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Blog April 28, 2016

A free lunch?

Today we'll take a closer look at parts of Microsoft “Visual Studio Dev Essentials”. A program that collects tools, services and support for development in general. Anyone can take part of this for free. Dev Essentials includes a number of tools for development towards Android, iOS or web. Readers of this blog are probably more curious about what’s in it for BI-professional? You will see, come along!

A free lunch?

Microsoft SQL Server

Developer Edition of our favorite RDMS platform is now free to use. The version corresponds to the Enterprise version of SQL Server in terms of features, but may only be used for test and development purposes. However, it is in no way limited to your local computer it can be used in larger environments also, without production data that is. Since earlier it has been possible to evaluate many Microsoft products including SQL Server but then in a more traditional way with a time limit of 90-180 days.

A welcome change of course as this should increase access to SQL Server, if nothing else you avoid the hassle with trial versions that expire.

Also the next version, SQL Server 2016 will be available under the same conditions when released shortly.

Visual Studio Team Services

BI development should also have version control right? Visual Studio Team Services offers this as a service. The server is housed in the cloud and can be connected to by Visual Studio (and other IDE’s). You manage the service thru a portal on the Web. For the BI team, this could be a solution to keep control of database and ETL projects when you cannot or don’t want to set up their own infrastructure for this. Visual Studio Team Services supports Git and TFS, offers version control and also tools for Agile planning in Kanban-style. The service is for small teams up to 5 users.

$25 credit per month in the cloud

Dev Essentials offers a one-year subscription to the Azure charged with $ 25 / month that can be used however you want. What Azure offers probably deserves its own blog-post. For BI-related work you can imagine putting a test or development environment in Azure. However, remember that $ 25 per month disappear quickly. A reasonably capable database will cost more than the monthly credit to have up and running 24-7. Still, it should be interesting for testing purposes or to set up a demo.

Try it and explore the other offers from Microsoft.


Emil Persson
Enfo BI & Analytics


Source: Microsoft