Preparation: Access SQL Server Management Studio
To reinforce our understanding of the basics we have covered so far, we will use the DrillDownLevel() function in a couple of ways that illustrate its operation. We will do so in simple scenarios that place DrillDownLevel() within the context of meeting business requirements similar to those we might encounter in our respective daily environments. The intent, as always, is to demonstrate the operation of the DrillDownLevel() function in a straightforward, memorable manner.
We will turn to the SQL Server Management Studio as a platform from which to construct and execute the MDX we examine, and to view the results datasets we obtain.
1. Click the Start button.
2. Select Microsoft SQL Server 2005 within the Program group of the menu.
3. Click SQL Server Management Studio, as shown in Illustration 2.
The Connect to Server dialog appears.
4. Select Analysis Services in the Server type selector.
5. Type / select the server name (server name / instance, if appropriate) in the Server name selector.
6. Supply authentication information, as required in your own environment.
7. Click the Connect button to connect with the specified Analysis Services server.
The SQL Server Management Studio opens.
8. In the Object Explorer pane (it appears by default on the left side of the Studio), expand the Databases folder (click the "+" sign to its immediate left), appearing underneath the Analysis Server with which we are working.
The Databases folder opens, exposing the detected Analysis Services database(s), as depicted in Illustration 3.
Illustration 3: Exposing the Analysis Services Databases in the Object Browser ...
NOTE: The Analysis Services databases that appear will depend upon the activities that have taken place in your own environment, and will likely differ from those shown in Illustration 3 above. For purposes of this practice session, the Adventure Works DW database must be present. If this is not the case, consult the Books Online for the installation / connection procedures, and complete these procedures before continuing.
9. Expand the Adventure Works DW database.
The Database expands, exposing the folders for the various objects housed within an Analysis Services database, as shown in Illustration 4.
Illustration 4: Exposing the Object Folders in the Database ...
10. Expand the Cubes folder within the Adventure Works DW database.
The Cubes folder opens. We see two cubes, the first of which, Adventure Works, is the sample cube with which we will be conducting our practice exercises. The cubes appear as depicted in Illustration 5.
Illustration 5: The Cubes Appear ...
11. Click the Adventure Works cube to select it.
12. Click the New Query button just under the main menu, in the upper left corner of the Management Studio, as shown in Illustration 6.
Illustration 6: Click the New Query Button with the Adventure Works Cube Selected
The metadata pane for the Adventure Works cube appears, along with the query pane to its right, as depicted in Illustration 7.
Illustration 7: Adventure Works Cube Metadata Appears ...
We will be using the Query pane in the practice session that follows, to construct and execute our MDX queries.
In addition to its role of providing an environment for the management of all server types in the SQL Server family, including Analysis Services, Reporting Services and DTS servers, many additional functions can now be performed from the SQL Server Management Studio. Among those functions, I find the capabilities to easily browse data, and to issue queries, highly convenient. We can accomplish querying in several other ways within the Microsoft integrated BI solution, but this is certainly one of the most direct.
We will be using the appropriate query editor in this and many prospective articles for the purpose of issuing MDX queries within the practice exercises of the MDX Essentials series. The query editors within the Management Studio afford us the capability to not only execute MDX queries against our cubes, but handle DMX (queries against our data mining models) and XMLA (covering all command types that can be sent to Analysis Services), as well. The MDX and DMX editors each include a Metadata pane for the convenient display of the metadata for the currently selected data source, a dramatic enhancement over the native tools provided in earlier versions. To some extent, the "drag and drop" capabilities afforded us via the Metadata pane might be useful, but we will typically limit our exercises to "straight MDX" queries, as the focus of this series is the MDX functions, properties, techniques and so forth. (Articles within my other series explore other capabilities and features of the SQL Server Management Studio, as well as the SQL Server Business Intelligence Studio).