Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Creating Our First Cube

Introduction

This is the first article of my new series Introduction to MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services, which I hope will help new users get up to speed quickly on this exciting functionality. The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MS SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services (to which I will refer in many cases as simply “Analysis Services”to save time and space); our primary focus will be the creation of simple multi-dimensional OLAP cubes, with each installment progressively adding more features designed to meet specific real-world needs.

Having examined the use of the wizards that come packaged with Analysis Services in our first session, we will move forward to more advanced concepts in later articles; through the creation of samples of “real-world” OLAP cubes, each as a discrete project, we will gain a foundation from which to expand the rudiments learned up to that point to our individual reporting and analysis needs. Articles within this series will cover working with dimensions as a part of cube builds, with a special emphasis on time dimensions and parent-child dimensions. Once we’ve covered the basic components of Analysis Services and multi-dimensional cubes introduced in each session, we will take a look at examples we might find in our own reporting environments.

In this article, we will:

  • Prepare Analysis Services, as well as our environment, for the cube model we intend to design;
  • Create the basic cube model;
  • Perform dimension design and other steps as part of the cube creation process;
  • Save the model;
  • Design storage for the cube we have planned;
  • Process the cube; and
  • Overview basic cube browse functionality.

Introducing Analysis Manager

When we installed MSSQL 2000 Analysis Services, Analysis Managerwas also installed as a tool for Analysis Server administration. Like Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Manager, the interface that we see when using Analysis Manager is a snap-in administrative utility. A console tree appears in the left pane of the management console, where we view the familiar hierarchical structure that resembles Windows Explorer.

To start Analysis Manager, we go to the Start button on the desktop, then to the Programs group, from which we then need to point to the Microsoft SQL Server Group. Within MSSQL Server 2000, we see the Analysis Services Group: here we click Analysis Manager. (Paths may differ, of course, based upon choices made during the installation of the product on our individual machines).

Once inside Analysis Manager’s console, we can see all the analysis servers established for our environment on the left-hand side. The example screen shot shown below (in Illustration 1) shows only one server (MOTHER), because I am providing a view of a simple laptop implementation. The analysis server name is automatically derived from the installation of MSSQL Server 2000, and is likely to be the name of the physical machine upon which each of us is working, provided defaults were accepted throughout the MSSQL Server 2000 installation. I will use this environment for most of the pictures in this series.


Illustration 1: First Look at the Analysis Manager Console

Page 2: Setting up the Database and Data Source

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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