Announcing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Community Technology Preview 3 (CTP3)

Last week, we released the public CTP of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1. For most SQL Server components, SP1 is just a collection of patches and bug fixes, but for Business Intelligence scenarios, SP1 is much more than just a service pack. SQL Server 2012 SP1 CTP3 is specifically released to accompany the Preview release of Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013. In fact, this early CTP is only intended for customers who are testing the Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 BI capabilities. Do not use it for testing other SQL Server scenarios. You can find the SQL Server 2012 SP1 CTP3 release at the Download Center.

Office 2013 and SQL Server 2012 SP1 are super exciting for us and for the BI community. PowerPivot and Power View are now an integral part of Excel 2013. The Office preview and our CTP represent a significant step forward to democratize BI. Excel 2013 is truly the BI tool for the masses. Try it for yourself and keep an eye out for a new Excel blog introducing all the features over the next weeks and months. The blog can be found at

In brief summary, here are the highlights for BI in Excel 2013 and SQL Server 2012 SP1:

  • Self-service BI capabilities natively integrated into Excel 2013: The xVelocity in-memory analytics engine that underpins PowerPivot for Excel 2010 and SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services is now natively integrated into Excel 2013. Without using the PowerPivot add-in, users can start in Excel and import hundreds of millions of rows of data from multiple data sources, mash them up, and perform analysis using pivot tables, pivot charts and slicers in Excel. The PowerPivot add-in is also installed with Excel 2013 and can then be used to further enrich the Data Model powered by the xVelocity engine. PowerPivot also includes a new data categorization and recommendation capability and a new improved DataMarket import experience. Moreover, Excel users can now create stunning, interactive reports and visualizations using Power View, which is also installed with Excel 2013. Both PowerPivot and Power View now support 40 languages, including right-left languages, which truly helps to bring our BI capabilities to a broader audience.
  • Flexible SharePoint integration Excel Services leverages Analysis Services and Reporting Services to provide data analysis and exploration interactivity in the browser, sharing, collaboration and data refresh of workbooks with xVelocity data and Power View reports. A redesigned PowerPivot for SharePoint architecture gives IT organizations more control over the deployment of BI capabilities in each farm. Also, SharePoint 2013 supports corporate deployments and significantly improves governance and compliance over the self-service BI assets. SQL Server 2012 SP1 is required for server side compatibility.

Beyond the integration with Office, Power View in Reporting Services offers cool new capabilities, ranging from new visualizations, such as Bing maps and pie charts, new formatting abilities, such as backgrounds and themes, and better support for images and URLs. Hierarchies and KPIs enrich the analytical capabilities

For additional information and known issues, check out the Release Notes for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 CTP3. The following links might also be helpful:

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