Set Functions: The DrillUpLevel() Function

About the Series …

This article is a member of the series, MDX Essentials.
The series is designed to provide hands-on application of the fundamentals of
the Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) language, with each tutorial
progressively adding features designed to meet specific real-world needs.

For more information about the series in general, as well as
the software and systems requirements for getting the most out of the member
lessons, please see Set
Functions: The DRILLDOWNMEMBER() Function
,
where important information is detailed regarding the applications, samples
and other components required to complete our practice exercises.

Overview

In this
article, we will continue the examination of "MDX for drilling up and
down
" that we began in Set Functions: The DrillDownMember() Function.
We have discussed the nature of drilling, in general, in previous
articles of our sub-series, stating that it comprises an analytical technique
through which means an information consumer can maneuver between summarized ("drilling
up
") and detailed ("drilling down") levels of data. We
noted that drilling up or down occurs along the lines of drilling paths
that are defined within the structure of our cubes, and which are typically
specified by the cube’s dimensional hierarchies. We mentioned, too, that these
paths can be based upon alternative relationships that exist within or between
dimensions.

An example might be described as follows, based upon an engagement
within which I have recently been involved: An executive within a state Department
of Education
wishes to examine annual Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
data within a cube constructed primarily to allow comparison and analysis of
those results at various levels. The executive can examine national averages,
numbers of test takers, and various other measures, and then perform a
drilldown operation within a Geography dimension that might then present
the data by states. He could then perform subsequent drilldowns to
display state regions (or perhaps even congressional districts), counties
/ school systems, and more. Depending upon the design of the cube, the drilldown
process could ultimately take the consumer to the level of the individual schools
– perhaps even to the individual students themselves.

Drilling up is a capability that might be taken for
granted in a drilldown scenario such as the foregoing. From any of the drilled
down
levels at which the information consumer finds himself or herself, a
corresponding capability to navigate upward, from more detailed
levels of data to more summarized levels of data, would be an
expected complementary feature.

In an earlier article, Set
Functions:
The DrillDownLevel() Function, we introduced the "primary,"
level-directed MDX drilldown function, DrillDownLevel(), stating that it
supports the capability of Analysis Services to meet the common need for
drilldown from a point within a given Set to members within the next
lower level, or to a level which we can specify using an optional Level
Expression
(or, alternatively, an optional Index). Drilling up from
a level-directed perspective is supported by a function, DrillUpLevel(),
that is quite similar to DrillDownLevel(), with respect to its
operation, differing, of course, in the "direction" (upward
versus downward, along the drilling path) of its action.

In this article we will
examine a means for drilling in the "upward" direction, through the DrillUpLevel()
function, another "staple" support function underpinning drill
capabilities within MDX. DrillUpLevel() drills up the members of a set
to a higher level. It drills up each member of a specified set that
exists below a level that we can optionally specify. (If we do
not specify the level, the function identifies the lowest level in the
set, and removes the members that reside at that level, to present a drilled up
state at the next level).

In a
manner similar to other functions that we have examined in the MDX
Essentials
series, DrillUpLevel() can be useful in a host of
different reporting and analysis applications. DrillUpLevel(), along with other "navigational"
functions like it (virtually all of which we examine in other articles of this
series) allows us to exercise a great deal
of presentation sleight of hand, in working with MDX in Analysis Services,
as well as within Reporting Services and various other reporting
applications that can access an Analysis Services cube. Like other MDX functions in general, the DrillUpLevel() function can be leveraged, within
and among the various "layers" of the Microsoft integrated
Business Intelligence solution
, to support sophisticated presentations and
features. We will introduce the function, commenting upon its operation and
touching upon examples of effects that we can employ it to deliver. As a part
of our discussion, we will:

  • Examine the syntax surrounding the function;

  • Undertake illustrative examples of the uses of the function in
    practice exercises;

  • Briefly discuss the results datasets we obtain in the practice
    examples.
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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