Category Archives: Begin BI

Basic concepts to understand more on Business Intelligence

Missing out on SSAS Data Source Views

We usually don’t give much importance to the Data Source Views (DSV). But if we work on it properly, it makes your life very easy.

Refer to few of the following notes on DSV, which might help in making it more useful for your project.

  1. Its only DSV where you can pull multiple data sources tables. This is the only place where you bring multiple data sources table in 1 DSV and later use in cube. how else ?? 😛
  2. While creating manual DSV (New Diagram), you can pull one table only and then add related tables one by one (option is Right Click–> Show related tables). So you for example you can literally pull a fact table and call related tables for related dimensions. Also for those dimension call related tables for snow flake tables and in the end get one good quality Diagram without much hassle.
  3. You also get to see original name of column even if you change to Friendly  Name for it (doesn’t work for table though). Following is the screenshot of how column name appears after renaming it. Table is also renamed from original DimGeography but only new name appear.
  4. you might want to see only original name, to avoid any confusion with table or column or may be just want to know what came from source. Right Click –> un-check option Show Friendly Names.
  5. You cannot delete a column just by Click–>Delete on DSV. Change the table to Named Query and remove the column from list of SELECT is your option.
  6. DSV always warn you for incorrect relationships. For example, where it should be Many to one or one to many, Matching data type warning etc. Always listed to these warning. This is your practice ground for dimension usage relationships.
  7. Did you use Zoom –> To Fit option ? If not then try it thank me later.
  8. You can also manipulate values in Explore Data. Like select random or top sorted sample. Even increase/decrease the number of sample rows, by default its 5000. To achieve this, Explore Data for a table and in window with sample click on Setting option and manipulate as your choice (Don’t forget to click on refresh button to sample, all highlighted in following screenshot).
  9. If you are new to SSAS DSV or tutoring, use Name Matching Criteria for quick relationships from tables pulled from data source. Click anywhere on DSV and look at properties with NameMatchingCriteria.

I could talk about some more interesting DSV related things, but length of the post is a concern. Let me know if you need details on these or anything more under comments section.

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Cube Optimization Journal: Introduction

I have been working on cube optimization techniques for some time now. And honestly I even got my job for the same requirement. Its actually interesting to work with team of highly qualified MSBI professionals and learn new things on the same field, you were very confident about.

I am starting this as a journal and hoping to cover more and more on the topic gradually. In this way we can achieve a more strong foundation on this topic.

In this post we will cover the aspects where Cube optimization can be applicable/tested actually.

Following are areas we think of when we talk about cube optimization:

  1. Decreased usual size of cube: we often come in situation where cube is created and being used but it takes a lot of space on server. Cube optimization is mostly focused on decreasing the cube size which can lead to more efficiency in different other areas as well (listed below).
  2. Decreased processing time of cube: this one is a catch and we always want to achieve. Decrease in processing time can also impact in limiting space of cube, good reporting time, more frequency of data processing. Mostly due to longer time period of processing we decrease frequency of processing and users see a great latency in the report data (talking about MOLAP).
  3. Fast Reporting: Optimizing MDXs only in SSRS reports cannot give you fast report, it must come from real source “the cube”. And reporting like excel are only as fast as a cube is. We need faster reports for that we need a faster cube.
  4. “Can you think of any more valid reason anymore?”

Well we can talk about many other less important aspects like Loads on servers, better architecture blah blah . . .but what I believe is in project whats most important aspect is “Client” nothing else is significant more.

Client doesn’t care about populous server till he gets the result and damn if he care about your architecture if he doesn’t get the result he expected. Harsh but true :P.

So I hope using most important aspects for cube optimization. I will start with one of them to cover simple and effective optimization techniques.