Introduction to MSSQL Server Analysis Services: Process Analysis Services Cubes with DTS

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 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: Current Service Pack current 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.

Introduction

In this article, we will examine the processing of an
Analysis Services cube via another of the integrated MSSQL Server
components, Data Transformation Services ("DTS").
Virtually anyone that works with MSSQL Server in an RDBMS context, and
often within a data warehouse or mart design perspective and related functions,
has probably interacted in some way with DTS – if only as an Import /
Export
utility. Best known as the set of ETL (Extraction,
Transformation and Load
) utilities that accompany the integrated Microsoft
BI Solution
as a part of MSSQL Server, DTS does, indeed,
perform well within the context of all of the stages of data transformation
(examples include type conversions, scrubbing and validation, among others, to
varying degrees. DTS also maintains a particularly high-profile role within the
creation and maintenance of a data warehouse, mart, or other such source for
business intelligence and organizational reporting.

A significant part of DTS’ power within the Microsoft BI
solution, among other combinations, is its inherent integration with the
Microsoft Universal Data Access and ActiveX technologies. The resulting "expanded
access" means that DTS works equally well in extracting, transforming and
loading data from ODBC- and OLE DB compliant sources. DTS is the tool of choice
for many other data "movement and manipulation" needs, and I like to
think of its uses as belonging to either these sorts of activities, or the
running of programs, scripts, etc., to act as an agent of automation of some
sort or other – which will actually be the kind of thing we examine in this
article.

There are, of course, many things that DTS can be used to
accomplish that do not necessarily fit into neat classifications: For example,
I used DTS in another article of this series, Introduction
to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Drilling Through to Details: From Two
Perspectives
, whereby I show how to perform cube drillthrough
activity via DTS-mobilized MDX. I suggest the article as one of many uses of
MDX that might not readily occur to the "casual user." Moreover, the
flexible utility of DTS packages is perhaps nowhere more apparent than within
the realm of automation: they can be used to perform all manner of actions,
including the execution of scripts and programs written in other languages, to
help us to accomplish virtually any requirement necessary to meeting objectives
of data warehousing, and far, far beyond.

In this article, we will overview one of two custom DTS tasks
that accompany the installation of Analysis Services, the Analysis Services
Processing
task. As a part of our examination of this useful task, we
will:

  • Introduce the Analysis
    Services Processing
    task, and discuss its uses;

  • Perform a
    practice exercise, whereby we conduct full processing of a sample cube with the
    Analysis Services Processing task;

  • Discuss
    options that are available to us within the Analysis Services Processing task;

  • Note the
    benefits of using the Services Processing task, particularly in
    combination with scheduling.
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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