Although  Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009 is just getting started, there’s already big business intelligence (BI) news coming out of it. It’s official—Project Gemini will ship as SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel and SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint. Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for the Office Business Platform, made the announcement during his Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009 keynote this morning. 

PowerPivot for Excel is a managed self-service business intelligence (BI) add-in for SQL Server 2008 R2 that lets business users perform data analysis and create and share Excel 2010 workbook applications without burdening the IT department. Meanwhile, DBAs and IT pros will be able to manage users’ applications. “PowerPivot encapsulates enterprise data to help centralize BI and data management while providing reliable access to it. The PowerPivot administrative dashboard even enables IT departments to monitor and manage shared applications for security, availability and performance,” says Kasper de Jonge, a Microsoft consultant with ADA ICT, in his blog post "Gemini will ship as 'SQL Server PowerPivot.'"

SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint 2010 is an Excel plug-in that's delivered via SQL Server 2008 R2 in SharePoint 2010. Donald Farmer, principal program manager for SQL Server Analysis Services at Microsoft, mentioned on Twitter that despite Gemini's new name, "I expect we'll be always be referring just to #PowerPivot - the ‘SQL Server ... for Excel’ bit is just branding, not a dependency."

Microsoft has launched a PowerPivot website at www.powerpivot.com. If you’re interested in downloading a beta version of PowerPivot for Excel, sign up for release notifications at www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/powerpivot.aspx. You can also download the PowerPivot for Excel datasheet from that page to learn more about what the add-in will offer.

To find out more about how managed self-service BI will benefit both business users and IT pros, see "Donald Farmer Discusses the Benefits of Managed Self-Service BI.&quot