What is BI Semantic Tabular Model

What is BI Semantic Model?

Mostly everyone confuse this term with BI Semantic Tabular Model. People take both as same, which is wrong.

BI Semantic Model is not a Software or Tool. It is a part of the SQL Server 2012 RTM which creates semantic layer on data for analysis. We already know SSAS Cubes, similar to that BI Semantic Model provides ways of creating Multidimensional databases for Analytic Processing.

This semantic layer can be created using any of the three technologies:
So from now onward, Analysis Service in SQL Server will be called as BI Semantic Model.  Power Pivot is called as a plus to BISM, otherwise it covers BI Semantic Tabular Model (Tabular Model) and Multidimensional Model (SSAS Cubes).

What is BI Semantic Tabular Model (mostly known as Tabular Model)?

As discussed above, this is a new approach of creating Multidimensional Database introduced with SQL Server 2012 RTM.

For the people who doesn’t know PowerPivot:

Tabular Model is technology for creating a multidimensional database out of tables (no concept of Dimensions and Measures). Same as old fashioned cubes, it consume data from different sources and give a cube to slice and dice the data for different aggregations.

Process of creating a Tabular Model involve:

  1. Create a new Project on Visual Studio 2010 (added with SQL Server 2012 SQL Server Data Tools). Same as BIDS for multidimensional cubes.
  2. Add all the tables required for analysis. We can use different types of data sources and can customize incoming data by query editors. No pain of creating separate Dimension and Fact tables like SSAS Cube.
  3.  Relate the tables inside Tabular Model. We have multiple options of creating relationships among tables. My favorite is drag and drop of Unique-ids in Diagram View of Tabular Model.
  4. Deploy Tabular Model solution to a SQL Server Analysis Services (Tabular Instance). Same as SSAS cube deployment on Analysis Services.

For the people who know Power Pivot:

I’ll say, BI Semantic Tabular Model w.r.t. Power Pivot is like Ferrari against Maruti 800 ;). In a correct way, Tabular Model is advanced version of Power Pivot. This advancement can be highlighted in number of ways:

  1. A better Visual Studio environment for development instead of old Excel interface
  2. Got new server for keeping Tabular Model cubes instead of need for SharePoint Power Pivot Gallery
  3. Now get full functionality of a multidimensional cube like Roles and Security

I believe this was a good introduction for the BI Semantic Tabular Model, please comment. We will discuss more about its architecture and benefits over other technologies, in later posts.


Posted on August 30, 2012, in Begin BI, BI Semantic Tabular Model and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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