SSAS: Consider Cube Browsing when Building Role Playing Dimensions

A Role Playing Dimensions reuses its definition to represent same concept in different contexts. Common example of Role Playing Dimension is date dimension. For instance, date dimension can be used to represent order date, delivery date and shipment date. Currency, staff, organisation hierarchy are other dimensions that are usually role played. While Role Playing Dimensions promote dimension reuse and share dimension data security, the effect on cube browsing must also be considered. Continue Reading

Analysis Service (SSAS) Vs. PowerPivot

This post compares Analysis Services and PowerPivot. Continue Reading…

SSAS: Cube Deployment Issues with Deployment Wizard addressed in SQL Server 2008

If you recently upgraded to SQL Server 2008 or considering an upgrade, you would be glad to know that the Deployment Wizard of Analysis Services works in the way it should (long overdue). In earlier versions, if a new version of the Analysis Service database was deployed over an one, immediately after deployment all the roles would have no permission to the cube even if “retain role and members” option is chosen. Not only that, the role definition especially Dimension Data and Cell Data Access permissions would be lost after deployment. The only saving grace was the role membership remained intact. Continue Reading

SSAS: Membership in Multiple Roles Could Throw Unexpected Surprises

Analysis Service supports role based model to secure cube data. Data can be secured at object level, cell level (Cell Data Access) and at member level (Dimension Data Access). There are relative merits of each approach, which isn’t the topic of this post but more details can be found here. A user can be a member of more than one role and it is important to understand the behaviour of Analysis Services role permissions in such a scenario. Analysis Services role permissions are additive in nature. This means if you are a member of a role that has been granted access to an Analysis Service object; you have access to that object even if you belong to another role which denies access to the same object. In other word the least restrictive roles permissions override the most restrictive role permissions. This could throw some nasty surprises that you never expected.  

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Pre-Installation Options for Analysis Services in SQL Server 2008

Some time back I published a post on post-installation steps for Analysis Services. That post was written with SQL Server 2005 in mind. In SQL Server 2008 – Data Dir, Log File Dir, Temp dir and Backup dir can now be specified as a step BEFORE installation of Analysis Services. There is no need for post-installation steps in SQL Server 2008, unless you missed configuring this step during installation. Continue Reading

Minimal Post-Installation Steps for Analysis Services

installDuring installation of Analysis Services, most of the properties are configured with a default value. These properties can be reconfigured any time after installation from SQL Server Management Studio. For most properties the default values works just fine. However, there are few properties that are best reconfigured immediately after installation to prevent down-time in production environment. Continue Reading

Convert to Formulas

Excel is the first choice browser to create reports from an Analysis Service cube. The cube data is displayed as a pivot table format which is extremely convenient and flexible format to slice and dice information. Pivot tables, however can only display data that exist in the data source. There may be instances where you might need additional calculations to be displayed in your report that could be derived from existing cube measures. For e.g. having a different method of determining sales quota for a particular region, calculation of Averages and Variances, what-if analysis and so on. In these circumstances, the Convert to Formula feature of Excel comes really handy. Continue Reading

Securing Role Playing Dimensions in Analysis Services

In Analysis Services, dimension data can be secured at either Shared Dimension or Cube Dimension. A Shared Dimension is an object of Analysis Service Database which is available to all the cubes in the database. The Cube Dimension on the other hand is an object of the cube and is an instance of the Common Dimension which is available only to a specific cube
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Cell Data Access Vs Dimension Data Access in Analysis Services

Analysis Services security model is role based. Within a role, the cube data can be secured by either Cell data or Dimension data. In this post, I compare the relative merits of each method.
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