Getting Started with Microsoft Data Mining

Your first decision will be what type of role you expect to have.  Here are your three possible choices:

  • An analyst is a subject matter expert who understands the data and is able to translate the results of data mining into actionable business information.
  • An architect is concerned more with the processing and data requirements of data mining. The architect needs to plan ahead to meet the needs of analysts and other business users, and may also have a strong interest in data integration and reporting technologies, such as Integration Services and Reporting Services.
  • A developer wants to know how data mining can be automated or embedded in custom solutions to meet business needs.

If you are a beginner, or if you have experience with data mining in other technologies and are new to Microsoft development,  or do not know what role to choose, then choose analyst.

Software installation will typically require admininstrator privileges on the installation computer (meaning that in corporate environments, you will typically need to coordinate software installation and configuration with your local friendly technical support people).

Analyst Configuration

  1. You will need SQL Server Standard or Enterprise edition (Developer edition can be used too on the same end-user machine for development purposes only). SQL Server Analysis Services must be installed.  Click here to learn more about SQL Server editions.
  2.  You will need Microsoft Excel 2007 (or higher) installed on your local computer (desktop or laptop).  Microsoft Excel comes bundled with different versions of Microsoft Office.  Click here to learn more about Microsoft Office versions.
  3. Yoiu will need the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Data Mining Add-ins for Microsoft Office 2007.  This add-in needs to be installed after Microsoft Excel.  Click here to obtain the free add-in.
Architect Configuration

  1. You will need SQL Server Standard or Enterprise edition (Developer edition can be used too on the same end-user machine for development purposes only). SQL Server Analysis Services must be installed, and because you are an architect, you should also include Integration Services and Reporting Services.  Click here to learn more about SQL Server editions.
  2. SQL Server often requires specific configuration.  Click here for best practices for SQL Server configuration.
  3. You will need a local installation of Business Intelligence Development Studio and Windows PowerShell.  A version of both comes with the SQL Server installation software.  A more recent free version of Windows PowerShell may be available on the Microsoft website.  Click here for the MSDN Forum for Windows PowerShell (where you can both ask and answer questions).
  4. You will need Microsoft Excel 2007 (or higher) installed on your local computer (desktop or laptop).  Microsoft Excel comes bundled with different versions of Microsoft Office.  Click here to learn more about Microsoft Office versions.
  5. Yoiu will need the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Data Mining Add-ins for Microsoft Office 2007.  This add-in needs to be installed after Microsoft Excel.  Click here to obtain the free add-in.
Developer Configuration

  1. You will need SQL Server Standard or Enterprise edition (Developer edition can be used too on the same end-user machine for development purposes only). SQL Server Analysis Services must be installed, and because you are an developer, you should decide whether you need Integration Services and Reporting Services.  Click here to learn more about SQL Server editions.
  2. SQL Server often requires specific configuration.  Click here for best practices for SQL Server configuration.
  3. You will need a local installation of Business Intelligence Development Studio and Windows PowerShell.  A version of both comes with the SQL Server installation software.  A more recent free version of Windows PowerShell may be available on the Microsoft website.  Click here for the MSDN Forum for Windows PowerShell (where you can both ask and answer questions).
  4. You will need a local installation of Visual Studio Professional level or higher. For your reference, other .NET programming interfaces exist, and there are many helpful paid add-ons to Visual Studio.  A recommended free add-on is called BIDS Helper, available from the Codeplex website.  Finally, Microsoft continues to make more languages available for .NET, including IronPython (Python for .NET). Click here to compare and choose the most appropriate version of Visual Studio for your environment.
  5. You will need Microsoft Excel 2007 (or higher) installed on your local computer (desktop or laptop).  Microsoft Excel comes bundled with different versions of Microsoft Office.  Click here to learn more about Microsoft Office versions.
  6. Yoiu will need the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Data Mining Add-ins for Microsoft Office 2007.  This add-in needs to be installed after Microsoft Excel.  Click here to obtain the free add-in.
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