Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I'm a big fan of Team Foundation Server and how it can be used to better organise analysis, development and delivery. I've been especially impressed with a number of the features of Data Dude (or Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals for the full mouth full), certainly since SR1, and how, with some work, deployments can be made a lot more efficient.

Let me give you an example. I have multiple environments, dev, UAT and production. All of them will have the same code base but different configuration settings for example we will have a table containing configuration settings or source file locations and these are all likely to change depending on what we are testing or deploying. Now Data Dude allows you to embed variables in your pre and post deployment scripts meaning that I don't have to change anything when it comes to things like allowing a accounts read access to data on dev that should not have read access on prod.

All pretty simple really and well worth installing for these kind of features (notice how I gloss over the cost....!)

Now the point "Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Business Intelligence Developers". has a nice ring to it but stick it into Google and at the time of writing nothing comes back. I can think of a number of scenarios where non intrusive deployment would be useful without have to rely on post deployment XMLA or scripts using rs.exe or even the wonderful package deployment wizard.

Some of the things I've named may not seem too reasonable but should you really have to go a separate utility every time you want to release code having multiple settings depending on the server or the environment or the fact it's a 64bit deployment or not. Analysis Services seems a prime candidate for this kind of behaviour as user access is defines in roles but I don't want to have to define them within role membership then remove them or go to the Analysis Services Deployment Wizard and define different configuration files when I've invested in a nice shiny Team Foundation Server and trained everyone up on it's use.

Anyway I would be most interested in hearing any thoughts on the above subject as this kind of thing is taking up a lot of time and more and more clients are jumping onto the TFS / agile bandwagon one even demanding to know why this can be done with the databases and not the cubes. You see the point..!

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