Usage-Based Optimization in Analysis Services 2005

About the Series …

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 presenting features and techniques designed to meet specific real
– world needs. For more information on the series, please see my initial
article, Creating Our First

Note: To follow along with the steps we undertake, the following components,
samples and tools are recommended, and should be installed according to the
respective documentation that accompanies MSSQL Server 2005:

  • Microsoft SQL
    Server 2005 Database Engine

  • Microsoft SQL
    Server 2005 Analysis Services

  • Business
    Intelligence Development Studio

  • Microsoft SQL
    Server 2005 sample databases

  • The Analysis Services
    Tutorial sample project and other samples that are available with the
    installation of the above.

successfully replicate the steps of the article, you also need to have:

  • Membership
    within one of the following:

    • the Administrators
      local group on the Analysis Services computer

    • the Server
      role in the instance of Analysis Services.

  • Read permissions within any SQL
    Server 2005
    sample databases we access within our practice session, if

Note: Current Service Pack updates are assumed for the operating system, MSSQL
Server 2005
("MSSQL Server"), MSSQL Server 2005 Analysis
("Analysis Services"), MSSQL Server 2005 Reporting
("Reporting Services") and the related Books
and Samples. Images are from a Windows 2003
environment, but the steps performed in the articles, together with
the views that result, will be quite similar within any environment that
supports MSSQL Server 2005 and its component applications.


In this lesson, we revisit usage-based optimization, a
subject that we undertook in my article MSAS
Administration and Optimization: Simple Cube Usage Analysis
, in September of 2003, and MSAS
Administration and Optimization: Toward More Sophisticated Analysis
in October of 2003. In the
earlier articles, we discovered that, among several tools that Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Analysis
offered us to assist in the maintenance and optimization of our
cubes, two of these tools, the Usage Analysis Wizard and the Usage-Based
Optimization Wizard
, leveraged the usage-based optimization features
of Analysis Services. They made it easy to perform basic performance
enhancement of our cubes based upon their usage by information consumers. As I
mentioned then, my experience is that, regardless of the design effort invested
in any given business intelligence application, particularly within the context
of anticipating the patterns of use of that application by the intended
consumers, nothing can quite equal history as a guide to future human

In Analysis
Services 2000
, the Usage Analysis Wizard allowed us to rapidly
produce simple, on-screen reports that provided information surrounding a cube’s
query patterns – information that could be useful in helping us to decide
whether to consider making structural changes to optimize cube design. The Usage-Based
Optimization Wizard
, the descendant of which is the subject of this
article, embellished the effectiveness of the Storage Design Wizard, and
went significantly farther than the generation of simple reports. It offered us
the capability to base aggregation design upon a given cube’s usage
, in combination with other factors, and to make subsequent
adjustments to our existing aggregation design and storage mode
as time passed, and information collected from which meaningful statistics
could be derived.

In this
lesson, we will consider the Analysis Services 2005 Usage-Based Optimization Wizard, which combines
some of the features we have seen in the related Analysis Services 2000 wizards
we have previously considered. We will discuss preparation for its use, as
well as the steps involved in making the Usage-Based Optimization Wizard an
effective tool in our Analysis Services administration toolset.

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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