Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services Paperback – Mar 17 2011
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About the Author
Suzanne Selhorn is a technical writer living in Seattle. She was a major contributor to the Master Data Services Books Online content for SQL Server 2008 R2.
Tyler Graham is a Senior Program Manager with the Microsoft Master Data Services team and a regular speaker on a number of Master Data Management topics. Before joining Microsoft, Tyler was the lead consultant of over 20 analytical MDM implementations. He has more than 10 years in the industry.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services" is dedicated to the average user of the product as much as to the initiation in the master data management concepts.
The book - written by, probably, the best references in the field from the Microsoft team - takes a systematical approach of passing by all the necessary steps to mount a complete master data management system based on Microsoft Master Data Services. You will pass through product installation/configuration, project initiation, creating the model structure, integrating with and publishing to other systems, working with hierarchies & collections, mastering specific concepts like versioning, transactions, annotations, simple & advanced business rules; working with and extending metadata; implementing advanced security configuration, and so on. On every step when applicable, a parallel is made between the user interface manipulation and the equivalent web service API code.
While it exposes in structured way the already existing information from MSDN, the book adds value by using an example based approach - a fictive clothing company - which gives concreteness and understanding to the various concepts.
What I liked:
The systematical approach - if you pass through the whole book, you will have a complete overall understanding of the master data management, as much as of Master Data Services product itself.
The parallel made between the UI operations and the web service API calls - which let us understand a part of the internal functioning of the product.
What I didn't like:
While the book is very "correct" to the average user, I would have liked some more advanced scenarios - on both conceptual side and product customization.
My Perspective: I'm a Microsoft Certified Trainer and a BI Architect. I've had the experience of teaching many students Business Intelligence and of having architected solutions for Fortune 500 companies.
This is one of the most well-written introductory books that I've seen. The exercises actually work on a virtual machine, which is always a plus. In addition, many complicated topics are simplified and presented in an introductory manner.
That said, the biggest advantage -- the ease and simplicity -- is also the biggest disadvantage.
To properly implement Master Data Services in an Enterprise scenario, one needs to have a full understanding of the theory within data governance. Otherwise, they will not be able to handle the complicated scenarios within an Enterprise. To properly understand data governance three holes need to be addressed, I recommend reading these books to address those holes in addition to this book:
1. Beginning Database Design: From Novice to Professional by Clare Churcher
2. MASTER DATA MANAGEMENT AND DATA GOVERNANCE by Alex Berson. --> Provides a deeper understanding of Data Governance Theory that is vendor neutral. This will be needed to understand any data governance solution.
3. Building a Data Warehouse: With Examples in SQL Server Vincent Rainardi --> Best and only book out there on building a data warehouse -- author supplements with some basic ETL theory on Data Warehouse Design, including the ETL. While the ETL isn't the newest out there, the theory on how to build ETL for a data warehouse is what is important. The ETL section was the weakest in this book.
All the supplemental thoughts aside, I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it. If the authors had addressed all of these topics in the book, the book would have been a couple of thousand pages easily negating its values. This is probably the best introductory book on data governance that I've seen.
I'd recommend reading it to not only understand how to use Microsoft's SQL Server 2008 R2 tool, but understanding that more information will be needed to successfully implement this on an Enterprise, Production-ready level.
Microsoft SQLServer 2008 R2 Master Data Services is Microsoft's solution to the integration nightmare confronting companies. This book is an excellent guide to getting up and running with the Master Data Services component of SQL Server 2008 R2. There are many screen-by-screen examples on setting up the application, configuring hierarchies, importing data model definitions. The primary users interact with Master Data Services via a web browser interface.
A word of caution, the tool, Master Data Services, requires a non-developer version of SQL Server 2008 R2 as a backend and the application itself can only run on a 64 bit machine running either Windows Server 2008 or later, Windows Vista Business or higher, or Windows 7 Professional or higher. Often companies that have Microsoft SQL Server will have a test server available that can be used to try it out, but the average home user will probably not have the spare server. I skimmed the setup and configuration sections which seemed easy to understand and very straight forward. I focused mainly on the sections that described the capabilities and functionality of the tool.
Most of the integration into and out of Master Data Services entails reading or generating flat files via SSIS packages into well-defined interfaces. There are views available in the database backend for external applications, such as ETL tools, to pull directly against for re-use.
The two main areas where this tool excels are in data model management (and/or business process management) and maintenance of conformed hierarchies. Master Data Services provides a generic structure for maintaining any domain model. The terms used in the book will be familiar to anyone knowledgeable with business process modeling or logical data modeling; domains, entities, attributes, etc.
The authors of this book do a very good job of defining some of the different roles that applications can play in relation to an organization's data. Three useful ones, in particular, are System of Entry, System of Record and Subscribing Systems. System of Entry (SOE) is a frontline data-entry system. System of Record (SOR) is a system designated as the authoritative system for a subject area; such as customer, account, etc. And Subscribing Systems are downstream systems that consume data from other systems without directly modifying the data.
Among the more interesting functionality provided by Master Data Services, the ability to create and maintain hierarchies by non-technical business users is the most beneficial in my opinion. Structured hierarchical data, such as Sales market and Corporate hierarchies (representing corporations and their subsidiaries), represent some of the most difficult and dynamic structures that Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse teams can manage. Often these structures are managed manually by an IT Developer who fulfills requests from a Business Analyst without truly understanding the relationships and/or the domain. Often, the updates have to be manually applied to multiple applications. Master Data Services allows the Business Analyst to centrally create and modify business rules related to enforce integrity in a hierarchy as well as add, move and delete nodes. These conformed hierarchies can then be published to other source systems and applications for re-use. Master Data Services provides support for multiple hierarchy types as well as generic collections for non-structured data.
The security model described in the book allows different users to maintain their own domains. One person could maintain the sales market hierarchy while another user can maintain a different domain.
Master Data Services is not an ETL, data modeling or reporting tool. It is a generic integration layer for all of these. For companies that lack the purchasing power to buy a completely integrated MDM solution, I would strongly recommend this book and tool for those shops which already have Microsoft SQL Server 2008 in house. While the tool itself does not integrate with third-party solutions, it does provide a generic file interface for import and export as well as database views for other tools to pull from.
I would have liked the authors to provide more concrete examples of the types of domains and hierarchies that could potentially benefit from this tool. Also, I found the definition of what constitutes Master Data to be somewhat murky and amorphous. The first chapter provides a decent high-level description of Master Data Management (also called Data Governance). The rest of the book is devoted to the tool's functionality. The authors could have better detailed the place Master Data Services fit into a Master Data Management strategy by giving a paragraph on the other aspects, such as ETL tools, Reporting tools, Modeling tools and other Source systems. Having a background in Data Warehousing and Data Governance, I found this book easy to follow. This book is not an introduction to Master Data Management, Data Warehousing or Data Integration. As an introduction on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone contemplating on implementing this package as part of their MDM strategy.
If you work in IT, are involved in Business Intelligence or Data Warehousing and your company is starting to look at integrated MDM solutions, I strongly recommend reading this book before your business analysts can. This tool or one like it is something Data Stewards and Business Analysts alike would immensely benefit from using. Be the one to bring this functionality to their attention. Don't get caught unprepared.
It seems like the writers have a deep understanding of the MDM space in general and deep insights into the Master Data Services (MDS) offering by Microsoft.
The book will walk you through the concepts and features of MDS. The tips are just great and will probably save the reader a lot of time dealing with specific issues.
The writers chose to describe and demonstrate all the features through a single customer scenario. I think it was a very wise decision as it makes it much easier to understand how things fit.
The book also contains code samples and description of the MDS APIs.
Bottom line, for anyone that wants to learn more about MDS this is a must read book.
It starts out with an introduction to Master Data Services and then jumps right into installation and configuration.
You then create an MDS Project and add a new Model to it by hand. The book does a great job of providing step by step instructions. As I went through the book I didn't get the feeling I was lost. The authors do a good job of keeping you moving forward at the right pace.
The book has chapters on Starting an MDS Project, Creating Your Model, Integrating Master Data Services with Other Systems, Working with Hierarchies and Collection, Working with Master Data, Using Business Rules, Creating Versions of Data, Using Metadata, Implementing Security, Publishing Data to External Systems, and Extending MDS with Web Services.
I cannot recommend using the current Microsoft MDM tools to anyone, but it can't hurt to start learning them now. The Microsoft MDM tools are showing signs of improvement with Denali, but they still have a way to go before the product is a competitor to products like the IBM MDM stack.
I can however recommend this book as a great resource for learning all about the current Microsoft MDM tools. The tools are not that straight forward to learn and this book does a great job of neutralizing the confusion and teaching you the ins and outs of the MDS tools offered by Microsoft in SQL Server 2008 R2.
The authors provide a nice download that contains a sample model package, sample data in CVS files and a visual studio solution that wraps the MDS web service.
All in all I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to get up to speed quickly with the Microsoft MDS tools.
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