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Posted Apr 19, 2004

Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Actions in Virtual Cubes - Page 2

By William Pearson

MSAS Actions in Virtual Cubes

We learned in our last article that an MSAS Action is an operation upon a selected cube (or portion of a cube), initiated by an information consumer, while performing analysis within the cube in which the Action exists. We discovered that, for the item upon which it is initiated, the Action can retrieve information about the item that is selected, can start an application with the selection as a parameter that is fed to the application to accomplish its function, and so forth.

Actions afford the consumer-analyst the capability of accessing valuable relative information in a non-disruptive manner, by allowing him / her to access the information without leaving the point of analysis at which the Action is initialized (the "target," in the parlance of MSAS architecture). In this article, our examination of MSAS Actions will include:

  • A brief introduction to Actions from the perspective of MSAS virtual cubes;
  • Creation of a virtual cube through the "cloning" of a FoodMart2000 sample, to save time;
  • A review of the characteristics of virtual cubes, where appropriate to the current objectives;
  • A hands-on practice example of the creation of an Action within our newly created virtual cube;
  • A review of the use of Actions within the Cube Browser;
  • A hands-on practice example of the import of an Action within our newly created virtual cube;

Create a Clone of a Virtual Cube for this Article

1.  Open Analysis Manager.

2.  Expand the Analysis Servers folder by clicking the "+" sign to its immediate left.

Our server(s) appear. Mine is shown in various illustrations as MOTHER1.

3.  Expand the desired server.

Our database(s) appear, in much the same manner as shown in Illustration 1.

Illustration 1: Databases Displayed within Analysis Manager

4.  Expand the FoodMart 2000 database.

5.  Expand the Cubes folder.

The sample cubes appear, as shown in Illustration 2.

Illustration 2: The Sample Cubes in the FoodMart 2000 Database

NOTE: Your databases / cube tree may differ, depending upon the activities you have performed since the installation of MSAS (and the simultaneous creation of the original set of sample cubes). Should you want or need to restore the cubes to their original state, simply restore the database under consideration. For instructions, see the MSSQL Server 2000 Books Online.

6.  Right-click on the Warehouse and Sales sample cube.

Because our lesson will involve making changes to the cube we use, let's make a copy of the Warehouse and Sales cube. This sample that accompanies installation of MSAS is a virtual cube. Working with the copy will allow us to maintain our existing sample cubes in their original condition.

7.  Select Copy from the context menu that appears, as shown in Illustration 3.

Illustration 3: Select Copy from the Context Menu

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