Posts Tagged SQL Server Analysis Services
SQL Server Analysis Services is a popular OLAP product included with Microsoft SQL Server. Especially since SQL Server 2005 this product has been quite powerful and fairly easy to develop with. SQL Server provides the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS), a Visual Studio –like product to aid the development of Analysis Services cubes.
For browsing and reporting on a cube, however, choices have been more limited. Excel provides a good choice, especially since Excel 2007, which contains enhancements that make creating cross-tab reports easier than previous versions.
If your users are committed to Cognos PowerPlay, you can use this tool as well. Setting up a MS Analysis Services cube for browsing with PowerPlay is a little more involved than a regular Cognos cube, but is still quite easy to do.
The executeable is ppconnct.exe.
This tool is used to create a binary “pointer file” with a .MDC extension. This file, once created, will behave like a PowerPlay OLAP Cube, but the underlying cube will actually be (in this case) a Microsoft Analysis Services cube.
Start PowerPlay Connect, select File… New to create a new MDC file. For the database type, select MS SSOS (ODBO):
You have a couple of choices next. If you know the server name for your instance SQL Server Analysis Services you can enter it in the next line, under Server:[Port]. In this case I can enter “localhost”, as I am serving the cube from my local machine.
Alternatively, I can select the … button beside Database, and I will be presented with the Chose a Remote Cube dialog box. In this case I then select Microsoft SQL Server OLAP Server at the bottom, and then select a connection I have already created previously using the tool. In this case the connection is called local. I’m then presented with a list of databases available on the connection “local”.
I can then open SSAS_Adventure_Works and the cube that exists in this particular database. A database might have many cubes available in it.
Alternatively I could create a new connection, by clicking on Connections… and then clicking Add. I enter the name I want to give the connection, and then the name of the server, and select Microsoft SQL Server OLAP Server and MSOLAP as the provider:
Since I selected the cube SSAS_Adventure_Works, we see this in the details of the connection string:
I can now click File… Save and save this as an .MDC file:
The file appears as a normal MDC cube, but is really just a pointer file to the SSAS database server:
Using PowerPlay, I can now open the MDC file as if it were an ordinary cube. I can navigate it generally in the same way I would navigate a Cognos cube, althought some things such as Measure Groups that are part of the Microsoft approach to OLAP do not behave exactly the same way. Meaures appear as a single list, much as they do in Cognos cubes.
PowerPlay Connect MDC files can be put on the network, or shared as any other file, and will work as long as the user has access to the underlying Microsoft database.