Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Working with the Cube Editor

November 11, 2002

About the Series ...

This is the fifth article of the series, Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services. As I stated in the first article, Creating Our First Cube, the primary focus of this series will be an introduction to the practical creation and manipulation of multidimensional OLAP cubes. The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MS SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services ("Analysis Services"), with each installment progressively adding features designed to meet specific real-world needs. For more information on the series, as well as the hardware/software requirements to prepare for the exercises we will undertake, please see my initial article, Creating Our First Cube.


In the first article of the series, we used the Cube Wizard to build an initial cube with the assistance of the Dimension Wizard. We progressed through subsequent articles, creating similar dimensions to those we built with the Wizard, focusing largely in our second article on using the Dimension Editor to illustrate options for building a more customized cube. We continued this examination of dimensions in Article Three, where we recreated the calendar time dimension, this time focusing on the process through which the Dimension Wizard converts existing time/date fields to a time dimension, along with its hierarchy of levels and members. Article Three also exposed ways to customize the predefined, time-related properties that the wizard establishes in building the time dimension, suggesting options for customization of these properties to enhance the cube, from the dual perspectives of user-friendliness and the reporting needs of the organization. We created an example of an alternate time dimension for fiscal time reporting, and then we discussed some of the considerations surrounding the simultaneous housing of both hierarchies in the same OLAP cube structure.

In Article Four, we examined another special type of dimension, the Parent-Child dimension, and explored the attributes that make it different from a regular dimension. We discussed the considerations that surround Parent-Child dimensions, such as the recursive nature of their data sources, and various actions that must be handled differently in their creation and maintenance. We discussed unbalanced hierarchies, and scenarios where we need a parent-child dimension. We then created a parent-child dimension using the Dimension Wizard, within which we worked with levels and properties. Finally, we enabled values at the parent level of our newly created parent-child dimension.

In this lesson, Working with the Cube Editor, we will review, summarize and integrate many of the components that we have constructed, and the concepts that we have explored individually, in the last four lessons. Our objective will be to undertake a complete cube build, pulling together all that we have learned, to demonstrate the assembly of a cube more sophisticated than the cube we generated in our first lesson with the Cube Wizard. As a part of this objective, we will also introduce further capabilities as we construct our new cube "from scratch."

In this article, we will:

  • Discuss the use of the Cube Editor, as opposed to the Cube Wizard, as a means of cube construction;
  • Create a basic "starter" cube, using the fact table alone, to serve as a foundation for a more elaborate cube;
  • Process the cube to review the steps involved;
  • Expand dimensions of the cube to include the associated dimension tables;
  • Define the Member Name Column dimension property to meet illustrative business requirements of information consumers;
  • Review sample uses and purposes of Member Properties;
  • Add a derived dimension to meet illustrative information consumer needs;
  • Use the Dimension Browser as a design and review tool;
  • Revisit calculated members and add a calculated measure to our cube;
  • Work with various properties of measures and dimensions to control the behavior and characteristics of our cube.

Page 2: Working with the Cube Editor

See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

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