SQL Server SSAS (Multidimensional MDX) - an Introduction
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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
Best Seller
4.5 (75 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
500 students enrolled
Created by Phillip Burton
Last updated 1/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I 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.
View Curriculum
  • 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 2016. 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 is the target audience?
  • 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.
Curriculum For This Course
26 Lectures
1 Lecture 02:39

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
Installing SQL Server
5 Lectures 41:55

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 07:50

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 13:49

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 12:34

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 02:46

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.
7 Lectures 47:02

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 00:15

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
The End - or just the beginning
2 Lectures 06:28

At the end of this course, let's take a step back and look at how SSAS fits into SQL Server.

Bonus - An overview of SQL Server

Well done for getting this far.

About the Instructor
Phillip Burton
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Phillip is a Computing Consultant providing expert services in the development of computer systems and data analysis. He is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist. He has also been certified as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert for Business Intelligence, Microsoft Office 2010 Master, and as a Microsoft Project 2013 Specialist.

He enjoys investigating data, which allows me to maintain up to date and pro-active systems to help control and monitor day-to-day activities. As part of the above, he also developed and maintained a Correspondence Database in Microsoft Access and SQL Server, for viewing job-related correspondence (110,000 pdfs in one job) by multiple consultants and solicitors.

He has also developed expertise and programmes to catalogue and process and control electronic data, large quantities of paper or electronic data for structured analysis and investigation.

He is one of 9 award winning Experts for Experts Exchange's 11th Annual Expert Awards and was one of Expert Exchange's top 10 experts for the first quarter of year 2015.

His interests are working with data, including Microsoft Excel, Access and SQL Server.