Chapter 17

Business Intelligence Fundamentals


  • The nature of BI and the problems it’s intended to solve
  • How a data warehouse differs from a transactional database
  • Different ways to develop a data warehouse
  • Understanding dimensional data modeling
  • Types of facts and dimensions used in data warehouses
  • How to design an ETL process that’s appropriate for BI
  • Common patterns in BI reporting

SQL Server 2012 includes a whole suite of tools and technologies centered around the idea of business intelligence, and the next chapter (Chapter 18) is going to be the first to describe those tools and the techniques for using them. As a beginner with SQL Server, though, the phrase business intelligence may not be entirely familiar to you. This chapter gives you an introduction to BI that will serve as a reference point as you learn about the tools you’re going to work with. Once you know what BI is all about, you’ll have a foundation to work from in the next chapter; Microsoft has added significantly to an already large BI feature set for SQL Server 2012.

You should know that this chapter is going to be a bit of a departure, in that it is likely to exist almost entirely without code. For some of you, that’s going to be kind of a “whew!” moment, as you heave a sigh of relief. Others — probably the larger portion — are going to look very skeptical right now. For you, I’d like to first apologize, but I do think this is necessary background. However, second I can ...

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