One of the wonderful things about my new position is that it provides a far different perspective on SQL Server than my old gig did. There's certainly great honor in building OLTP systems, but there's also a lot more going on in the world!
Apropos of this dawning realization, a very interesting notification crossed my inbox today. Microsoft patterns & practices (their punctuation, not mine; my mother would be mortified) today announced the fourth and final community drop of their Architecture and Design Guidelines for Business Intelligence Applications.
This document provides prescriptive guidance on overcoming architectural challenges and design issues when building BI solutions on the Microsoft platform. The document's intended audience is software architects and developers who are developing such applications using SQL Server 2005 Integration Services and Analysis Services.
For me, the most exciting aspect of this project is the fact that it's a collaboration between Microsoft and the user community. Being an exploratory community project, you should anticipate gaps of information and room for improvement, but you will nonetheless find over 400 architecture and design guidelines in chapters covering Introduction and Framework, Data Extraction, Data Staging, Data Transformations, Data Loading, Dimensional Modeling, Relational Partitions, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), and Data Mining.
If you're a BI maven, or if you're like me and you've started to understand how much you've got to learn about this technology, I heartily suggest a perusal of this document.