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In this article, we introduced the concept of virtual cubes and then practiced their creation and use. We discussed some of the options that virtual cubes provide, from the perspectives of consolidation of multiple data sources, presentation enhancement and control, and other functionality. We also introduced potential uses of virtual cubes to extend the functionality and capabilities of individual OLAP cubes. We then practiced the creation of two virtual cubes.
Within our first practice exercise, we demonstrated the development of a virtual cube for the consolidation of data within multiple OLAP cubes, where comparison of data between individual cubes might have proven useful. Our second exercise provided practice creating a virtual cube to explore another pervasive use of virtual cubes, the control and customization of information presentation. We discussed limitations and strengths in the use of virtual cubes throughout the lesson where appropriate. We also practiced the modification of the structure of a virtual cube that had been created earlier. Finally, we added a calculated member within a virtual cube to practice the process and to focus upon the options that are offered.
In our next article, Custom Cubes: Financial Reporting, we will build a simple cube to meet the illustrative business requirements of hypothetical financial reporting professionals. We will expand upon the "budget vs. actual" concepts we introduced in the current lesson, then discuss some of the challenges that accompany cube design for financial reporting. These topics include rollup / aggregation considerations, sign control in calculations and presentation, and the provision for the cube to store "footnote"/"information only" data for specific reporting needs. Finally, formatting and other considerations will also be addressed as we create a cube to meet the needs of our information consumers.
See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III
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