Introduction to SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services: Working with the Cube Editor


About the Series …

This is the fifth 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 will be 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
(“Analysis Services“), with
each installment progressively adding features 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
.

Introduction

In the first article of the series,
we used the Cube Wizard to build an initial cube with the assistance of
the Dimension Wizard. We progressed through subsequent articles,
creating similar dimensions to those we built with the Wizard, focusing largely
in our second article on using the Dimension Editor to illustrate
options for building a more customized cube. We continued this examination of
dimensions in Article Three, where we recreated the calendar time
dimension, this time focusing on the process through which the Dimension Wizard
converts existing time/date fields to a time dimension, along with its
hierarchy of levels and members. Article Three also exposed ways to customize
the predefined, time-related properties that the wizard establishes in building
the time dimension, suggesting options for customization of these properties to
enhance the cube, from the dual perspectives of user-friendliness and the
reporting needs of the organization. We created an example of an alternate
time dimension for fiscal time reporting, and then we discussed some of
the considerations surrounding the simultaneous housing of both hierarchies in
the same OLAP cube structure.

In Article
Four
, we examined another special type of dimension, the Parent-Child
dimension
, and explored the attributes that make it different from a
regular dimension. We discussed the considerations that surround Parent-Child
dimensions, such as the recursive nature of their data sources, and various
actions that must be handled differently in their creation and maintenance. We
discussed unbalanced hierarchies, and scenarios where we need a
parent-child dimension. We then created a parent-child dimension using the
Dimension Wizard, within which we worked with levels and properties. Finally,
we enabled values at the parent level of our newly created parent-child
dimension.

In
this lesson,
Working with the
Cube Editor
, we will review, summarize and
integrate many of the components that we have constructed, and the concepts
that we have explored individually, in the last four lessons.
Our objective will be to undertake a complete cube
build, pulling together all that we have learned, to demonstrate the assembly
of a cube more sophisticated than the cube we generated in our first lesson
with the Cube Wizard. As a part of this objective, we will also introduce
further capabilities as we construct our new cube “from scratch.”

In this article, we will:

  • Discuss the use of the Cube Editor, as opposed
    to the Cube Wizard, as a means of cube construction;
  • Create a basic “starter” cube, using the fact table
    alone, to serve as a foundation for a more elaborate cube;
  • Process the cube to review the steps involved;
  • Expand dimensions of the cube to include the
    associated dimension tables;
  • Define the Member Name Column dimension
    property to meet illustrative business requirements of information
    consumers;
  • Review sample uses and purposes of Member
    Properties
    ;
  • Add a derived dimension to meet
    illustrative information consumer needs;
  • Use the Dimension Browser as a
    design and review tool;
  • Revisit calculated members and add a calculated
    measure
    to our cube;
  • Work with various properties of measures and
    dimensions to control the behavior and characteristics of our cube.

Page 2: Working with the Cube Editor




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William E. Pearson, III

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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