SQL Server 2008 R2* delivers a data platform that empowers organizations to manage structured, semi-structured and unstructured types of data. Besides numerical and textual data, you can also store images, music and documents within the database. SQL Server offers a rich set of integrated services which make it possible to perform – among others – the following actions: query, search, synchronize, integrate, analyze and report. The data can be stored on servers within a datacenter, on an individual PC and even on mobile devices.
SQL Server delivers the necessary capabilities to use the data from tailored applications through easy integrations with Microsoft .NET, Microsoft Visual Studio en Microsoft BizTalk Server.
SQL Server Integration Services
SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is an ETL tool (Extraction, Transformation, and Loading). Data from different sources – such as MS SQL Server and Oracle databases, SAP R3 and SAP BW solutions and different types of structured files – can be read by SSIS. After the extraction, it is possible to transform the data and save it back into a database system or file. As such, SSIS can be used as a tool to integrate data streams between different systems and as an ETL tool to load data from source systems into a data warehouse.
SQL Server Analysis Services
SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) is used to create and/or manage OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) databases. These OLAP databases hold a number of multidimensional reporting structures that are called cubes. Microsoft Excel is one of the clients that can be used to connect to cubes to analyze the data that has been loaded into them. SSAS also delivers a powerful data mining engine that can be used to empower users to do predictive analysis.
SQL Server Reporting Services
SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a tool used to create fixed format reports in a flexible way. These reports are all published and accessed through the Report Manager web portal, but can also be integrated with Microsoft CRM or published into SharePoint.
These are the main features of the tailor-made BI reports created using SSRS:
- create rich visualizations
- set up a push mechanism, in which reports can be sent via email on a fixed schedule
- create navigational structures between different reports
- incorporate data from different sources within one report
- publish parts of a report to a report item library, to make them reusable for other users
(*) A lot of the capabilities of SQL Server 2008 R2 (described here) are also present in the previous SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 releases and the upcoming SQL 2011 Denali release. All components are part of the standard SQL Server licenses.