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Professional Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 Administration by Steven Wort, Ross LoForte, Wayne Snyder, Ketan Patel, Brian Knight

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7.1. Tour of Analysis Services

To better understand the various touch points that you must manage as a DBA, we begin with a quick tour of Analysis Services. The primary value that Analysis Services brings to businesses is useful, important, and timely information that can be difficult or impossible to obtain from other sources (enterprise resource planning systems, accounting systems, customer relationship management systems, supply chain management systems, and so on). Analysis Services provides two distinct services that assist in supplying these business needs: Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and data mining. With these services, Analysis Services differs from the more traditional Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) systems in that it is optimized for fast access to vast quantities of data, often spanning many years. Our focus is on the OLAP services provided.

The OLAP engine has to be optimized for lightning-quick data retrieval but also offers the following strategic benefits:

  • Consolidated shared data access across multiple data sources that includes security at the most granular level and the ability to write back data.

  • Rapid, unencumbered storage and aggregation of vast amounts of data.

  • Multidimensional views of data that go beyond the traditional row and column two-dimensional views.

  • Advanced calculations that offer better support and performance than RDBMS engine capabilities.

  • Advanced data mining techniques to predict future activities based on the historical data in ...

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