I recently attended the Microsoft’s DevConnections Conference. As a database developer, my focus was on sessions dealing with the business intelligence and data warehousing technologies that ship with Microsoft SQL Server.
The concepts of data warehousing is something I have been researching for the past year; I believe it’s a concept that can assist organizations in making better decisions about their business. The sessions I attended covered all of Microsoft’s data warehousing tools - from tools that help you develop a data warehouse to tools that help deliver business intelligence to key decision makers.
There were a few sessions that stuck with me the most. The first two – “Why Data Warehousing Projects Fail” and “Avoiding Common Analysis Services Mistakes” – provided guidelines on how to design a data warehouse solution and avoid common mistakes. The other session focused on delivering business intelligence to the end user and addressed how to create a digital dashboard with the reporting tools that are a part of Microsoft SQL Server.
Every good developer strives to reduce the amount of repeated code. One area that has been difficult to tackle is the sharing of code between the application and the database. Certain pieces of logic are typically repeated in the database. But when SQL Server 2005 was released, the ability to write .NET code in the database became a possibility, thus reducing the amount of repeated code.
An often repeated code between the application and the database are enumerations, a set of related name constants. Enumerations can be used to define a piece of data’s current state. For example, in a system with workflow, a page can be in one of many states: submitted, approved, published or archived. In VitalSite, Geonetric’s content management solution, we maintain the meaning of the state in two places: an enumeration in the code and a table in the database. The problem arises when the list of possible states changes; at that time, both the application and the database must be updated. If negelected, issues can arise.
Microsoft has recently released Microsoft SQL Server 2008. As with the most releases of Microsoft software, it has made major improvements with features, scalability, and security. The three big features in this release that will impact the healthcare industry are the advanced data auditing, change data capture, and transparent data encryption features. These new features make major strides to helping healthcare organizations meet HIPAA and other regulatory requirements.