Archive for November, 2009

Watch out, your domain might be showing . . .

By powerpivotgeek (dwickert@microsoft.com), on November 24th, 2009

Several new SharePoint 2010 configuration issues will impacting some PowerPivot sites and I wanted to share them with you. These restrictions are with Excel Services and have to do with the way that Windows authentication is handled, i.e. you have set the Excel Services authentication set to “Windows”, not using Secure Store or “None”. This impacts PowerPivot because Excel Services treats PowerPivot as a data source. The restrictions are not limited to just PowerPivot – they apply across the board for all Excel Services data sources.

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A Peek Inside: Why no cross-farm support?

By powerpivotgeek (dwickert@microsoft.com), on November 25th, 2009

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From time to time, particular from knowledgeable SharePoint users coming up to speed with PowerPivot, I get the question: “PowerPivot have ‘cross-farm’ support”. As you can see from the title of this post, we don’t support it – and in this “A Peek Inside” I hope to explain why.

First, what is SharePoint ‘cross-farm’ support and why is it important. In large, complex SharePoint configurations a common requirement is to specialize servers or farms of servers to specific services. A good example of this approach is to have a separate farm dedicated to Search. Rather than having each end-user farm host its own Search service, the idea is to get better scale through specialization. Content crawling is done remotely; the indexes are kept remotely; and the Search results are calculated remotely. End users connect to the content farms (so-called because that is where the content is stored), but the content farm reaches out to specialized servers/farms for other services. Example of these services is: Search, Personalization, Business Data Catalog, Portal Usage reporting – coming in SharePoint 2010 are lots more . . .

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#PowerPivot for SharePoint Installation Guides

Please note, we have uploaded in DRAFT form the PowerPivot for SharePoint Installation guides.   We have propped this information on the page:

PowerPivotGeek.com Server Install

We encourage you to go to this site, review the documents, and provide feedback on what works (or does not) directly on the PowerPivotGeek.com Server Install page.

There are four guides in the works:

As Dave noted on the PowerPivotGeek.com Server Install page:

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Lots of folks have spent countless hours working on these documents and we should acknowledge them right now:

Principal author: Leon Cyril (Microsoft Tester, PowerPivot development team)

Secondary authors:

  • Denny Lee (Microsoft SQLCAT team)
  • Dave Wickert (Microsoft Program Manager, PowerPivot development team)
  • Kathy MacDonald (Microsoft Program Manager, PowerPivot development team)

Technical reviewers:

  • Jim Howey (Microsoft Program Manager, PowerPoint development team)
  • Jennifer Chu (Microsoft Service Engineer, SQL IT Support)
  • Heidi Steen (Microsoft Technical Writer, SQL UE team)
  • Ed Campbell (Consultant, Murphy & Associates)

Do you have other configurations that you would like to see instructions for?
If so, please go to the PowerPivotGeek.com Server Install page and provide your comments there!

Two great #PowerPivot tips from one half of PowerPivot Twins!

Hats off to Dave Wickert (one half of the PowerPivot Twins!) – he’s been blogging like there’s no tomorrow and it’s getting harder and harder to keep up!  Saying this, he’s included on his blog, PowerPivotGeek.com, two great tips for PowerPivot:

1) Ensure when you install Excel 2010 that you also install Office Shared Tools, it contains VSTO which is necessary for the PowerPivot add-in to work properly.  You can read more in his posting: And oh, you need this one more thing.

2) When you save your workbooks, save them in cell A1 so that way when your workbook is saved to SharePoint, Excel Services will render the workbook properly centered.  For more info, check out his posting: Another tip – always save your workbooks at cell A1.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Temperature Mashup Demo – Download the Workbook!

Don’t forget to download Rob Collie’s Temperature Mashup Demo at PowerPivotPro.com.  The workbook provides a great example of how to join two different sets of data (in this case, sales and temperature data) as well as creating complex measures within PowerPivot – i.e. DAX. 

And don’t forget that the latest CTP3 DAX reference is now available online at MSDN.

Enjoy!

 

A Peek Inside: Why are domain accounts needed?

Have you ever had to do something that you knew (you just KNEW) that lots of folks were going to scream – and scream loud – about? This is one of those cases – I can just feel it!

Ok, here goes. There have been several recent newsgroups postings concerning why we require domain accounts to install PowerPivot for SharePoint. Why must the farm account and the various service accounts be domain accounts. This causes lots of heartache for users that want to install demo or evaluation servers because we don’t support a standalone server. Well, we do support standalone, but it a different kind of standalone. Let’s get right into it.

First, let’s compare and contrast this requirement with SharePoint. SharePoint has two types of installations: standalone (which they do NOT support in production) and complete/farm. The standalone installation is for demo and evaluation purposes only. It has uses NETWORK SERVICE as the service account for many of its internal processes. It is right up front that it is NOT expandable into a production system; it has security issues acting across servers; etc. However, it gives you a nice “toy” to play with. Let’s be right up front about it – PowerPivot does not install nor does it support a SharePoint standalone server installation. And, oh while we are on the subject, SharePoint does not support local machine accounts within a farm configuration. In the SharePoint world, once you go to domains – you go all of the way with domains.

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A *WAY-COOL* facility –> A Virtual Lab for PowerPivot

Buried in the launching of CTP3/beta2 bits, is this tidbit: “Microsoft Virtual Lab: PowerPivot for Excel 2010”. Basically this facility is a remotely hosted VM with Excel 2010, PowerPivot for Excel and SQL Server 2008 R2 RDBMS. WOW!

You signup for the course and you have about 2 hrs of connect time with the lab. You don’t need anything on your desktop except a browser and an ActiveX control for the terminal server part. Everything is hosted remotely. You don’t have to build a VM; nor managed it; nor worry about cleanup afterwards. After signing up, it takes a minute or so to fire up and – there you are – you are connected to a remote image with all of the software pre-loaded and ready to go. Didn’t finish in an hour, signup for a second one.

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