I said on this blog many times that 80% of Data Visualization (DV) is ... Data.
SQL Server 2012 is here.
And technology and process of how these Data collected, extracted, transformed and loaded into DV backend and frontend is a key to DV success. It seems to me that one of the best possible technology for building DV backend is around the corner as SQL Server 2012 will be released soon - Release Candidate for it is out...
And famous Microsoft marketing machine is not silent about it. SQL Server 2012 Virtual Launch Event planned for March 7, 2012 and real release probably at the end of March 2012.
I already mentioned on this blog the most interesting feature for me - the introduction of Columnstore Index (CSI) can transform SQL Server into Columnar Database (for DV purposes) and accelerates DV-relevant Queries by 10X or even 100X of times. Oracle does not have it!
Some reasonable rules and features applied to CSI: each table can have only one CSI; CSI has Row grouping (about million rows, like paging for columns); table with CSI cannot be replicated. New (unified for small and large memory allocations) memory manager optimized for Columnstore Indexes, supports Windows 8 maximum memory and logical processors.
SSRS (Reporting Services) got massive improvements, including new Power View as Builder/Viewer of interactive Reports. I like this feature: "even if a table in the view is based on an underlying table that contains millions of rows, Power View only fetches data for the rows that are visible in the view at any one time" and UI features (some of them are standard for existing Data Visualization tools, like multiple views in Power View reports (see gallery of thumbnails in the bottom of screenshot below):
"2 clicks to results", export to PowerPoint etc. See also video here: