Book Review: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services

A new MDS book is available from Packt Publishing: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services.  The authors are from Adatis, a Microsoft Partner in the UK.  Jeremy Kashel (blog) authored 8 of the 10 chapters. Tim Kent (blog) and Martyn Bullerwell (blog) each contributed a chapter.

First Impressions

MDSBook_Packt_2The first chapter does a terrific job of introducing terms and concepts such as entity, attribute, members, etc.  There’s a nice overview of master data management.  As you’d expect, the book consistently serves as a good reference for explaining screens, buttons, and functionality.  At the end of each chapter there’s a summary of key points which I liked.

You Need This Book If…

Although the first 5 chapters are good, it was starting at Chapter 6 is where the book really started to stand out for me.  I found the in-depth coverage & step by step instructions for these areas to be particularly impressive:

  • Using SSIS to import data into MDS (chapter 6)
  • Integrating MDS Business Rules with SharePoint Workflow (chapters 7 and 9)
  • BizTalk Integration (chapter 8)
  • Using the API (chapter 9)

I Wish, I Wish

Not every book can contain everything any reader wants.  The things I really wanted to see more of were:

  • Additional guidance on how to decide when to use a Derived vs. Explicit Hierarchy.  The terms were defined, but I’m not certain a reader new to the technology would have gleaned quite enough information to make an informed decision.  (Conversely, practical uses for Versions were listed on page 124 – that was terrific & very helpful.  I wanted something like that related to the hierarchies.)  In all fairness, I just dealt with hierarchy selection at a client site so I had it on my mind.
  • Deployment and migration information & tips (ex: what the deployment package does & does not contain).
  • More real life implementation experiences, troubleshooting (ex: troubleshooting the installation) and gotchas (ex: with imports and exports).

Overall, I really liked it.  The authors clearly made a big time investment & it shows with a high quality book.  My MDS knowledge is more well-rounded now, which makes me a happy girl.

Thanks to Packt Publishing for providing me with a complimentary e-book.