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Posted Oct 10, 2005

Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Introducing Data Source Views

By William Pearson

About the Series ...

This article is a member of the series Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services. The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MS SQL Server Analysis Services, with each installment progressively presenting features and techniques designed to meet specific real - world needs. For more information on the series, please see my initial article, Creating Our First Cube.

Note: This article examines exciting new features of MSSQL Server 2005. To follow along with the steps we undertake, the following components, samples and tools are recommended, and should be installed according to the respective documentation that accompanies MSSQL Server 2005:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Database Engine
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services (SSAS)
  • Business Intelligence Development Studio
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 sample databases
  • The Analysis Services Tutorial sample projects and other samples that are available with the installation of the above.

To successfully replicate the steps of the article, you also need to have:

  • Membership within one of the following:
    • the Administrators local group on the Analysis Services computer
    • the Server role in the instance of Analysis Services.
  • Read permissions within the SQL Server 2005 sample databases we access within our practice session.

Note: Current Service Pack updates are assumed for the operating system, MSSQL Server 2005 ("MSSQL Server"), MSSQL Server 2005 Analysis Services ("Analysis Services"), MSSQL Server 2005 Reporting Services ("Reporting Services") and the related Books Online and Samples. Images are from a Windows 2003 Server environment, within 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 2005 and its component applications.


The release of MSSQL Server 2005 ushers in a plethora of enhancements over the feature set available within MSSQL Server 2000. Proclaimed as the "BI Release" for good reason, the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution has witnessed advances in power, scope and user friendliness that I have found impressive, as I have begun implementing it among my clients. As a Business Intelligence architect, I am discovering that, along with these enormous improvements, the further integration of MSSQL Server, Analysis Services and Reporting Services within the centralized Business Intelligence Development Studio, has proven to be a dramatic step in the "commoditization of BI" that I have predicted since I began working with MS OLAP Services in MSSQL Server 7.0, through its further evolution to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services.

In this article, I will introduce a significant improvement that underlies the new Analysis Services development approach, the Data Source View. A Data Source View is a design-time object that makes its home in the workbench environment of the Business Intelligence Development Studio. Its purpose, as we shall see, is to provide an abstract layer that bridges front-end and back-end components in a single, unified interface. The Data Source View thus provides a much richer, productivity-oriented developer experience while making possible the implementation of consistent standards within an Analysis Services Project. An understanding of Data Source Views is critical to any development project in Analysis Services, and once we get a grasp of its utility, we can appreciate that it represents an advance in modeling, design and creation of sophisticated sources for multi-dimensional analysis.

In this article, we will:

  • Introduce the Analysis Services 2005 concept of Data Source Views;
  • Discuss the nature and relationship of Data Sources and Data Source Views;
  • Introduce the Business Intelligence Development Studio;
  • Create a new Analysis Service Project;
  • Define a Data Source;
  • Define a Data Source View;
  • Introduce the Data Source View Designer.

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