First experiences with Project Gemini

What are my Gemini First Impressions?

I’m one of the chosen many who have access to the Gemini CTP2 – and had my first hands on experience with Gemini yesterday. I was up and running with it very quickly and grinning very shortly afterwards. The time it took me from connecting to the AdventureworksDW to producing a nice interactive “super” pivot table with slicers and very rapid response was very short.

As someone with experience of being an analyst, Gemini looks like a great tool for rapidly accessing and manipulating data. You connect directly to your data source (which doesn’t have to be SQL Server, btw), create some relationships and start playing. There are some new formulas to understand, but if you can work with a relational database this stuff will be a breeze. The response times are impressive, as are the connectivity options once you have finished. A Gemini workbook can become a data source for reports and deployed to MOSS without losing its connectivity as it falls into Excel Services.

Is this a Data Warehouse Killer?

One of my contemporaries said he was very concerned about Gemini leading to the next generation of spreadmarts, and that it could damage the market for Data Warehouses. I half agree, half disagree.

Firstly, the concern that Gemini will create the next spreadmart nightmare. Yes, it will create a new mess of user created, uncentralised data. However – as with spreadmarts – we will as an industry learn from this and find a way to manage it. Only this time we have prior experience of the phenomenon. A further mitigation factor for this risk is that I see the number of people using Gemini will be smaller than those using Excel. Those people will also be more likely to be analysts and hopefully more conscious of the risks of a Gemini-mart.

Will it kill the Data Warehouse? Probably not – analysts – the market for Gemini – don’t want to spend their time preparing and cleaning data. The DW will remain a good source of clean data for analysts to work with, and will remain a valuable part of the enterprise BI suite. It may remove the need for some warehouses – especially those based on clean data sources. I can also see it opening the door for new warehouses – as Gemini will make more data sources available to analysts. They will see it, play with it – declare it as important and bring it into the warehouse. So overall I expect the impact to be neutral.

So how does the BI Monkey feel about Gemini?

Easy – very, very excited!

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