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Posted Oct 11, 2004

Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Partitioning a Cube in Analysis Services - An Introduction

By William Pearson

About the Series ...

This article is a member of the series Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services. The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MS SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services, with each installment progressively adding features and techniques 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 First Cube.

Note: Service Pack 3 updates are assumed for MSSQL Server 2000, MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services, and the related Books Online and Samples. Images are from a Windows 2003 Server environment, upon which I have also implemented MS Office 2003, but the steps performed in the articles, together with the views that result, will be quite similar within any environment that supports MSSQL Server 2000 and MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services ("Analysis Services" or "MSAS"). The same is generally true, except where differences are specifically noted, when MS Office 2000 and above are used in the environment, in cases where MS Office components are presented in the article.


We have touched upon partitions over the life of the Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services series, as well as within other series at Database Journal. We recently discussed partitioning more specifically within our article Basic Storage Design, within which we introduced the Storage Design Wizard. The Storage Design Wizard, as we discovered, enables us to manage aggregations on a partition-by-partition basis when working with a multi-partitioned cube. We noted that, if a cube we are optimizing through the use of the Storage Design Wizard contains multiple partitions, we are forced to select a partition from the outset, as we can only design storage for a single partition at a time.

In this article, we will introduce the MSAS Partition Wizard, whose role is to enable us to create and modify partitions to optimize the query performance of our cubes. We will first discuss partitioning as a concept, within the context of MSAS cubes, and then we will perform a hands-on exercise where we partition a copy of the Budget cube, one of the sample cubes that accompany the installation of MSAS. Our objective in this article is an overview of the wizard itself; later articles will focus on detailed partitioning strategy and techniques.

Within our exploration of the Partition Wizard, we will accomplish the following:

  • Create copy of the Budget sample cube for use in our practice exercise;
  • Use the Partition Wizard, to create partitions for our practice cube;
  • Examine the options that are available to us, as we proceed through the guided steps of the Partition Wizard.

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