Hi! My name is Dave Wickert and I am a geek.
Well, how about that! . . . so what is a Geek? Wikipedia defines a geek as:
Geek: a slang term for an individual who is peculiar or otherwise odd, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, etc.
That’s me. I am obsessive over how software works. I want to drilldown into every component to find out how it works, and see how I came use that information to make it do something different. This blog is dedicated to a geek’s view of PowerPivot. So . . . what is PowerPivot?
PowerPivot is a new product from Microsoft and one that is near and dear to my heart. I have worked on this project for over 3 years; I was the first hire into the team. I’ve been with it since it started as a two-person incubation project. My responsibilities for PowerPivot is on the backend infrastructure.
I have worked for Microsoft for the past 12 years, most recently in the PowerPivot team, formally Project Gemini (our codename). Before that I worked for the SQL Server product group writing best practices white papers and various Analysis Services based applications. I was part of the Project REAL team; and before that the “BI Accelerator” project. I started in Microsoft with the Microsoft Consulting Services group in New Jersey specializing in database systems and BI applications.
Prior to that I worked for Computer Sciences Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation specializing in database systems and application coding.
One of the most enjoyable parts of being a program manager is having an opportunity to help design and develop great software. And once the software is available, we loop customer feedback into the product planning cycle. When I was a young teenager working in a TV repair shop, I can still remember my mother telling me (as I took a customer’s complaint at home over the phone one evening), that she was proud how I handled the call. That I should remember that with any product or service, it is the customer who is right – and he or she is always right. PowerPivot is all about managed self-service BI. The customer, our “end-user”, is always right. The software is all about making their life easier and more fun.
Within the PowerPivot development team there are 3 major areas:
Client (PowerPivot for Excel)
Midtier (PowerPivot for SharePoint) – I am responsible for the infrastructure components, including:
Our new SharePoint 2010 PowerPivot shared services and all of their pieces that provide the transparent and scale-out connectivity to the SharePoint farm, i.e. the front-end web service, MSOLAP/ADOMD.NET/AMO client libraries, various SharePoint timer jobs and the supporting SharePoint code
Components that do all of the on-demand loading of databases and the unloading based on inactivity and resource contention, along with the detached database cache
Data refresh, e.g. timer jobs and the actual processing components inside the PowerPivot System Service (PSS)
Gallery Silverlight code and its supporting SharePoint interface code, e.g. event handlers, etc.
Central Admin infrastructure (other folks handle the UI), including the PowerPivot Mgmt Dashboard (with its surrounding reports and the usage collection infrastructure that collects all of the underlying events to support it)
SSAS Engine (a component of SharePoint) – I am responsible for the extensions to the XMLA commands for loading/unloading PowerPivot databases and setting the security infrastructure – others handle the Engine itself
Setup – fortunately I have absolutely nothing to do with this part
I have no personal life; so let’s just move on.
From time to time this blog also supports guest authors that will be posting content. These most excellent individuals are:
- Lee Graber (email@example.com) – Microsoft Lead developer, PowerPivot development team – Lee is one of the major developers of the midtier SharePoint infrastructure for PowerPivot and SQL Server Analysis Services.
The goal of this blog
To examine, discuss and dissect all things “PowerPivot” related. How it works; How you use it; and How you don’t use it.
I will let others deal with the end user experience and philosophical nature of the product (although I reserve the right to get on my soapbox from time to time).
This is a technical discussion. It is not a marketing blurb. Feel free to express your opinion, but ensure that it is from a technical point of view.
As always, as the author of this blog, I am solely responsible for its content. All opinions expressed are my own and not the position of Microsoft or any of its lackeys. (Now you know my favorite radio program is, click here). Notice that this blog is posted on a non-Microsoft web site and uses non-Microsoft software. This is a personal web log – I hope you find it useful.
Welcome to PowerPivot!