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Posted May 17, 2004

Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Introduction to Local Cubes - Page 7

By William Pearson

37.  Review the levels of the Customers dimensional hierarchy by expanding the Customers dimension (clicking on the "+" to the immediate left of the Customers dimension in the Create Cube File - Step 2 of 4 dialog).

38.  Expand the Product dimension, as well.

We see the hierarchical members with checkboxes.

39.  Select the following dimensions, making sure to click the top-level checkbox whether already checked or not, to ensure that the hierarchical members below the dimension are checked, as well:

  • Customers
  • Product
  • Store
  • Time
  • Warehouse

We see the selected (checked) hierarchical members and their top-level members, as partially displayed in Illustration 16.

Click for larger image

Illustration 16: Partial View of the Create Cube File - Step 2 of 4 Dialog, Expanded Dimension Selections

40.  Click Next.

41.  Check the following, expanding as a part of the process, to see the underlying members:

  • Measures:
    • Store Cost
    • Store Sales
    • Supply Time
    • Unit Sales
    • Units Ordered
    • Units Shipped
    • Warehouse Cost
    • Warehouse Sales
  • Country:
    • All
  • Product Family:
    • All
  • Store Country:
    • All
  • Year:
    • All
  • Country:
    • All

The Create Cube File - Step 3 of 4 dialog resembles that partially shown in Illustration 17.

Illustration 17: Partial View of the Create Cube File - Step 3 of 4 Dialog

This dialog presents the top level name for each dimension that we have, heretofore, selected, and, by allowing us to check more boxes, provides another chance to select from more levels and their expanded member sets. In addition, this is our first shot at selecting members of the Measures dimension (other than those we pre-selected in our initial design of the PivotTable report - in our case, the Supply Time measure only.

42.  Click Next.

The Create Cube File - Step 4 of 4 dialog appears.

43.  Click Browse, and select an appropriate location in which to store the local cube.

The Save As dialog appears.

44.  Type Offline_Whse_&_Sales into the File Name box to name the new local cube file.

45.  Click Save.

The Create Cube File - Step 4 of 4 dialog reflects our input, as shown in Illustration 18.

Illustration 18: The Create Cube File - Step 4 of 4 Dialog

Notice that the cube will be given a .cub extension.

46.  Click Finish to create the cube.

Cube processing begins, and we are provided general status messages as to the various stages of processing that are taking place, by the Create Cube - Progress message box that briefly appears. When the cube finishes processing, the Progress dialog disappears, and we are left with an altered version of the Offline OLAP Settings dialog, as depicted in Illustration 19.

Illustration 19: The Modified Offline OLAP Settings Dialog

We can alternate at this stage, or at any time, between the original server cube and the local cube file as a data source for the PivotTable report by making our selection via the appropriate radio button on the Offline OLAP Settings dialog. This dialog is always accessible from the PivotTable toolbar, as we saw in beginning the creation of our local cube.

A prominent difference between the dialog at this stage and at the beginning of the cube creation process occurs in the button at its center. What was earlier captioned Create Local Data File is now titled Edit Local Data File; this change in the caption reflects the readiness, at this point of the dialog, to allow us to redefine the structure of our local cube.

We are now at a position to begin reporting from the local cube, just as we did from a server-based MSAS cube in Reporting Options for Analysis Services Cubes: MS Excel 2002. In our next article, we will explore an alternative means of creating a local cube whose structure resembles the one we created in this article, allowing us to contrast the two methods of cube creation as we undertake the new one.

47.  Close the Excel worksheet, saving it as appropriate.

Summary ...

In this article, we ventured beyond earlier topics surrounding the retrieval and reporting of data from a server-based MSAS cube, and transitioned into the realm of remote, independent OLAP data source design and creation. We explored approaches to creating local cubes within MS Office, discussing many of the foundational concepts behind the architecture of multidimensional data sources. As a part of a hands-on practice exercise, we then created a local cube from an existing Excel PivotTable report, sourced initially from an MSAS server-based cube.

We explored many practical aspects of putting the functionality to work immediately, discussing ways that local (or "offline") cubes can meet the business requirements of distributed information consumers, and add value to the organization in general. Throughout the hands-on practice exercise we performed, in creating a local cube from an existing server cube, we commented upon the results we obtained, to reinforce our understanding of the concepts involved.

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

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