"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 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.
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).
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.
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.
Let's have a look at AdventureWorks, using SQL Server Management Studios, and have a look at the tables used.
Every cube needs to be creating within a project. Let's create 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.
Now that we've got a project, we need to connect to some data. Let's create a data connection with our AdventureWorks database.
Just like a painter needs colors, a cube designer needs tables. Let's add some tables into 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.
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.
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.
Let's add an extra table and create a dimension from this table.
Now we've created a dimension, let's re-process the cube, and then view it in 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.
What else can we do with cubes? Why don't we create a report as well, using SQL Server Reporting Services.
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.
Let's run through, and create this second cube.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the end of this course, let's take a step back and look at how SSAS fits into SQL Server.
Well done for getting this far.
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.