Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Introducing Data Source Views

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.

Introduction

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
    .
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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