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Posted Jan 26, 2004

MDX in Analysis Services: Optimizing MDX: More on Location, and the Importance of Arrangement

By William Pearson

About the Series ...

This is the eleventh tutorial article of the series, MDX in Analysis Services. The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MDX from the perspective of MS SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services ("Analysis Services,"); our primary focus is the manipulation of multidimensional data sources, using MDX expressions, in a variety of scenarios designed to meet real-world business intelligence needs.

For more information on the series, as well as the hardware / software requirements to prepare for the tutorials we will undertake, please see the first lesson of this series: MDX Concepts and Navigation.

Note: At the time of writing, Service Pack 3 updates are assumed for MSSQL Server 2000, MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services, and the related Books Online and Samples. The screen shots that appear in this article were taken from a Windows 2003 Server, and may appear somewhat different from coinciding views in other operating systems.


In our last tutorial, Control Location of Processing, we began a three-part mini-series, Optimizing MDX. We stated that the objective of this "triptych" is to explore methods for optimizing the performance we obtain from our MDX queries. We introduced types of intervention, or classifications of approaches, that we can take, to enhance the performance of MDX, with the intent being to cover several of the types as we progress through the mini-series, while introducing practice examples to reinforce an awareness that transfers to our daily work with MDX. In the first lesson of the Optimizing MDX set, we introduced the first intervention type, control of location of query execution.

We focused on two of the main ways to effect control of location, the Large Level Threshold property and the Execution Location parameter, and performed hands-on practice with the settings involved with each. In this lesson, we will pick up where we left off, and:

  • Continue in our considerations of the types of intervention we can use to optimize MDX queries;
  • Explore optimization of set operations and syntax arrangement considerations.

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