Data Explorer (download), which I first mentioned in my blog about PASS Summit 2011 (SQL Server 2012 and other PASS announcements), has finally taken the next step and is now a public preview.

Think of Data Explorer as a self-service ETL tool for the Excel power user.  The official title is now “Microsoft Data Explorer Preview for Excel”.  It enhances the self-service Business Intelligence experience in Excel by simplifying data discovery and access.  In short, you can quickly and easily import data from a variety of sources.  It even has an Online Search which enables you to search the web for datasets.

With “Data Explorer” you can:

  • Identify the data you care about from multiple sources (SQL Server, Windows Azure, Access, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, SharePoint List, OData feed, Hadoop HDFS, Windows Azure Marketplace, Active Directory, Facebook, Web pages, Excel, text and XML files)
  • Discover relevant data using the search capabilities within Excel.
  • Combine data from multiple, disparate data sources and shape it in order to prepare the data for further analysis in tools like Excel and PowerPivot.

I am looking forward to using Data Explorer as I believe this is a powerful tool that will enable users to pull in their own data without having to bug IT.

More info:

Data Explorer Help

Announcing Microsoft “Data Explorer” Preview for Excel

Exploring Data Explorer

Public Preview of Data Explorer

Get Microsoft “Data Explorer” Preview for Excel today

Data Explorer hits full preview

Data Explorer brings Big Data connectivity to Excel 2013

Best Oscar winning Film? My first Data Explorer adventure…

SharePoint OData and the Excel Data Explorer

Importing Data From Multiple Log Files Using Data Explorer

Introduction to Data Explorer Preview for Excel

Installing Data Explorer Preview & Demo with IMDB Data

Microsoft Data Explorer Preview for Excel–Part 1