OLAP Cubes the Easy Way

TX DWA enables you to create Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cubes in the same code-light development environment you use for building your data warehouse. And with all the benefits you get from our code generation engine.

An OLAP cube is a very powerful technology for multidimensional analysis of very large amounts of data. Following the dimensional data warehouse model, data is divided into facts and dimensions where facts represent the (mostly numerical) values we want to measure and dimensions describes the context of the measures. If you imagine a cube as a predefined and pre-calculated combination of all values for dimensions such as products, customers, vendors, employees over all time for all measures, you probably get the picture.

The modeling capabilities of cubes are virtually endless and includes role-playing dimensions, parent-child dimensions, referenced dimensions, many to many relations, standard-, derived- and calculated measures, multiple partitions and so much more.

Cubes have a reputation of being complex to build and especially the Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) language for being hard to learn. This is where the drag and drop interface of TX DWA helps to take away most of the complexity in both building cubes, but especially with the business functions that aids in implementing even complex MDX calculations using a reusable and parametrized interface. This allows you to take advantage of cubes without fearing the complexity.

 

Offline Cube Processing

As Business Intelligence (BI) has become a mission critical asset in both strategic, tactical and operational levels of businesses, the demand for minimal downtime of cubes and data warehouses increase. The business simply cannot afford not to have access to these decision support systems to make better and faster decisions.

If you are not on Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition or simply prefer a more managed alternative to the proactive caching feature, the offline cube processing feature of TX DWA is for you.

The offline processing is achieved by processing an offline version of the SSAS Multidimensional database, while front end access is provided through an online database. At the end of a successful update of the offline version, this will seamlessly replace the online version.

When combined with other performance improving features of TX DWA, such as managed thread execution this will not only allow minimal disturbance of end users, but also improve the overall load performance.

The offline cube processing feature of TX DWA is available on SQL Server 2005 and above. The minimum required edition is Standard.

 

Business Perspectives

While some cubes are limited in scope, others are very complex and contain multiple measures and dimensions. For a business user, it can be a frustrating experience to navigate the measures and dimensions of a complex cube when trying to locate the data that is relevant for their reporting requirements.

The solution is Business Perspectives on cubes. They allow you to create views that contain only a subset of the data in the cube. So if a user only needs sales forecasting data, then that’s what he or she sees. The cube appears less complex, the user’s task becomes more straightforward, and valuable time is saved.

Only the Enterprise and BI editions of Microsoft SQL Server support the use of perspectives, but with TX DWA, you can have the same functionality even if you do not have one of these editions. TX DWA can create physical perspectives, which deploys the perspective as a sepearate cube.

 

Writeback for SSAS Multidimensional

Cube writeback is used for budgeting, forecasting or any other scenario in which you need to enter data into your reporting structure. As an example you can imagine a budgeting scenario where actuals is provided by the source systems, while the budget amounts are entered in a front-end application such as Excel or Calumo.

The values entered manually are stored in a separate partition on the data warehouse and merged with the fact table. When using the TX DWA Meta data driven model, the write back partition is created and maintained automatically, even if the structure of the fact table changes.

 

Language Control for SSAS Multidimensional

When you operate in a multilingual environment, there is a need to deliver the presentation layer to the consumers of cubes in multiple languages. The translation capabilities of TX DWA allows you to easily maintain the translations for multiple languages in a single screen. Translations include both captions/labels for dimensions, measures, display folders etc. as well as values for dimension members such as product names supplied from a field in the underlying dimension table.

As an addition to the translation capabilities of the Microsoft native tools, TX DWA is capable of hosting multiple versions of the same language. This allows for offline editing of translations without affecting the live cubes until you are completely done with the new version of the translation.

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