Distinct Counts in Analysis Services 2005 - Page 3

June 11, 2007

Verify Operation of the Distinct Count Measure in the Browser

Let’s take a look at our new distinct count measure in the Cube Browser, so as to verify its operation.

1.  Click the Browser tab within the design environment.

2.  Click the Reconnect button in the Browser toolbar.

3.  Expand the Customer dimension in the cube metadata tree, and then expand the Customer Geography hierarchy, if necessary. Drag the Country level therein to the empty data grid, dropping it in the area marked Drop Row Fields Here, as depicted in Illustration 6.


Illustration 6: Adding the Country Level to the Browser Rows Axis ...

4.  Expand the Date dimension in the cube metadata tree, and then expand the Calendar folder, as necessary. Drag the Date.Calendar Year attribute hierarchy into the area marked Drop Column Fields Here.

5.  Expand Measures, and then the Internet Sales Measure Group. Drag the Internet Order Quantity measure to the area of the grid marked Drop Totals or Detail Fields Here.

6.  Again within Measures, expand the new Product Distinct Count Measure Group, if necessary. Drag the new Distinct Products measure to the area of the grid marked Drop Totals or Detail Fields Here, dropping it to the right of the first column containing the Internet Order Quantity measure.

A partial view of our newly assembled and populated browser grid is shown in Illustration 7.


Illustration 7: The Browser with our Viewer Settings (Partial View) ...


And so we see that our distinct count measure appears to operate as expected. Our verification is made easier by comparing a “pure count” to our distinct count measure, which will, of course, typically be significantly smaller than the gross count value.

We can leverage distinct count measures, and enjoy the multiple benefits we have enumerated, within our own business environments, as easily as we have done in our practice session. Distinct counts rank highly among a host of design improvements in Analysis Services 2005.

Conclusion

In this article, we examined distinct counts in Analysis Services 2005. We reviewed the general concept of distinct counts, discussing why they are useful (and often required) within the design of any robust analysis effort. In other articles, I have described some of the challenges that were inherent in their use in Analysis Services 2000, typically before undertaking a practice exercise whereby we constructed a distinct count measure to meet the business requirements of a hypothetical client.

As a part of introducing distinct counts as they are managed in Analysis Services 2005, we discussed various aspects of the redesign of the capability, based upon the hierarchy and attribute structure that debuts in Analysis Services 2005. We noted that the enhancement of distinct counts results in much more impressive performance, and flexibility of deployment, within our integrated business intelligence solutions. We contrasted the new capabilities with some of the challenges inherent with using distinct counts in Analysis Services 2000, focusing on how distinct counts have been expanded in Analysis Services 2005 to overcome some of the shortcomings of the previous version.

We then created a distinct count measure within the Adventure Works sample cube to demonstrate the ease with which we can add distinct count capabilities to the cubes in our individual business environments. Finally, we verified the operation of the distinct count measure using the browser within our freshly deployed cube. Throughout the steps of our practice exercise, we highlighted other considerations that surround the efficient use of distinct counts.

» See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

Discuss this article in the MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services and MDX Topics Forum.

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