Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Introduction to Local Cubes

About the Series …

This
is the twenty-third 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, 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 ("MSAS")
(and uses MS Office 2000 and above, in cases where MS Office
components are presented in the article.)

Introduction

In our
last article, Actions
in Virtual Cubes
,
we extended the
examination of Actions that we began in the article before it, Putting
Actions to Work in Regular Cubes
, to the creation and use of Actions
within virtual cubes. After considering the differences between
regular and virtual cube scenarios, we created an Action in a sample
virtual cube we cloned from an existing sample. We then performed the import of
an example Action into our cloned virtual cube. Throughout the hands-on
practice exercises, we commented upon the results we obtained, to reinforce our
understanding of the concepts involved.

In
this article, we will look beyond the confines of Analysis Manager to introduce the creation and use of
local cubes with Microsoft Office 2003 ("MS Office"). In
conjunction with MSAS, we will overview the concepts involved with our topic,
and then we will "drill down" into the practical aspects involved in
putting the functionality to work immediately. This offers us an opportunity
to explore the integration of MSAS OLAP with MS Office, a topic
that is highly valuable to the business community. While continuing to work
with the Analysis Server, we will examine, in this and the subsequent
article, ways that we can conduct much design and development outside MSAS
and within MS Office.

This
article will focus upon the creation of a local cube from an existing
Excel PivotTable report
. In the article that follows this one, we will
shift gears and explore a more MSAS-centric route, through the use of
the OLAP Cube Wizard, to accomplish cube creation in a more flexible
manner. The intent of these articles is not to demonstrate making us
independent of MSAS within the creation phase, but to offer options for more
independence from the perspective of the information consumer. The objective
is also to make the fruits of MSAS OLAP available to enterprise team
members through the conduits of applications that are pervasive in the desktop
population we find in business today.

In
this lesson, we will:

  • Introduce local
    cubes
    , discussing
    how they differ from server-based cubes (the focus of virtually all the
    articles in this series so far), and some scenarios in which they are
    appropriate;

  • Create a local
    cube
    from an existing
    server-based cube;

  • Discuss design
    and deployment considerations, and the advantages and other value that local
    cubes
    can provide the organization, both as remote production data sources
    and as development prototypes.
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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