Page 2: Exploring Virtual Cubes
About the Series ...
This is the sixth article of the series, Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services. As
I stated in the first article, Creating Our
First Cube, the primary focus of this series is an introduction to
the practical creation and manipulation of multidimensional OLAP cubes. The
series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MS
SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services ("Analysis Services"), with each installment
progressively adding features designed to meet specific real - world needs.
For more information on the series, as well as the hardware/software
requirements to prepare for the exercises we will undertake, please see my
initial article, Creating Our
In the first article of the series,
we used the Cube Wizard to build an initial cube with the assistance of
the Dimension Wizard. We progressed through subsequent articles,
creating similar dimensions to those we built with the Wizard, focusing largely
in our second article on using the Dimension Editor to illustrate
options for building a more customized cube. We continued this examination of
dimensions in Article Three, where we recreated the calendar
time dimension, this time focusing on the process through which the Dimension Wizard converts existing time/date fields to a time dimension, along with
its hierarchy of levels and members. Article Three also
exposed ways to customize the predefined, time-related properties that the
wizard establishes in building the time dimension, suggesting options for
customization of these properties to enhance the cube, from the dual
perspectives of user-friendliness and the reporting needs of the organization.
We created an example of an alternate time dimension for fiscal time
reporting, and then we discussed some of the considerations surrounding the
simultaneous housing of both hierarchies in the same OLAP cube structure.
In Article Four, we examined another special type of dimension,
the Parent-Child dimension, and explored the attributes that make it
different from a regular dimension. We discussed the considerations that
surround Parent-Child dimensions, such as the recursive nature of their data
sources, and various actions that must be handled differently in their creation
and maintenance. We created a parent-child dimension using the Dimension
Wizard, within which we worked with levels and properties. Finally, we
enabled values at the parent level of our newly created parent-child
dimension. In Article
Five, Working with the Cube
Editor, we reviewed, summarized and integrated many of the concepts and
components that we had previously constructed individually in earlier lessons.
We undertook a complete cube build "from scratch," pulling together all that we
had learned, to demonstrate the assembly of a cube more sophisticated than the
cube we generated in our first lesson with the Cube Wizard.
this article, Exploring
Virtual Cubes, we will introduce the concept of
virtual cubes, and practice their creation and use. We will discuss the
options that virtual cubes provide, from the intermingling perspectives of
consolidation of multiple data sources, presentation enhancement and control,
and other functionality.
In this article, we will:
potential uses of virtual cubes to offer options that extend the
functionality and capabilities of individual OLAP cubes;
virtual cubes to practice their development for:
of data within multiple OLAP cubes;
of data between individual cubes;
/customization of information presentation.
the structure of a virtual cube;
- Add a
calculated member within a virtual cube;
limitations and strengths in the use of virtual cubes where appropriate.