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Erin Welker

SQL Server and Business Intelligence

Using SSAS 2008 tools with SSAS 2005 cubes

It's been awhile since I've blogged.  Every time it seems I'll get some spare moments, something comes up to direct my attention elsewhere.  My current engagement keeps me busy and embedded in SQL Server 2005.  Though I've presented on some of the cool features of SQL Server 2008, I feel I have very little new insight to publish on that topic that hasn't already been covered on this site.  It occurs to me that I'm most readers are in the same position that I am.  Unless driven to SQL Server 2008 by particular features, I suspect many remain on 2005 (and, dare I say it, 2000).

One of the many aspects of SQL Server 2008 that appeals to me is the cube designers in Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS).  For example, attribute relationships are a commonly misunderstood aspect of cube dimensions in SQL Server 2005/2008.  Later SQL Server 2005 service packs added some warnings when attribute relationships were not designed into dimension hierarchies, but these are easy to ignore and ARs are not well understood by many cube designers.  Why are attribute relationships so important?  That's something I may save for another blog, but I suspect it has already been blogged about elsewhere on this site.  My point is that BIDS in 2008 provides far more feedback on various cube/dimension design aspects, attribute relationship definitions being one.  I'm including a screen snapshot of the attribute relationship designer in 2008 BIDS to demonstrate my point.

Attribute Relationship designer 2 

As you can see, it's far more intuitive. 

And for those courageous enough to take on the manual design of aggregations, the aggregation designer in 2008 is killer.  I'm not recommending this.  In fact, I use it more to view the aggregations that have been designed by the aggregation design wizard or usage-based optimizer.  There is a separate application that could be downloaded prior to 2008, but I found the interface to be difficult to work with.  Here's what the aggregation designer looks like in BIDS 2008:


SQL Server 2008 Aggregation Designer


What I learned from a Tech Ed presentation by Donald Farmer is that these tools can be used to manage a cube implemented in SQL Server 2005.  How cool is that?!  So, if your organization plans to stay on SQL Server 2005 on the server-side for a little while longer, it doesn't mean you can't take advantage of some of the great new client tools in SQL Server 2008 to make life a little easier in the meantime.

Published Sunday, February 8, 2009 12:01 PM by ErinW


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