Preparation: Access SQL Server Management Studio
To reinforce our understanding of the basics we have covered so far, we will use the Distinct() function in a couple of queries that illustrate its operation. We will do so in simple scenarios that place Distinct() within the context of meeting basic requirements similar to those we might encounter within our respective daily environments. The intent, as in all the practice sessions of this series, is to demonstrate the operation of the Distinct() 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.
Illustration 2: Opening SQL Server Management Studio
The Connect to Server dialog appears, after the brief Management Studio splash screen.
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 the 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.
As we discover in articles throughout my Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services series, among my other series' at Database Journal, the SQL Server Management Studio serves us in providing a point of interface with all server types in the SQL Server family, including Analysis Services, Reporting Services and Integration Services servers, as well as supporting many additional functions. 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 integrated Microsoft BI solution, but this is certainly one of the most direct. For more information on the use of the Query Editor within SQL Server Management Studio for issuing MDX queries within the practice exercises of the MDX Essentials series, see Set Functions: The DRILLDOWNMEMBER() Function. (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).