 2008 R2. The next version of SQL Server what we call internally SQL 11, that’s going to be a big release for developers with a lot more features for them.
Kostja: My last question might be of special interest for the readers from the German Community: How do you like Germany and what do you think of the German SQL Server and .NET Community?
Donald Farmer: Well, from what I’ve seen of the SQL Server and .NET Community they’re really very active and I know from what I hear from PASS Europe, from people who have attended previously that this is a very active conference and people are very focused and I absolutely see that. So it’s always interesting to speak to people about the technology, but people are so focused on it here and so concentrated that’s just kind of nice to see. And I always enjoy visiting Germany, I love visiting Germany. I visited many times when I was a child. It’s actually about 15 years since I was last in Germany and then in the last couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to come back a few times. It’s always good to visit.
Kostja: Thank you very much for this interview and thanks for your time.
Donald Farmer: Thank you.
Und hier noch ein paar weitere Links zum SQL Server 2008 R2 und den von Donald angesprochenen Features:
- Einstieg in die Entwicklung von Data-tier Applications
- PowerPivot Homepage von Microsoft
- SQL Server 2008 R2 Digital Tour
- Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 R2 Feature Pack
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Report Builder 3.0
- SQL Server 2008 R2 Training Kit