VI.1.2. Leveraging the Power of Multidimensional Data

To leverage the power of SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), very often a separate database is created. However, it's also possible to combine the data from multiple data sources. This is unifying the data.

After you create an SQL Server Analysis Services database (by using cubes, dimensions, and measures), you can begin to query that data. Although a typical relational database is queried with Transact-SQL statements, an SSAS database is queried with its own query language: Multidimensional Expressions.

VI.1.2.1. Unifying your business data

A strength of SQL Server Analysis Services is that it can access data from different sources and present it as a single data source.

In a perfect world, large enterprises would have a single database that met the needs of everyone in the enterprise. However, the perfect world scenario is rarely achieved. Instead, many different databases are used by different departments.

One of the benefits of an SSAS solution is that it has the capability of unifying data access by creating a separate data warehouse or a data source view.

  • Data warehouse: A data warehouse is a separate database that receives its information from several different data sources. The data sources can be from SQL Server 2005, or from different vendors, such as Oracle or IBM. Figure 1-2 shows an example of a data warehouse. The key difference between a data warehouse and a data source view is that a data warehouse is a completely ...

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