MDX in Analysis Services: Intermediate Concepts – Part 1

About the Series …

This is the second tutorial article of the
series, MDX in Analysis Services. The series is designed to
provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of MDX from the perspective of
MS SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services (to which I will refer in most
cases as simply "Analysis Services" to save time and
space). Our primary focus is the manipulation of multidimensional data sources,
using MDX expressions in a variety of scenarios designed to meet real-world
business intelligence needs.

For more information on the series, as well as the hardware /
software requirements to prepare for the tutorials we will undertake, please
see Tutorial 1: MDX Concepts and Navigation.

Note: At the time of writing, Service
Pack 3
updates
are assumed for MSSQL Server 2000, MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis
Services
, and the related Books Online and Samples.

Introduction

In the first lesson of our series,
we set out to develop a broad
understanding of the rudiments of multidimensional expressions by exposing fundamental concepts and terms. We
explored basic MDX syntax, introducing the use of the language to return
information from multidimensional data sources
. We created a calculated member, and then
used it as a vehicle from which to navigate the structure of our cube, through
the use of MDX expressions. Using illustrated
examples, we explored ways to return information about members and
practiced using basic conversion functions. Finally, we explored putting
simple conditional tests and comparisons to work in our
expressions.

In this tutorial, we will look beyond using MDX to retrieve member
names and properties, and focus on leveraging the capabilities of
the language to return values from a multidimensional cube. We
will create calculated members / measures that derive their values from current
members
/ within the context of current measures, to illustrate the
versatility within these arrangements. We will then further explore returning
values from an OLAP cube, taking opportunities along the way to discuss relevant
parts of the MDX system of notation.

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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