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Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: ProClarity Part II

February 17, 2004

About the Series ...

This is the twentieth 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 is 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, with each installment progressively adding features and techniques 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.

Note:  Service Pack 3 updates are assumed for MSSQL Server 2000, MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services, and the related Books Online and Samples. Images are from a Windows 2003 Server environment, but the steps performed in the articles, together with the views that result, will be quite similar within any environment that supports MSSQL Server 2000 and MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services ("MSAS").

Along with MSSQL Server 2000 and MSAS, which we use in all articles of the series, additional application considerations apply for this tutorial, because it introduces a third-party reporting solution, ProClarity Professional ("ProClarity").  For those joining the series at this point because of a desire to work with MSAS and its components from a ProClarity perspective, it is assumed that MSAS is accessible to / installed on the PC, with the appropriate access rights to the sample cubes (which are provided in a typical installation of Analysis Services). 

We will use ProClarity (Platform 5 or higher), and various components that come along with a typical installation of ProClarity, to demonstrate the setup of, and some approaches for, using this business intelligence tool for creating and deploying reports, based upon an MSAS cube as a data source.  ProClarity provides the capability for establishing connections to our cubes, among other functions that we will explore.  Because we are targeting existing or evaluation users of ProClarity, we will assume installation of the application involved, and focus upon the specific setup required to enable reporting from MSAS cubes.  If this is the first time ProClarity is being accessed on your machine, or if ProClarity is not already installed / configured, you will need to consult the ProClarity documentation for installation instructions. 

Introduction

In Part I of this article, we returned to the objectives of an earlier subseries, Reporting Options for Analysis Services CubesAs we stated in that set of articles, our focus was to respond to a constant request from readers: to explore options beyond the Analysis Manager / Sample Application interfaces for analyzing and reporting data in MSAS cubes.  I began an examination of another such option, ProClarity, based upon a suggestion I received from a reader, and upon my own favorable experiences with this outstanding tool in recent months.

After a brief introduction to the application, together with an overview of establishing connectivity with an MSAS cube, we examined some of the options offered by ProClarity for analyzing our MSAS OLAP data.  We began to perform practice examples of browsing and analyzing our data from within the application, examining the layout and navigation of the analysis interface that ProClarity offers as we practiced its use.

In this article, we will continue our exploration of ProClarity in the same hands-on manner, with a focus on exposing more of the rich analysis and reporting capabilities of the application.

Reporting Options for MSAS Cubes:  ProClarity

First, we will return to the point at which we left our "tour" at the end of Part I, and finish discussing some features from the rudimentary perspective of the Budget cube.  Next, we will move our examination to a cube with a bit more complexity, and take advantage of the opportunities that this avails to experience additional features of the application.

The topics within this article will include:

  • An introduction to several additional features that are available within ProClarity to provide for analyzing, and creating enterprise reporting components from, data in MSAS cubes;
  • Various use and navigation tips for the ProClarity interface in analyzing, and reporting from, MSAS cubes.
  • Practice examples of uses for the ProClarity functionality that we expose.







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