Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Basic Storage Design

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.

Overview

Optimization
of MSAS requires an in-depth knowledge of many factors, including the manner in
which MSAS executes queries within the client/server architecture that embodies
it. From the perspective of the cubes that MSAS produces, our primary
concerns, from a performance standpoint, lie within two main groups: cube
processing performance (how fast the cube builds / updates from the source
data) and cube query performance (the response time with which consumers’ needs
are met with information contained in the cube).

The structure of MSAS
cubes themselves span many considerations; among the most significant concerns
are storage modes and aggregations. MSAS allows for management of these and
other factors in numerous ways, including several tools within the application.
This article will focus on the Storage Design Wizard, and, as a natural
part of exploring its use, we will consider and acknowledge the importance and
potential complexity of storage configuration for MSAS. The detailed topics of
storage, aggregation, and a host of other considerations in tuning MSAS are
beyond the scope of this article. These and many other performance-related
topics will be treated individually in other articles of my various series.

In this lesson, we will do the following:

  • Introduce the Storage Design Wizard, discussing its general purposes;

  • Explore
    scenarios where we might use the Storage Design Wizard;

  • Practice using
    the Storage Design
    Wizard
    in a basic
    scenario;

  • Review cube
    processing;

  • Discuss how
    the processing log can be used to focus on storage design effectiveness.

William Pearson
William Pearson
Bill has been working with computers since before becoming a "big eight" CPA, after which he carried his growing information systems knowledge into management accounting, internal auditing, and various capacities of controllership. Bill entered the world of databases and financial systems when he became a consultant for CODA-Financials, a U.K. - based software company that hired only CPA's as application consultants to implement and maintain its integrated financial database - one of the most conceptually powerful, even in his current assessment, to have emerged. At CODA Bill deployed financial databases and business intelligence systems for many global clients. Working with SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase and Informix, and focusing on MSSQL Server, Bill created Island Technologies Inc. in 1997, and has developed a large and diverse customer base over the years since. Bill's background as a CPA, Internal Auditor and Management Accountant enable him to provide value to clients as a liaison between Accounting / Finance and Information Services. Moreover, as a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) - a Certified Public Accountant recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies - Bill offers his clients the CPA's perspective and ability to understand the complicated business implications and risks associated with technology. From this perspective, he helps them to effectively manage information while ensuring the data's reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. Bill has implemented enterprise business intelligence systems over the years for many Fortune 500 companies, focusing his practice (since the advent of MSSQL Server 2000) upon the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution. He leverages his years of experience with other enterprise OLAP and reporting applications (Cognos, Business Objects, Crystal, and others) in regular conversions of these once-dominant applications to the Microsoft BI stack. Bill believes it is easier to teach technical skills to people with non-technical training than vice-versa, and he constantly seeks ways to graft new technology into the Accounting and Finance arenas. Bill was awarded Microsoft SQL Server MVP in 2009. Hobbies include advanced literature studies and occasional lectures, with recent concentration upon the works of William Faulkner, Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Honoré de Balzac, and Charles Dickens. Other long-time interests have included the exploration of generative music sourced from database architecture.

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