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SQLBI - Marco Russo

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#MDX Cookbook : a new must read for #SSAS developers

There are not so many books about MDX and it’s strange considering that it is a very sophisticated languages that requires years for learning (I’m not kidding). I started learning MDX in 1999 and after so many years, I still have to learn something. I’ve been part of the technical reviewers of the new book from Tomislav Piasevoli, MDX with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Analysis Services Cookbook, which is available on Amazon, also in Kindle Edition, and on the Packt website (its publisher).

The book is, as the title says, a cookbook. As any chef, you should already have a basic (or advanced) knowledge of MDX, and in this book you’ll find a lot of solutions for common problems. I was surprised to find solutions to problems I thought were impossible to solve by using MDX, for example. You will find detailed table of contents and sample chapters in the links above. I can just say that this is a must have book for any professional SSAS developer. You just cannot afford not to know the techniques described in this book – you know, you are the expert, right? Keep your skills updated!

Published Thursday, August 25, 2011 12:21 PM by Marco Russo (SQLBI)
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Vincent Wylenzek said:

Is it still relevant to improve our knowledge about mdx or could we better put our money on Dax?

August 25, 2011 7:52 AM

Marco Russo said:

Very good question!

I think DAX is in very early stages and it will require time before it will be widely adopted.

Consider that only Crescent is a DAX native client - today every other client uses MDX (also to query BISM Tabular models!), and the most important is Excel. I don't know what Excel 15 will bring to the table, but I think that it is hard that MDX will be removed so soon.

Moreover, consider that BISM Tabular might be not enought for many business scenario as it is in Denali.

Thus, if you already know MDX, it is safe to keep your investment. The language haven't changed in the last years but we have now a large experience and knowledge base - thus, especially for complicated scenarios and queries, MDX has a big role, now and in the future. In the very long term, many simpler and not "regular star schema" scenario might be better managed by using DAX, but for a certain class of problems MDX is here to stay.

If you are a consultant, you have to know both.

If you only have internal BI for your company, maybe that for your particular scenario you can concentrate your investement only in one of those.


August 25, 2011 8:55 AM

Vishal Pawar said:


Must Read :)

Dax is new baby but MDX is like OLD master father who have all basic and main thought  and DAX is nothing but MDX + Excel


Correct me if i am wrong :)

August 27, 2011 3:53 AM

Marco Russo said:

Vishal, I cannot agree - DAX is way *less* than MDX, which is way better in terms of abstraction. MDX operates on complex multidimensional models and it is very good in case you have complex models that can be well represented in a multidimensional model. DAX is fast but much simpler, even if you have to understand very well how filter and row contexts interact together.

DAX : MDX = C : C++

Strangely enough, in this case C++ appeared before C.

August 27, 2011 4:25 AM

Vishal pawar said:

Thanks for correcting me

Its really nice explanation for me !!!

August 31, 2011 4:57 AM

Kristian Wedberg said:

> DAX : MDX = C : C++

Too right, but where is C# in this equation???


September 22, 2011 5:10 PM

Marco Russo said:

C# might fit into a SQX language :)

September 22, 2011 6:31 PM

AJ said:


Everytime I thing I understand MDX, I get stumble over a simple MDX query. I feel like I'm not getting MDX, I realized that I kinda almos memorize the structure of the quesries. What is the best way to understand MDX and learn MDX and become really good at it. Any references and Videos prefered for learning MDX?

September 29, 2011 3:55 PM

Marco Russo (SQLBI) said:

AJ a very good book is MDX Solutions: With Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 and Hyperion Essbase (

September 30, 2011 4:07 AM
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About Marco Russo (SQLBI)

Marco Russo is a consultant, writer and trainer specialized in Business Intelligence with Microsoft technologies. He runs the SQLBI.COM website, which is dedicated to distribute resources useful for BI developers, like Integration Services components, Analysis Services models, tools, technical information and so on. Marco is certified as MCT, MCDBA, MCSD.NET, MCSA, MCSE+I.

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