SQL Server SSAS (Multidimensional MDX) - an Introduction
4.6 (1,089 ratings)
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SQL Server SSAS (Multidimensional MDX) - an Introduction

Create cubes from databases, analyse them in Excel, SSRS etc. using SSAS MDX (a Business Intelligence tool). Exam 70-768
4.6 (1,089 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
5,761 students enrolled
Created by Phillip Burton
Last updated 5/2020
Current price: $51.99 Original price: $79.99 Discount: 35% off
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This course includes
  • 8 hours on-demand video
  • 13 articles
  • 5 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Create cubes in SSAS, based on fact and dimension tables.
  • Process the cubes, and analyse them in Excel, SSRS, and access them in SSMS.
  • Learn some of the more advanced items, such as translations.
Course content
Expand all 91 lectures 07:59:56
+ Introduction
4 lectures 06:31

Hello, and thank you for joining me in this course. I'll be introducing myself, and looking at what we will cover in this course.

Preview 02:39
Welcome to Udemy
Introduction to Udemy
Which version of Visual Studio should I install?
+ Installing SQL Server
9 lectures 40:03

It used to be that we had to install a cut-down version of SQL Server. Instead, let's now install a version with the full functionality of the Enterprise edition - for personal use only, though.

Preview 06:09

Now let's go through the process of installing SQL Server.  I'll also go through the various editions of SQL Server (e.g. 2008, 2012).

Preview 09:45

Now that's the back engine has been installed, we've got to install SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio), Visual Studio, and SSDL (SQL Server Data Tools). It takes around 30 minutes, but here's the edited version.

Preview 05:16
Installing Visual Studio 2019
Installing SSAS in Visual Studio 2019
Is your Visual Studio a trial version? No!

We are going to use two versions of AdventureWorks - the first we will use to create our first cube, and the second will be for a practice activity. Let's download them now.

Preview 03:40

Let's have a look at AdventureWorks, using SQL Server Management Studios, and have a look at the tables used.

Investigating AdventureWorks in SSMS.
+ Creating our first cube
11 lectures 58:51

Every cube needs to be creating within a project. Let's create our first project.

Creating our first project

Now that we've got a project, let's have a look around at the various panes. Also, just as T-SQL has its own terminology (such as "window functions"), SSAS has its own words. Let's get used to facts, measures, dimensions and cubes.

Looking at our working environment, and Facts, Measures, Dimensions and Cubes

Now that we've got a project, we need to connect to some data. Let's create a data connection with our AdventureWorks database.

Creating a Data Connection

Just like a painter needs colors, a cube designer needs tables. Let's add some tables into a Data Source View.

Creating a Data Source View

We've got a data source and a dimension - let's now create a cube, and pull a couple of tables into the cube.

Creating a Cube

So on my computer, I find that I can't see the cube that I've just created. Let's add a role for my account, and change the impersonation for the data source, and see whether that solves the problem. Then let's take a quick look at the cube.

Creating a role, and playing with the cube

Now we've got a cube, let's look at it. First of all we'll open Excel from Visual Studio directly. Then we'll go to Excel 2016 and we'll add a database connection, and create a PivotTable, and see how that is different from traditional PivotTables. We'll do the same again in Excel 2013 to see how that it is different.

Preview 02:25

Let's add an extra table and create a dimension from this table.

Adding an extra table, and Creating a dimension

Now we've created a dimension, let's re-process the cube, and then view it in Excel again.

Updating the cube, and using Excel again.

Not only can you use T-SQL in SSMS, you can also use MDX, creating SELECT statements from your cube. But be warned - the syntax may look like T-SQL, but it is actually quite different.

Looking at the cube using SSMS

What else can we do with cubes? Why don't we create a report as well, using SQL Server Reporting Services.

Looking at the cube in SSRS
+ Creating a new cube, and enhancing it.
10 lectures 01:02:03

Now it's your turn. Let's create a second cube, this one using the AdventureWorksDW file. We'll go through what you have got to do - and then, over to you.

Practice Activity - Let's do it again!

As a reminder, here are your instructions.

Preview 00:14

Let's run through, and create this second cube.

Practice Activity - The Solution

Existing dimensions can be modified, by adding additional attributes. But what if one of the attributes you want to add it merely a translation of an existing one? Instead of addition translation attributes, let's translate an attribute instead.

Updating dimensions, and creating translations

Now that we've got the cube working, let's add another table into the DSV, and then after trying to create a new dimension, we'll replace this table with a query.

Adding a new table into the Data Source View, and replacing it with a query

Hierarchies can be very useful in organising data, such as dates into years, months and days, and cities into countries, states and cities. Let's create a 2-level hierarchy from our date dimension.

Adding a hierarchy - two levels

Now let's change our hierarchy from 2 levels (year - date) to 3 levels (year - month - date). It's now at easy as it sounds. Let's find out what problems we encounter.

Adding a hierarchy - three levels
Introduction to Practice Activity 3
Practice Activity Number 3
Practice Activity Number 3 - Solution
+ Creating MDX Statements - Measures
8 lectures 37:35
MDX Resources
Default measure, and using the WHERE clause for measures
Adding measures onto the Column axis, and creating a Set of measures
Creating a temporary measure using MDX
Creating a permanent measure using Visual Studio
Practice Activity Number 4
Practice Activity Number 4 - Solution
+ Creating MDX Statements - Dimensions
9 lectures 55:35
Referring to Dimensions, Hierarchies, Levels and Members
Quiz - referring to Dim Date dimensions, hierarchy, levels and members
Visual Studio - changing the appearance and order of months of the year
Referring to multiple members and Using the Range : operator
Creating a tuple
Changing the aggregation using tuples
Practice Activity Number 5
Practice Activity Number 5 - Solution
+ Hierarchies
6 lectures 29:49
Parents and children
Ancestors and Ascendants
Descendants, firstchild and lastchild
  • prevmember
  • nextmember
  • lag
  • lead
  • head
  • tail
  • cousin
Siblings functions
Practice Activity Number 6
Practice Activity Number 6 - Solution
+ Date hierarchies
5 lectures 27:11
Getting YTD and MTD to work
LastPeriods - going into the past
ParallelPeriod, and combining with YTD
Practice Activity Number 7
Practice Activity Number 7 - Solution
+ Creating and joining sets
6 lectures 30:08
topcount, toppercent, bottomcount, bottompercent
Creating sets
Intersect and Except
Practice Activity Number 8
Practice Activity Number 8 - Solution
+ Functions
6 lectures 44:44
Formatting using custom coding
  • You don't need to know or do anything before starting this course.
  • I'll show you have to download the Developer Edition of SQL Server 2017 for FREE. Previous versions cost $100.


"Good Stuff Overall!!! In my opinion, the instructor did great with the "How-tos" which helped for sure in grasping the whole concept of how to create cubes, set up data source and source views, dimensions, add attributes etc." -- Lakeside David-Debo

"A fantastic course which gets you rolling very quickly and comfortably, thanks for the short and condensed knowledge delivery. Thanks, Phillip you made SSAS very simple for me." - Anup Kale

"This is really the perfect course for beginners! Easy to learn and very inspirational for further investigations in SSAS. Thank you very much, Phillip!" - Marina Barinova

Welcome to this course on SQL Server SSAS and MDX Cubes – an Introduction.

You may have become experienced with creating SQL statements in SQL Server Management Studio. Building databases is ideal when you want to quickly add data – that’s why they are called OLTP – Online Transaction Processing – they are designed for speed for adding transactions.

But what if you want to get to get information about? OLTP databases are not based designed for this. What you need instead is a process whereby data is pre-aggregated – in other words, a lot of the calculations you may write have been calculated before you ask for them. It saves a lot of time. It would also be useful if the end user didn’t have to bother with SQL queries, and could use something a bit more hands-on, although retaining something more advanced for advanced users. That’s where cubes come in, full of pre-aggregated data, and SQL Server Analytical Services– or SSAS – (Online Analytical Processing) allows you to make these cubes.

This course is designed for the complete beginner in Multidimensional cubes, or someone who wants to refresh their memory. We’ll create a cube to start with from an ordinary database, and then I’ll ask you to create one from a special database known as a Data Warehouse. We’ll export our cube in SQL Server Management Studio, and into SSRS – and we’ll even have a bit of a look at the more advanced way of querying that is MDX.

It will assist with the "Design a multidimensional business intelligence (BI) semantic model" section of Microsoft exam 70-768 "Developing SQL Data Models".

Who this course is for:
  • This is for you if you want to learn about SQL Server Analysis Services.
  • No previous experience using SSAS is necessary.
  • It would be useful if you have previously used SQL Server (T-SQL), but far from essential.