Thomas.I Microsoft BI & Analytics

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Book Review: MS SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services Unleashed

Posted by thomasivarssonmalmo on January 6, 2009

This is the second edition of the previous title "MS SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services" and includes some updated chapters on dimensions strucrures, since that was a total change since the AS 2000 cubes. There are still projects going on that migrates AS 2000 cubes to SSAS 2005 or 2008 without paying attention to the fact that dimensions are much different in the two latest versions. For you who will be facing a migration project I recommend you to buy this book and read chapter 4 to 8 because it will save you from a lot of problems.
Both the chapters about MDX and the ones about dimensions are vital for any professional SSAS cube developer and they do not assume any high technical skills in the interior of the engine.  The second halph of the book requries a slightly higher technical level and, I assume, are mainly written for developers that writes client software or extensions to SSAS 2008.
The new chapters are a few due to the fact that the changes between SSAS 2005 and SSAS 2008 are limited and mainly about impovements in performance. Chapter 41 is about the new dynamic management views for monitoring SSAS 2008 resources. Chapter 28, Thread Management and 29, Architecture of Query Execution – Calculating MDX Expressions are also new. The main news regaring MDX in SSAS 2008, "Dynamic Named Sets",  is covered on page 213 to 215 with some clear examples. The improvements in BIDS are covered in chapter 9.
What kind of BI-developers can find this book useful? The first chapters about dimensions, attribute relations, measure groups and MDX will be suitable for developers with some previous experience of SSAS 2005 and 2008. The second halph is a great help for developers that write code for SSAS 2008 applications and for developers interested in optimizations and advanced maintenance topis.
If you are still on SSAS 2005, like myself in my daily work, you can buy the SSAS 2008 edition because there are still many things that applies to SSAS 2005.

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