What is PowerPivot?

by Petri IT Knowledgebase Team - May 25, 2009
What is PowerPivot?
PowerPivot (formerly known as Project Gemini) is our latest and hottest business intelligence innovation and intended to finally make BI accessible & easy to the masses using the #1 BI tool in the world: Microsoft Excel. PowerPivot actually consist of a client add-in for Excel 2010 called PowerPivot for Excel and a server component called PowerPivot for SharePoint 2010.

PowerPivot for Excel is an add-in to Excel 2010 that provides you with the capability to manipulate vast amounts of data using, integrate data from multiple data sources and share the results with others – with little or no assistance from IT
PowerPivot for SharePoint is nothing but SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services running in Vertipaq mode within SharePoint 2010. Vertipaq is the in-memory technology that enables fast data manipulation in Excel Services and also enables efficient share & collaboration across your organization. In addition, PowerPivot for SharePoint offers IT administrators the ability to monitor and control self-service BI (when uploaded in SharePoint 2010) thru its IT Operation Dashboard
How does PowerPivot relate to “Managed Self-Service BI”?
PowerPivot for Excel enhances self-service BI capabilities by providing you with greater flexibility of data manipulation using any size data set in structured or unstructured form using the familiar Office interface.

In addition, you can publish your analysis in SharePoint 2010 as a web application and share it with insights with your co-workers.
“Managed” Self Service BI means that IT also benefits greatly with PowerPivot. They can provision reports – thus providing a single version of truth – and have end users work directly with data from those reports via Data Feeds. In addition, IT can track the usage of PowerPivot applications and discovering mission-critical Excel applications.

What are some examples of data sources that PowerPivot for Excel can use?
PowerPivot for Excel can use any data source. Some examples include existing OLAP cubes, ATOM feeds with tabular data, Paste/Append & Paste/Replace any tabular data, Excel Pivot Tables, and structured relational databases.
How is referential integrity managed, especially when adding multiple data sets from various sources?
You can fix referential integrity issues using DAX expressions. PowerPivot for Excel also supports NULL/unknown members, similar to classic Analysis Services.

Where can I find out more about PowerPivot for Excel? How much does it cost and where can I download it?
Licensing has not yet been determined. Learn more and download the PowerPivot client at http://www.powerpivot.com
Can I have a standalone PowerPivot for Excel installation without SQL Server 2008 R2?
Yes. The PowerPivot for Excel client does not require anything else besides a simple installer and does not required SQL Server 2008 R2 running in your local machine. The client component is a standalone Excel 2010 add-in that can query any data source, including SQL Server.
Does PowerPivot for Excel depend on SharePoint 2010?
The only client dependency is Excel 2010. It will not work with earlier versions of Excel.

The server component (PowerPivot for SharePoint) requires both SQL Server 2008 R2 and SharePoint 2010. To enable sharing and collaboration on PowerPivot for Excel applications and models, you must install SQL Server 2008 R2 as part of the SharePoint farm.
What version of Office supports the PowerPivot for Excel client?
PowerPivot for Excel only works with Office 2010.
Can I edit a PowerPivot for Excel application within SharePoint 2010 if I don't have Office 2010?
Without the Excel add-in, you cannot edit PowerPivot models. You are restricted to viewing and using the models online through SharePoint.
Can I install Excel 2010 and Excel 2007 side by side?
Yes. Side by side installation of Excel 2010 and Excel 2007 is supported.


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