Announcing Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali” Community Technology Preview 3 (CTP3)

Today we released our next public CTP of Microsoft SQL Server Code Name “Denali.” This milestone is super exciting because it is packed with amazing Business Intelligence (BI) improvements and innovations for relational databases as well as for BI solutions. You can find the Denali CTP Evaluation edition at the Download Center. Try it for yourself.

SQL Server “Denali” builds on what we started with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. On the relational database side, Project "Apollo" leverages the VertiPaq technology we first introduced in SQL Server 2008R2 for blazing-fast query performance. On the BI side, Denali complements self-service analysis with self-service reporting through PowerPivot and Project "Crescent", as well as self-service alerting with SSRS in SharePoint integrated mode. It provides the foundation to the cloud-ready information platform and will help customers unlock breakthrough insights across the organization and quickly build solutions that extend data across on-premises and public/private clouds backed by exciting new capabilities for greater mission critical confidence. Moreover, it brings our traditional and new data models together in an all-encompassing Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM), which is a significant step forward on our Vision for Analysis Services (see Analysis Services – Vision & Roadmap Update). It gives our customers a flexible platform that can meet the performance and scalability demands of some of the world’s largest BI implementations. It delivers advanced capabilities based on sophisticated business logic. And, it comes with a broad choice of professional developer and business-user tools that are easy to use.

There are many new features that you can put to use. PowerPivot “Denali” supports hierarchies, multiple relationships between tables, a measure grid to easily create, edit, and manage measures and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), new DAX functions (Time series, distinct count to name a few), and importing of binary large objects (BLOB). All of these features—and many more—are also available on the server in tabular Analysis Services databases, including row-level security, partitions and DirectQuery mode, enabling you to access the information directly from the source system. Substantial improvements can also be found in our SharePoint components. Among other things, we separated setup and configuration tasks, so it’s easy to install and uninstall, configure and re-apply configuration settings.

Here are some important installation prerequisites:

For additional information and known issues, check out the Release Notes for Microsoft PowerPivot Code Name "Denali" CTP3 and Microsoft SQL Server Code Name "Denali" CTP3. The following links might also be helpful:

And, of course, stay tuned for more info on Denali features on this blog as well as on the Reporting Services team blog at