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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in William's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

April 2009 Archives

There is a lot of business intelligence news coming out of the Microsoft camp.  First, sooner than expected, they have released the SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, which is the development of the Datallego acquisition and Microsoft's entry into the appliance marketplace.

Some time ago, they also announced Kilimanjaro, the next version of SQL Server, and Gemini, the next version of SQL Server Analysis Services.  I didn't rush out and blog this though because the release is not expected until 2010.  Still, it's exciting and worth thinking about now.  And who knows, maybe these will emerge sooner than expected.

I thought SQL Server 2005 was BI focused.  Now, Microsoft says Kilimanjaro will really be BI focused.  And they could be right.  With the addition of optional column-oriented storage capabilities and in-memory storage, they are addressing 2 very obvious ways the market has recently addressed performance.  Both options were built from scratch by Microsoft.  I look forward to seeing how the optimizer determines when to go columnar vs. not.  To-date, solutions have addressed it with disparate systems and obvious suboptimal performance of some of the queries within each system. 

I'm a fan of SSAS as long as the MOLAP option is not overused, but that's another story.  Stronger connectivity is promised between Gemini and SSAS and that may really get the casual user's attention.  Gemini will be publishing data to SharePoint Server as well.  SharePoint is becoming a centerpiece of Microsoft BI activity.  With the publishing options,Gemini will have the Microsoft enterprise covered.

What will be the next game changer?

Posted April 28, 2009 4:47 PM
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Pivotlink is a pure SaaS play for midmarket or enterprise departmental needs.  They make a clear claim to target companies with BI shelfware and have a number of case studies where customer's BI needs were met with PivotLink after failures with other solutions. 

Pivotlink delivers data in various forms, but mostly based around the concept of a pivot table, providing ad-hoc data access across a high level of dimensionality.   



Interestingly, I have learned that PivotLink uses a proprietary columnar in-memory database management system.  This DBMS is not sold separately.  As with any columnar, there is a high compression ratio.

And here you can see how the Pivotlink data model is customizable through an abstracted view.



From a technology perspective, Pivotlink is interesting from its combination of in vogue approaches like columnar DBMS and SaaS.  It claims access to a variety of source systems, supporting customers with billions of rows of data like REI. 




Posted April 3, 2009 11:36 AM
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