In Chapter 2 you ran a simple MDX query to retrieve data from Analysis Services 2008. Building on that, in this chapter you learn the fundamental concepts underlying MDX and how you can manipulate and query multidimensional objects within Analysis Services. This chapter forms the basis for many of the subsequent chapters in this book. In fact, in several places in this chapter and throughout the book you see how each interaction between the client tools and the Analysis Services instance results in the generation of MDX. You not only see the MDX that is generated, but you also glean some insight as to what the MDX does.
SQL Server 2008 provides a sample Analysis Services project that demonstrates the majority of the features provided by Analysis Services 2008. In this chapter you use the sample Analysis Services project available from www.codeplex.com to learn MDX. The illustrations are limited to three dimensions to help you understand the concepts. You can extend these concepts, if you want, to view data across additional dimensions. In this chapter you learn the basic concepts regarding cells, members, tuples, and sets. In addition, you learn how to create MDX expressions and MDX queries for data analysis.