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Posted Nov 6, 2002

MDX at First Glance: Introduction to SQL Server MDX Essentials

By William Pearson

Unlock data warehouses with the analytical language of OLAP. Join Author Bill Pearson in the first of a new series of tutorials designed to get you up and running with the fundamentals of Multidimensional Expressions (MDX).

About the Series...

This is the first article of my new series, MDX Essentials. The primary focus of this series will be an introduction to the MDX language. The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of the Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) language, with each tutorial progressively adding features designed to meet specific real-world needs.

As we progress through the series, we will build upon previous lessons and the concepts we have introduced therein. However, one of my objectives is to make each lesson as "standalone" as possible, meaning that we should not encounter cases where we cannot complete a given lesson without components or objects that we have created in previous lessons. This should make it easier for "casual" visitors to join us with any lesson, and still successfully complete that session, given an existing understanding of concepts and principles that we have accumulated up to that point.

What We Will Need to Complete the Tutorials

To get the most out of the MDX Essentials series, we need to have installed at least the Analysis Services component of MSSQL Server 2000. While the full installation of SQL Server 2000 allows for virtually any exercise we might undertake, the majority of our sessions center on Analysis Services, the PivotTable Service, and their constituent parts. Installation of Analysis Services from the Standard Edition of MSSQL Server 2000 will be adequate for the vast majority of our activities.

For purposes of carrying out limited Microsoft Office -- related activities, Microsoft Excel 2000 and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft FrontPage 2000 will come in handy. We will also make use of the Microsoft OLAP Provider, included in a typical Excel 2000 installation, which consists of the data source driver and the client software needed to access cubes created by Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services.

For purposes of the series, it is assumed that MSSQL Server 2000 and, specifically, the MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services components (I will often substitute the term "Analysis Services" going forward, to save time and space) are accessible to/installed on the PC, with the appropriate access rights to the sample cubes provided in a Typical installation of Analysis Services. It is also assumed that the computer(s) involved meet the system requirements, including hardware and operating systems, of the applications we have mentioned.

Page 2: Introduction to MDX: The First Blush

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