Before we go on to describe how to build a DW/BI system using Microsoft technologies, its worth asking the question: What is interesting about the Microsoft toolset?
Completeness: From the operating system, database engines, and development environment to the Office and Excel desktop, you can build a complete DW/BI system using only Microsoft software. You have an extra margin of confidence that all the components work together effectively.
Low cost of ownership: The licensing cost of SQL Server has been less than comparable product suites from other vendors , but total cost of ownership depends as much on ongoing support, training, and operations costs as on licensing costs. Microsoft asserts that SQL Server systems need fewer administrative resources than competitive products. Your organization may already have .NET programming skills. If so, it may be really easy for you to customize and extend your DW/BI system.
Openness: Although you can build a complete DW/BI system with Microsoft softwareand this book describes how to do ityou dont have to. Any component of the Microsoft DW/BI framework can be swapped out for a third-party product, and many customers build Microsoft DW/BI systems in heterogeneous environments.
High performance and scale: At the time of this writing, DW/BI systems with data volumes in the terabytes are fairly common, and 1020TB is not rare. As DW/BI systems are built on sub-transactional data like clickstreams and RFID data streams, even moderate- sized organizations may find themselves in the terabyte club. Microsoft recognizes this trend, and has engineered and tested their products, especially the SQL Server components, to perform well at high data volumes .
Microsoft investment in business intelligence: The SQL Server 2005 business intelligence suite consists of real tools that work together, if not seamlessly, then at least with seams that have been professionally sewn. Some of the toolsnotably Analysis Servicesare best of breed. All of the tools are competitive on their own merits with standalone products. Microsoft is clearly committed to building tools to enable you to build great business intelligence applications. And you can be reasonably confident that Microsoft will remain in business for a long time.